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Our Mission

EdConnections, LLC strives to be a change agent in the field of education in order to encourage and generate the academic, personal, social, and professional growth of all those who seek knowledge.  As educational advocates, we work to make a real difference in the lives of students, parents, teachers, education leaders, and communities.

 EdConnections, LLC provides resources and information, as well as professional development, school improvement solutions, strategic change and communication services to school districts, organizations, administrators, teachers, and parents.

Curriculum Connections Instructional Model™

The Curriculum Connections Instructional Model™ is grounded in the fundamental idea that recognizing, defining, and sustaining multiple domains of the learner is central to the comprehensive process of understanding and retaining information. The Curriculum Connections Instructional Model™ recognizes six domains specific to the scaffold progression towards facilitated learning for the whole child.  According to Paulo Freire (in Pedagogy of Freedom), he asserts that “an intimate connection between knowledge considered basic to any school curriculum and knowledge that is the fruit of the lived experience of . . . students as individuals [must be established] in order to sustain the learning process.” The Curriculum Connections Instructional Model™ introduces a revised, holistic approach to examining the reciprocal relationship between a school curriculum and the knowledge of the whole child.

The six domains of the Curriculum Connections Instructional Model™ include:

  •  Domain 1 – Connections:, establishes a two-way reciprocal relationship between the teacher and student. The teacher begins the learning process by developing a mutual, respectful partnership with students as co-investigators through dialogue and inquiry.
  • Domain 2 – Community:  recognizes that community is developed within the classroom using democratic principles and caring classroom practices. This domain also emphasizes the need to include the students’ families and local community as partners in the nurturing and development of the student.
  • Domain  3 – Culture:  recognizes and celebrates the differences of learners (culture, race, ethnicity, social class, language, sexual orientation, etc.), thus creating a culture of acceptance that promotes respect, equity and affirmation.
  • Domain 4 – Character: fosters student character building through an emphasis of intrinsic motivation, self-identity and awareness, and social justice education.
  • Domain 5 – Content: sustains the connection between information and student learner. Problem-posing and inquiry based modes of learning guide instruction and curriculum.  Teachers use the mandated standards as a tool for active learning that is taught in tandem to the students’ lives.
  • Domain 6 – Critical Consciousness:  represents the primary outcome of the learning process, is an emancipatory experience that both empowers and inspires.

Comparison of Teaching and Learning Approaches

Traditional Approach to Learning
Curriculum Connections Model™
 
Connection:  Relationships between the teacher and student are passive and is centered on a one-way structure of power. Connection:  A two-way connection is established between the students and teacher as co-investigators in dialogue and learning (Freire).
Community:  Emphasis is placed on individual knowledge and achievement. Students often work in isolation and there is an expectation that students will obtain knowledge at the same rate. Expertise of families and community knowledge are seldom tapped as key tools for teaching and learning. Community: A collective learning community is established through democracy-centered practices in the classroom (Dewey). Emphasis is placed on personal relationships and partnerships with families, communities, local businesses and organizations. Relationships are made relevant and integrated into the learning process (Ladson-Billings).
Culture: Ethnic and racial backgrounds are often not considered during instructional delivery and/or content. Teachers’ color-blind perspectives render culture irrelevant and invisible.. Culture:  Students’ ethnicity, race, class, etc. become relevant to the content and the teaching & learning process (Banks, Gorkski).  Cultural funds of knowledge and cross-cultural communication are encouraged and capitalized (Sleeter & Grant).
Character:  Isolated character traits/values are highlighted. Students are rewarded/punished based on compliance behavior model. Emphasis is based on conformity. Character: Care-theory is emphasized, producing intrinsically motivated individuals (Noddings). Emphasis is based on respecting multiple viewpoints and building empathy.
Content:  Student receives content through skills-based approaches using the banking system of instruction (Freire). Emphasis is centered on mandated standards and learning isolated subject areas only. Content:  Content is developed with students & standards in mind, delivered through Inquiry-based and problem-posing learning approaches (Sleeter). Students are encouraged to bring diverse experiences and expertise.
Critical Consciousness: Critical consciousness is rarely reached in a traditional model. It is viewed as “extra” if time permits. Critical Consciousness: Education is used to empower and to transform. Students are given space to inquire, question, and explore power structures. Critical Consciousness is at the center of the Curriculum Connections Model™ and is the ultimate goal of education.

Ed Connections, LLC - Co-founders

Traci P. Baxley, EdD
Ed Connections, LLC / Co-Founder, Senior Partner

Dr. Traci P. Baxley has worked in PreK-20 school systems for over 20 years. She received a doctorate degree in Curriculum & Instruction, with an area of specialization in Literacy. Dr. Baxley’s areas of scholarship include multicultural education, critical literacy, multicultural literature, racial identity development, and social justice education. In addition to numerous presentations, professional development workshops, research projects, and faculty trainings, she has published in international and national peer reviewed journals including Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education, International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, and Urban Education. Her most recent publication includes Invisible Presence: Feminist Counter-Narratives of Young Adult Novels Written by Women of Color, which she co-authored with Dr. Genyne H. Boston.

Genyne H. Boston, PhD
Ed Connections, LLC / Co-Founder, Senior Partner

Dr. Genyne H. Boston has worked in the industry of education for more than 20 years as a teacher/professor, researcher, administrator and faculty development facilitator/trainer.  Dr. Boston’s areas of scholarship include English, developmental education, multicultural literature, urban literacy and critical literacy.  She has provided a number of professional/ scholarly presentations, facilitated professional development trainings and published articles and book chapters in various international and national peer-reviewed journals including Urban Education, Florida Journal of Teacher Education, and Thriving in College and Beyond:  Researched-Based Strategies for Academic Success and Personal Development.  Her most recent publication includes Invisible Presence: Feminist Counter-Narratives of Young Adult Novels Written by Women of Color, which she co-authored with Dr. Traci P. Baxley.

Ed Connections TEAM

Christopher W. Harrison
Program Specialist Ed Connections, LLC

Christopher W. Harrison has worked in PreK-12 school systems for over 14 years and currently works as the Dean of Student Life at a private school.  He is presently pursuing a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with an area of specialization in multicultural education.  Mr. Harrison’s areas of scholarship include elementary education, critical race theory, culturally relevant teaching practices, and topics related to the “school to prison pipeline.”  He has also worked in the legal and mental health fields.  Mr. Harrison serves voluntarily as the Program Manager for Habitat for Humanity Broward’s Youth Empowerment Program, organizing and mentoring to children and teenagers of future homeowners about cultural identity, building positive relationships, and careers or college opportunities and is currently working on research studying best teaching practices for minority students in secondary schools.

Dominic Grasso
Program Specialist Ed Connections, LLC

Dominic Grasso has worked in the public PreK-12 school system for 5 years at low socio-economic, Title 1 Schools.  He currently teaches 5th Grade at Pine Grove Elementary School, a Title 1 Palm Beach County Public School located in Delray Beach, FL.  He is presently pursuing a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an area of specialization in LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Questioning) issues & LGBTQ curriculum inclusion at all grade levels.  Dominic’s areas of scholarship include elementary education, reading education, and multicultural education, as well as critical literacy theory involving LGBTQ themed literature.  He is currently working on research that will assist both teachers, administrators and students with making schools and classrooms less prejudiced for all students, specifically LGBTQ and gender non-conforming youth.

Kalisha Waldon
Curriculum/ Instruction Designer Ed Connections, LLC

Kalisha Waldon has worked in the PreK-16 system for 12 years as an administrator,teacher/professor, professional development facilitator, and mentor. Ms. Waldon is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in multicultural education/critical multiculturalism. Her areas of scholarship include K-12 reading education, religious education, critical media literacy, and multicultural education. In addition to this, Kalisha has conducted professional development workshops/trainings, served on several school evaluation/re-accreditation teams, and is passionate about excellence in education and empowering others to want the same. She co-authored a chapter on teaching the African American student in E.N. Ariza & S.I. Lapp (Eds). Literacy, Language, and Culture.

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