Conversations on Connection

Inspired Teaching’s Continued Exploration of School Connectedness

At the start of the 2023-2024 school year, Inspired Teaching held live-streamed conversations with expert guests, who shared invaluable insights on well-being, education, and community. Learn more about our acclaimed guests below and watch the conversations in full. Each offered a unique perspective on School Connectedness and insight into resources, tools, and strategies for educators and parents to use in building connection in their own school communities.

Trabian Shorters: Tuesday, August 15, 2:30pm EST

Trabian Shorters is one of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs and the catalyst of a national movement to first define black people by their aspirations and contributions, then to secure their fundamental freedoms to Live, Own, Vote and Excel. He is a retired tech entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and former vice president of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation where he was responsible for $300M in active grants and endowments in 26 US cities.

His nonprofit social impact network, BMe Community, is award-winning for innovation, impact, and storytelling and boasts more than 400 black leaders plus institutional allies committed to building “equity without stigma.”

Shorters is the international authority on an award-winning cognitive framework called “Asset-Framing” which is in high demand by heads of influential philanthropic, journalism, and social impact networks. Asset-Framing equips its practitioners to have far greater social impact, raise more money, engage broader populations, and make fundamentally stronger cases for equity and systems-change.

Ann B. Friedman: Tuesday, August 22, 12:30pm EST

Ann B. Friedman is the Founder and CEO of Planet Word Museum and the developer behind the restoration of the Franklin School, the museum’s home. She was a beginning reading and writing teacher in Montgomery County, MD, for 9 years until her retirement in 2011. From 2010-2016, she served as the Chair of the Board of the SEED Foundation, the parent body of the only U.S. public, inner-city, college-prep boarding schools, where she remains a board member. Ms. Friedman is a director of the American Alliance of Museums and the Downtown DC Foundation. She serves on the board of the Aspen Music Festival and School. Friedman is a graduate of Stanford University and earned master’s degrees from the London School of Economics and American University. She is married to New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

Dana Mortenson: Tuesday, August 29, 12:30pm EST

Dana is the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of World Savvy, a national education nonprofit working to educate and engage youth as responsible global citizens. World Savvy supports change agents in K-12 education to create more inclusive, adaptive schools that ensure all young people can develop the skills and dispositions needed to thrive in a more diverse, interconnected world. World Savvy programs provide support at three critical levels to deeply integrate global competence into teaching, learning, and culture: student engagement, teacher capacity, and school and district leadership support. Since 2002 she has led the organization through significant national expansion, reaching more than 800,000 students and nearly 7,000 teachers across 45 US states and 32 countries, from offices based in Minneapolis, San Francisco, and New York.

Dana is an Ashoka Fellow and was named one of The New Leaders Council’s 40 under 40 Progressive American Leaders, and Women We Admire’s Top 50 Women Leaders of Minnesota for 2022. She was also a winner of the Tides Foundation’s Jane Bagley Lehman Award for excellence in public advocacy in 2014. She is a frequent speaker on global education and social entrepreneurship at high-profile convenings nationally and internationally, and World Savvy’s work has been featured on PBS, The New York Times, Edutopia, and a range of local and national media outlets covering education and innovation.

What is School Connectedness?

In early 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data and Summary Report, offering a close look at the mental health crisis affecting our country’s young people.

The report also provided insight into solutions for mitigating harmful outcomes and behaviors, including increasing school connectedness. Defined in the report as “feeling close to people at school, [school connectedness] has a long-lasting, protective impact for adolescents well into adulthood on almost all the behaviors and experiences included in this report.”

Following the release of the report, Inspired Teaching has focused our attention on bringing strategies, tools, and expert advice on building school connectedness to the forefront. Learn more in our Hooray For Monday newsletter and podcast.

Check out conversations we had on School Connectedness in May!