This summer, we've been running a conversation series on Thursday mornings -- a time for coffee and checking in with smart, creative, thoughtful folx about the current racial justice uprising, teaching and learning in an anti-racist framework, and parenting as revolution.
On August 6, I was fortunate enough to be in conversation with friend, educator ,and parent Matt Ross. Matt and I met at Portland State University probably at least 15+ years ago (maybe 20?) when I was a baby teacher. I was teaching writing at the time and I was still finding my way. I always take a learner's stance because I'm constantly learning and need the space to deepen my practice, to be wrong, to apologize, to listen better, etc. But back then I was REALLY finding my way. Luckily, while I was doing all of that learning in the classroom, I met some amazing folx who have been with me on the journey -- watching each other through a whole bunch of changes, learning, and growing. Matt is one of those folx. And I have the utmost respect for him; every time we talk, I think more deeply in a new way. Gratitudes, Matt.
In our 45 minute conversation, we covered book recommendations, how to have challenging conversations with students without traumatizing them, and the importance of heart centered practice.
ABOUT MATT ROSS
Matthew Ross is a Portland native that grew up in poverty. His expertise includes addressing issues related to education, poverty, race, culture and personal development. Matthew is a Heart of Facilitation graduate and has been teaching and facilitating since 2008. Heart of Facilitation is an intensive 5-month training in facilitation, experiential learning techniques, communication techniques, program design, personal presentation, and self-development. He holds a master’s of both education and divinity, a bachelor’s of science and an associates of science. One of his favorite quotes is, "We reach each other through our shared vulnerability". He works to model this in all of his work and life experiences.
For the past 6 years he has been an administrator and the Principal of Open School East in East County, serving historically underserved youth and their families. Amidst the current pandemic and a host of racial and social disparities, he and his team were able to graduate 84% of their seniors, either early or on time in 2020.
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: MATT'S BOOK STACK
A Black Women's History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Dr. Joy Degruy
Me and My Feelings by Vanessa Green Allen
Hold Me Tight by Dr. Sue Johnson
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Check out these and more of our summer picks revealed on our Coffee Conversations hosted by Two Rivers Bookstore HERE.