Send Walt to Freedom Writers Institute

Hi!  Most of you know about the magic I've been able to create in my classroom because of the Freedom Writers, their diary and movie.  I was able to bring Tiffony Jacobs to Indianapolis this year (2014) to speak to my kids and 950(ish) IPS kids at Crispus Attucks High School.  Now, I'm trying to become an official "Freedom Writers Teacher," by going to Long Beach and attending the Freedom Writers Institute.  Doing this would fulfill a dream of mine, affect hundreds of young people I teach afterwords - and teachers too.  Please help me get there. 
     I've included a note from Caliste Coffey, Senior Director of the Freedom Writers Foundation below with some details of the program.  I have been selected from thousands of applicants for one of 25 seats, so now I just need the funding.  I'm hoping to attend in June of this year (2014).
     Thank you!

    Fall 2014 marks the 20th anniversary since the original Freedom Writers walked into Erin Gruwell's classroom at Wilson High. For almost two decades, the Freedom Writers Foundation has been working to help at-risk students and dedicated teachers by replicating the Freedom Writers experience in communities across the globe by providing ongoing support and assistance in each partner community. One of the programs we are most proud of is our educator professional development program "“ the Freedom Writers Institute. The Institute offers an innovative academic experience for professionals and students alike by training and supporting the educators of all students, in which educators are trained to use the Freedom Writers Method through a five-day seminar. Teachers are provided with both the techniques and curriculum that enable them to return to the classroom and replicate Erin Gruwell's success. To date, we have equipped 350 educators internationally with inventive practices and curricula. Research consistently shows that educators who attend the Freedom Writers Institute have higher student graduation rates, lower student drop-out rates, and greater job satisfaction than national averages.
     In order to cover the costs for the educators who attend our institutes, we collaborate with businesses, school districts and universities in the educators' communities to donate the $5000 scholarship per educator. For example, we have developed partnerships with Agahozo-Shalom village in Rwanda and the Anne Frank Center in Amsterdam, and were fortunate to have several Tutsis from Rwanda and the Director of the Anne Frank Center attend our teacher training this past summer. For five days, teachers stay in Long Beach, California and engage in activities personally led by Erin Gruwell, current Freedom Writer Teachers and original Freedom Writers. Workshops focus on equipping teachers with dynamic curricula and lesson plans, many of which are featured in The Freedom Writers Diary Teacher's Guide. Daily activities and trips to museums, universities and our headquarters are intended to provide diverse instructional settings, contributing to an immersive experience with the underlying message to teach to a student, and not to a test.
     We have also successfully launched a district wide partnership with Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts. Springfield has experienced tremendous economic hardship in recent years, which has affected academic achievement communitywide. Springfield Public Schools had nearly a 50% high school dropout rate, and nearly 80% of its student body receives free and reduced lunch. With these factors in mind, we are in collaboration with the Mayor's office, local foundations, and the school district to train educators from the district to help improve academic achievement district wide. This summer, we hosted 25 teachers at the Freedom Writer Teachers Institute, which was funded by $154,000 donated by the Springfield community. As a follow-up to the Springfield Institute, we traveled to Springfield in September to train an additional 30 teachers under the sponsorship of Bay Path College.
     With Springfield as a pilot program, the Freedom Writers Institute has launched a data project to demonstrate the tangible results of the Freedom Writer method, beyond the positive anecdotal data we have gathered since initiating our institutes. Made possible by the generous support of the Sherwood Foundation's $300,000 grant, New York University will be collecting data to demonstrate the effects of our program. Selected by Sherwood's Request For Proposal process, Dr. Pedro Noguera's Metro Center at NYU has embarked on a two-year study, evaluating the data gathered from our Freedom Writer Institute educator schools to measure the effects of our program. We are excited to analyze the results and potentially recreate the program in other districts; but more importantly, we are excited to see how students improve academically and continue on to become productive members of their respective communities.
Please let me know if you have any questions or if I may provide any additional information. We truly hope that we have piqued your interest to help make this opportunity for Mr. Nordstrom to attend the Freedom Writers Institute into a reality. This will directly impact many children for years to come. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Best regards,
Caliste Coffey
Senior Director
Freedom Writers Foundation
W: [phone redacted]
C: [phone redacted]

Freedom Writers Foundation "¢ PO Box 41505 "¢ Long Beach, CA 90853 "¢ (562) [phone redacted] "¢
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Walt Nordstrom 
Fishers, IN
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