Episode 010 Transcript

Better Alternative Education with Alan Lantis and Jackie Spring (2/28/18)

ROY CHAMBERS [bumper]: Hi, this is Roy Chambers. I'm the Artist in Residence for Project ‘79. You're listening to Point of Learning with Peter Horn, my dog.

PETER HORN: On today's show, a better way to do school:

ALAN LANTIS: So what we try to do is to reclaim these kids, to let them feel as though they can do it, they should do it, they belong, and to give them a sense of being a part of something and an identity.

JACKIE SPRING: The best conversations I have ever had, the most open, the most authentic conversations I've ever had about difference come in Project classes. There’s a willingness to just say things that I don't always experience in other places.

PETER: On September 4th, 1979, a small alternative education program welcomed its first students, high school students, to a different kind of learning experience. Nearly 40 years later, that program is still going strong. That kind of longevity alone would make Project ’79 unusual, even unique among alternative education experiments undertaken in the 1970s. But there’s so much more to it than that. As someone who worked in Project ’79 for 14 years, first teaching English and then teaching while also coordinating the program, I believe it’s about the best way to do school, for reasons today’s show will explore. I’ll be talking with the program’s two other coordinators: my predecessor, Alan Lantis, who directed Project from its origin in the late ’70s until 2008, and Jackie Spring, who took over from me when I left Westfield High School in 2015. They are both dear friends and important influences on my thinking about what matters in school. We’ll get to the magic of Project ’79 in just a minute, but I’d like to introduce these two remarkable educators, both coincidentally social studies teachers, through stories from their own school history that set them up to value a more personalized approach to education. In the spring of 1966, Al Lantis was a high school senior in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. By his own lights, he was a mediocre student, earning Cs in most everything except history class, which he really liked. He wasn’t thinking seriously about college until one of his teachers nearly literally went the extra mile to offer a word of encouragement.

ALAN: It was nighttime graduation under the lights. It was my English teacher, Mrs. Bartlett, who again, she had an artificial leg, I remember it so well, and she was a little older and the ceremony was about to begin and we're all lined up on the field getting into our appropriate spots and everybody looks across the field, and here comes who we referred to as Black Bart because we thought she was, you know, so tough and she comes limping across the field, across the field, and everybody's looking at her and saying like, eyes opening wide, “Who’s she after now?” And she came closer and closer and she came up to me, I said, “Me of all people?” And she's huffing and puffing and she said, “I just want you to know before you graduate, you've got the highest grade on the English exam.” And I was aghast. I could not believe that because we had some pretty high-achieving kids in our four classes. But anyway, long story short, it really, really stayed with me. And once I did go off to this little school in the cornfields of Iowa, that one comment and that one little achievement of four years of high school was enough to say to me, “Wait a minute, I can do this!” And I went there and had a wonderful experience with some great professors. And I graduated with a degree in history and political science, and I do attribute a lot of it to that one interaction because it was that that led me to believe that it's possible.

PETER: That school in the cornfields of Iowa was called Midwestern College. Al earned his Master’s at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

ALAN: I say this all the time. As a teacher, as an educator, you have to be on every moment that you are interacting with students because you never know: You never know when that moment is going to take place. What you think is a simple interaction, what you think is a simple look, to a student in the back of the room, could be the difference in that kid's life and so you have to be aware of that. Your radar has to be on all the time. Who is it that I can connect with at this moment? Who in this class— When you walk in, not only are you thinking about your lesson plan, you're not just thinking about the questions you're going to ask, and the assignment you're going to give. One of the things in your mind is Who out there, who out there needs something today? and Am I the person who can provide that for them today, at this given moment? And maybe—who knows?—maybe 90% of the time it's not going to happen, but if you're aware of that, and continue to look for it, if you get it 10% of the time, over the course of a career, you’re doing pretty good.

PETER: Jackie Spring, who has done graduate study at Rider University, is a proud graduate of Virginia Tech. But her example of what connected her to the kind of teaching offered in Project ’79 came while she was still thinking about attending the University of Georgia.

JACKIE: When I got serious about going to college, I went down to Georgia and one of the advisors was like, “You need to take chemistry.” And I'm like, “Oh my God, no. I have worked very hard to not take any sciences except for the expected ones for the state of New Jersey. Can we negotiate on this?” And they were like, “No, you can't. You have to take chemistry.” So, my senior year of high school I took chemistry because I wanted to go to Georgia, and the teacher that I had, his name was Mr. Vitale. He was awesome. I don't know what happened about that class, but I just gained this confidence where every time he lectured, when he was done, I'd be like, “Excuse me, Mr. Vitale. Everything you just said I didn't get. Can you come and reteach everything you just said to me over here?” And he would. And he actually did. Literally, every week he spent at least 15 minutes with me just going through all of the things that chemistry expected of me. I didn't go to Georgia, but I think he just demonstrated to me that teachers weren't just these authoritative figures. They actually cared.

PETER: I asked what it was about Mr. Vitale.

JACKIE: I think he just sort of was like, “Hey you in the back!” He was this guy who was from Western Pennsylvania. My family is from Western Pennsylvania. There's this sort of like demeanor that is sort of like “Yo!” but not in a New Jersey way, in a Western Pennsylvania way. And so I just sort of approached him in that way, like, “Yo, Mr. Vitale.” And he just sort of responded to that. I think he also was not a guy who, if I'm being totally honest, I don't think he was a guy that I think— He cared very much about his content area, but didn't take himself too seriously. I think he really was there to make us feel like we could learn chemistry.

PETER: Act 1. Just what is this program called Project ’79? Let’s start with some experts, the students themselves.

INTI: There’s a great sense of community and I always feel respected in the classroom. I'm always excited to participate. It really broke me out of my shell and I'm friends with a lot of people that I haven't been friends with before.

JACK: Project was and will always be a family for me. An academic family, sure, because without Project I wouldn't have learned how to do so much work that I'm doing now in college. I just wouldn't have succeeded without Project.

COOPER: Project is not like any other program that you'll find. It is based upon what students are going to need. And so, they decide how to handle the class, what's being done in the class, in the way they approach topics. And giving students that freedom is something I've never seen any other classroom.

SARAH: This question is probably my least favorite question of anything about Project, because there's so many different aspects about Project that I just personally love, and I feel like this question just always bothered me because there's so many—I can't think of just one thing. Project is just such a beautiful place and it's such like a meaningful thing to me that I can't pick out one thing. It's nearly impossible for me.

PETER: Just what Project is hasn’t always been easy for coordinators to put our finger on.

ALAN: It wasn't an easy question, depending on your audience at any given time.

PETER: Structurally, Project ’79 is a kind of school within Westfield High School for students of average to above-average ability who have struggled with more traditional approaches to education. Most years, Project offers courses in the four core academic areas of English, mathematics, science, and social studies, taught by a team of teachers who meet regularly to talk about kids and plan new ways to engage them better as learners. The classes are smaller than traditional classes. You might have 10 or 15 kids in a class, as opposed to say 25. The smaller classes and the meetings and the multiple years in the program let teachers get to know students better than they would in non-Project classes. In 2009, art teacher Roy Chambers joined the program to support interdisciplinary projects using sculpture, painting, graphic design and more—but these structural descriptions just scratch the surface.

ALAN: So what the program started out as, and what it is today—again, 39+ years later—is an attempt to reach those students who, for so many different reasons, are not feeling comfortable in school, who may be alienated, who may have issues outside of school that make it difficult for them to connect in what is in Westfield a pretty standard, strict approach to education. And the kind of thing that if a student is not feeling confident, for whatever reason, will tend to disengage pretty quickly. So what we try to do is to reclaim these kids too, to let them feel as though they can do it, they should do it, they belong, and to give them a sense of being a part of something, an identity. It's an attempt to reach out, to not allow these students to be left in the wake, to be left in the dust. They are someone, they have something to contribute, and as we've seen over the course of 40 years, if you grab them and pull them back in, they will succeed. They have succeeded. There are hundreds and hundreds of kids who have gone through the program, many of which, most of which are living happy, successful lives right now.

PETER: For example, Jessie Gregory, class of 2011, who developed the sick beat you just heard as part of her senior independent study in hip-hop. 

JESSIE: School was extremely hard for me. I wasn't able to focus in large classes. I honestly never thought about college, or even considered applying until I became a Project member. Because of this program, I found my way. I'm now Project ‘79 alumni, and a graduate of West Virginia University.

PETER: All the music in the soundscape of today’s show was written and/or performed by    Project students.

PATRICK: Hi. I'm Patrick. I'm a Project student. So Westfield is a really black-and-white kind of stereotypical high school movie town, and Project ‘79 is a good way to disconnect from all that.

MOLLY: When I think about Project ‘79, I think about a community that accepts different learning styles, as well as encourages these learning styles.

ADAM: Hi. I'm Adam, and what I wanted to say about Project does is that, if you've been branded as a “stupid” kid, like someone who doesn't try, and you don't feel that way, but the school system has branded you that way, that Project will see that and take you and make you into a better student.

JUAN: Yeah. Yeah. What up, everyone? What Project is to me is … your new home away from home. And I like that. It's lit. Yeah.

JACKIE: I was asking the kids this morning this question, “How do you describe Project?” They say things like, “We're all weirdos. We're all weirdos and it's cool. Then we can take an academic risk. Then we're not afraid to ask a question, then we're not afraid to say what we really think because we know that our answers are going to be considered and even if it's not right, they're just not right yet.” And I think that really tells you about what Project is: it is a place where people are willing to give kids a space to really develop and grow. And I don't know that kids really always feel like they have those spaces in any academic institution. I think this is a thing about Project that is not understood in a way that I wish it was more understood: with that understanding and sense of comfort and closeness comes a different kind of accountability. So kids know, and kids will say often that they're not just accountable to themselves and their parents, but they know that when they come and they don't do something, someone in the class is going to check them on it. If they are not working to their potential, even kids are going to check them on it. Teachers are going to know on a day that you're phoning it in, “You know, that's not—I know that's not your best, so I'm not going to accept it,” or “I'm gonna work with you to like develop it so that it is a presentation of your best work.”

ALAN: The closeness and the respect that's built up over the course of multiple years between the staff and the students are such that they there is a built-in accountability. They don't want to let themselves down, their classmates, and the staff, because of the investment of staff has made with them. Kids are not by nature bad. There are always reasons why they are dysfunctional or not succeeding, and that's part of what Project does is to find out why that is the case. Because once you know that and start addressing that issue, they will respond. They begin to say, “Hey, wait a minute. This person cares about me. They understand me. I'm not going to do that to that teacher because they know who I am, about what I'm doing and what I'm not doing.”

JACKIE: In so many ways, I think Project kids are just not about playing the game. They want authentic connections, they want authentic interactions, and I think sometimes for a lot of our kids that question of “Are you real right now or are you faking it because you're the teacher?” gets in their way of doing anything that they want to do in school.

PETER: Act 2. How to Build an Effective Education Alternative. Over the past four decades, Project ’79 has hosted educators not only from throughout New Jersey and the U.S., but also international visitors from Russia, Germany, England and France. One of the reasons I wanted to devote a show to Project ’79 is that I know that when people learn about this program, they want to understand the elements of its success. Every school has some students who are more like orchids than wildflowers; astonishingly various, fascinating young people who nonetheless require some particular care in order to show their spectacular colors. A former colleague in recent years helped to rebrand the Alt Ed program on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts Project Vine, for instance. So kids who could benefit from a program like Project are a given in any school environment, but what else is required to develop and sustain your own local Project? The second half of the show discusses the four key ingredients: the right teachers, time for those teachers to meet, a common space to serve as headquarters. But before any of that, you gotta do your homework! In the mid-1970s the Westfield Superintendent of Schools was a man named Larry Greene. He recognized there were students who needed something different, so he convened a committee of educators, parents, and other citizens interested in exploring the issue. These people did their homework, reading whatever they could find about alternative education, and decided to move forward.

ALAN: We did a lot of reading. We did a lot of research. We had librarians pulling out all the current articles on, on alternative education, all of which were extremely helpful.

PETER: Superintendent Greene found money for a team of volunteers to travel and learn what they could about strategies in alternative education.

ALAN: We went to Maine, we went to Pennsylvania, we went down to Maryland, and a number of different places where we knew alternative programs were in existence based on the research that we had done. And what we did was to visit those that were highly acclaimed, and then found ones that had not succeeded and went to both to find out what was the difference, and that was important. That was a real turning point for us in terms of developing the program because the thing we found out was that what was very popular at the time, the period you're talking about, in the ‘60s and ‘70s was this drive to make kids feel good. You know, to make them feel at home, to make them feel comfortable. And a lot of the programs that were set up did just that and did only that. And what we found from those that had failed was that what they neglected was to have a strong academic base, strong academic accountability. You just can't bring at-risk kids together and say, “We're going to make you feel good.” We're going to make you feel good, but at the same time, and more importantly, you're going to study, you're going to achieve, you're going to do what we asked you to do in terms of academics, and it's got to be a continuous balance between those two: to feel comfortable, to feel connected, to feel respected, but at the same time to have strong academic base. And that was always what we did in Project. And it's what goes on today. It's not a place to warehouse kids and keep them out of trouble and keep them calm. It's a place where they're going to achieve.

PETER: So the first major takeaway was that an effective alternative program needs to educate the whole child, tending to intellectual and academic, as well as social and emotional needs. Number two: let them choose to join. A program like Project needs to be voluntary.

ALAN: That was the other thing that we learned, that a lot of the programs that were developed at that time was that—they were a warehouse of disciplinary problems. [Imitating rigid school official] “You've gotten in trouble seven times, 10 times you're going to the alternative program!” [Student protesting] “But, but—“ [Official] “No, you're going right now, report in the morning” kind of thing. Well, you know, that wasn't the case with our program and certainly not the case to this day. Every student who came into the program did so because they chose to enter the program, because their parents were supportive of that decision. And that buy-in is of course very important, because as you bring them in and you say, “OK, here we are, here's what the program is, here's where you have some difficulty. We think we can help you with that. Do you want this? OK?” If they say yes, we say, “Here are our expectations if you come into the program.” So because we've been around for a long time, you know, to some degree, some of the kids see it as a privilege to come into the program.”

PETER: So that's what you can learn by taking an inquiry stance from the outset. Key ingredient number two, the right staff.

ALAN: Staffing was always a big issue in the program. After over 40 years—I've never even stopped to count—but we’ve had dozens and dozens of staff members go through the program. Most of them: successful. But what made that staff member successful is their ability to give up who they are, give up their ego and to focus on the student. Not always easy. And even those staff members who said, “I want to be a part of that. I like what you're doing. I want to be a part of that”—they’ve not always come into the program and turned automatically into the stellar alternative education staff member. It takes a certain amount, no not a certain—it takes a lot of self-confidence, not ego, not ego, but self-confidence that you're going to go in there and you're going to work and work and work, not only in teaching history or math, but you're going to work at teaching that kid about life, about decisions, about where they fit in. And not all teachers are cut out to do that or want to do that, but those who do can find a very rewarding experience, because if you do it, those kids give back.

JACKIE: I think also that the comfort in questioning yourself daily and never feeling like you have the balance of pushing and pulling back right. And being OK with the feeling that like, “I'm going to try again tomorrow.” That's hard for a lot of people to just be OK with that condition. You know, today: “I pushed a little too hard.” Tomorrow: “I didn't really push them as hard as they needed to be pushed.” And feeling a sense of comfort I think is also something for a staff member to be able to find peace with in their own way. Because it's not the same thing every day. You're getting wildly different experiences month to month, year to year. And I think when you say—I mean, Al, you always talk about ‘chipping away’— I try to say that a lot too, that you don't always see the rewards of all your input in the freshman year, when you start with them on day one in September of their freshman year. You often see that in their junior year, perhaps senior year or perhaps when they're like 35 and they come back and they say, “Look at this awesome thing that I'm doing!” And you're like, “If we could just go back for a minute and look at what life was like for you in high school, I don't know that I would've ever expected that. So thank you for that gift of knowledge that you have done something really awesome or that I have played some tiny little role in that progress!” I think finding that comfort is really hard for Project teachers, and I think the best of intentions don't always mean that you're good at that. I think it takes a lot of self-restraint to be a good Project teacher, and a lot of constant reinforcement of you're not always going to get it right, and most days you don't get it right, but that's OK. Come back tomorrow and try again and you'll have a team of teachers around you to try to support you tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and the next day.

PETER: Jackie has a slightly different take on ego:

JACKIE: I think when you assume a role of teacher, I think there's a certain degree of ego that you have to adopt to just even go in front of a class full of teenagers, or little children, or whatever age you're working with. I think you have to adopt a certain degree of ego, but I also think sometimes when you don't understand why a kid is behaving in a way that you don't want them to behave and you can't actually control their behavior, sometimes it's easier to just jump into the [attitude]: Well, that kid's a pain, that kid’s disruptive. That kid is ruining my class dynamic for everybody else. Something that I have learned from Project is when I can leave my ego at the door, we can actually engage in those conversations in a way that makes it productive for both the teacher who's trying to get kids to demonstrate some kind of academic growth and personal growth and the kid who is just confused about who this lady is, Jackie Spring, talking at them.

PETER: Sidebar. Two Paradoxes of Teaching. Paradox is a device I loved to teach, not least because it was an excuse to write some Greek on the chalkboard. Para here means “next to” like paramedic, or paralegal, or parallel lines. Dox means “belief,” as orthodox derives from “right belief,” and doxology means some words about belief sung in Christian churches. You get a paradox when there’s two non-overlapping ideas worth taking seriously. The paradoxes of teaching are part of what makes it so hard—and so rewarding. I embraced one with help from Bev Geddis, a master colleague in English by the time I started at Westfield. We were sharing a classroom in my third year of teaching and, one day, during the transition between classes, we overheard an exchange between students in which one kid clearly couldn’t remember the name of the teacher he’d had just last year. Without missing a beat, Bev, who was adored by students and colleagues alike, said, “Kinda puts it all in perspective, doesn’t it?” She was smiling because she also knew that for many kids, you as the teacher are probably seeing them more in a given week than their own parents. To remain effective while not burning out, teachers need to remember both parts of this paradox: your work may be immensely influential; and also, given what all else is going on in a given kid’s life, he may not remember your name next year. The trick is relying on the part that will help you keep things in perspective at any given moment. There’s a similar apparent contradiction in Al’s educational philosophy: on the one hand, you as a teacher have to be on the lookout for a small interaction that might make a great difference in a kid’s trajectory, like Mrs. Bartlett’s labored trip across the field to congratulate Al on his exam score. On the other hand, especially in a program for at-risk learners, you need to consider your daily work one small part of a long and collaborative process.

ALAN: Nothing you do, nothing any one teacher in the program does, is going to make the difference, is going to change them. It's a process. It took them many years to get to the point where they're at. You're not going to change them in one class or one week. It was a process, and we knew that and you could see that because we had the privilege of working with these kids over the course of multiple years and you could see the development. You could see the change.

PETER: As Jackie said, Al’s memorable metaphor for this was chipping away.

ALAN: And it's not one sculptor. It's, you know, four or six sculptors working on the same project. And one of the things I liked about Project is that— We know as human beings that we don't connect or identify with everybody that we come into contact with. Our personalities don't match everybody that we meet. And so in Project I think working with a team of teachers, all of whom had different personalities, you had a greater chance of working together to say, “That kid is you, the kid that you're able to connect with. That's the kid who, for whatever reason, connects with you. And so you know that individually you can back off a little bit, knowing that your colleague is going to work on that one. And so, you know when I went in and I had—whatever it was I was teaching in any given year, you know—65 kids at the beginning I would say, “Who are the kids here that I can (for whatever reason) I have some kind of connection with?” Those are the ones that I would go after. And then I'd look as the coordinator to see who else is connecting with some other these kids so that everybody is covered. Now, it doesn't mean that every kid has only one staff member; it overlaps a lot, but to be able to identify those kids that you can just kind of grab onto and pull in is important, and again, the privilege of having those kids for three or four years working with however number of staff members—six, eight staff members—there is a certain amount of comfort in that knowing that you don't have to solve the problem today, that it's going to be a process …

PETER: Essential ingredient number three: time for staff to meet. Project staff meet for a full period nearly every day.

ALAN: That was built into the program, right from day one. It was part of the schedule from the first day the program went into existence. Even before we met the first student, we knew that there would need to what we called a debriefing session. That's how it was originally designed. You know, What went on today? What kid was on? Who was off? Who needs to be attended to? Whose parent needs to be called? Do we need to set up a meeting?

JACKIE: The staff meeting allows us to go from teachers who have specific kids that we share in different spaces to We all teach these kids. I truly believe you cannot have program without that time for teachers to understand that they are in a community of teachers that then extends outward, and if teachers don't feel connected to other teachers, teaching similar kids and trying to achieve similar goals, that you can continue to have the cohesiveness.

ALAN: No, you cannot feel isolated teaching at-risk kids. You'll burn out too quickly.

PETER: And finally, the last key ingredient, easily overlooked: the Project Office is the headquarters of the program, a large classroom arranged with meeting and workspaces for teachers and students. There’s also room to play a little, with areas for kids and teachers to catch up, to read, or play chess or eat lunch.

JACKIE: I think that's really important for people to understand that it is both for teachers to have desks and do work in that office, but also for kids to have a space to do homework, sit quietly, talk with people. One thing I learned from you guys is the value of the office early on. It's not about just going and being in there. It's about interacting with kids. It's about sitting with kids, eating your lunch with kids and having conversations, and the things you can learn about them just by sitting with them. We often joke with some of the kids we have now. There is a Period 5 group right now. The group that's in there, we just seem to every single day to talk about food. And these kids that are in there—they were Period 3 last year; they've become Period 5 this year—we just talk about different foods that we like from around the world, and things that we've tried and things that they've made and experimented with. And it allows these kids to talk about their different cultural backgrounds in the foods that their families have made. And none of that would I have known just by teaching them in a history class, even if it was a Global class. I'm hearing about how a kid makes gnocchi, you know, like I don't know when you’d ever have the opportunity to talk about that. I'm hearing about how they all come together on weekends and they go to someone's house and they make food together. You don't think that of high school kids when you just think of Random High School Student, you know. And there are so many stories beyond that that … reveal themselves when you spend time in that space. We have dance Fridays. So this is a new thing too in the morning. Something that is new is— I don't know, a high school kid that likes to get to school before 7:28. I don't know that kid other than the kids that have come into Project. We have kids that show up every day at 6:50, and every Friday kids decided we have Dance Party Friday. There’s a way that these kids just make you look forward to school in a way that when you come in at 6:30 on a Friday— you know sometimes it can feel so cold and you’re like, “Can't the weekend just be here?” I've written in a lot of college recommendations: I am thankful for these kids creating that kind of environment, because it makes me look forward to coming to school just as much as maybe they look forward to it.

ALAN: Here's the important thing I think, also, is that, let's be honest, these are at-risk kids. At some point they're going to screw up. After having spent this kind of time with these kids, and having opened yourself up and have them open themselves up to you, when that critical time comes where you really do have to hold them accountable or you really have to say, “This is wrong. You can't do this. How are we gonna fix this?” They're going to stop, and they're going to listen. You're going to spend the time. They're going to respect who you are. They're going to listen and that what we're talking about here is laying the groundwork for when the tough times come so that, that tough time becomes a learning experience rather than a—you know, backing off and saying, “You can't tell me!” That's the investment that you put in as an educator. You build those times so then you can cash in on that later on, when it comes to that meaningful time, that meaningful work.

JACKIE: I think whenever you ask kids why they feel different, for whatever reason they are different, when they come to a place that has a very strong expectation around acknowledging and seeing the value in our differences, I think everybody feels more at ease talking about the differences that exist. I think a lot of times in my non-Project classes, we are a little less comfortable talking or addressing or acknowledging our differences, whatever they may be, but that never really happens in Project. We have fierce conversations and debates over how people see things, and why different narratives are justified or why we should discredit others. The best conversations I have ever had—the most open, the most authentic conversations I've ever had about difference, have come in Project classes. There’s a willingness to just say things that I don't always experience in other places, and I have grown a lot because I have learned so much from the different kids that come in and talk about their different backgrounds, different experiences. It makes kids better. And I also really believe that it's essential for those—I think our kids are better suited to go into the world because they have had that experience, because they are not the kids that are going into the world that cannot confront difference on any level. They have had practice in dealing with that. And I think, isn't that what we want in the world? People who can manage that in some way of addressing that, of confronting it? I don't know. That matters to me. I love that about them. Some of the best conversations we had, like—I watched and I wasn't always part of them—were specifically around race. A white high school male and a black female talking about their experiences, and feeling like in the beginning of that conversation that there's nothing that they can agree on, and watching them walk through that together and feeling like a mutual respect by the end of their experience. You know, that's powerful. That's hopeful for the future.

PETER: That’s it for today’s show exploring an alternative education program with its own inspirational take on what and how and why we learn. Here’s to the next 40 years, Project ’79! Thanks to Alan Lantis and Jackie Spring for joining me, as well as current and former Project students who shared their take on the program and not a little bit of great music sprinkled throughout the soundtrack. If you want to learn more about Project ’79, check out the show page for additional information. Thanks as always to Shayfer James for intro and outro music, and of course thanks to you for listening. Point of Learning may be found on Google Play as well as YouTube and Apple Podcasts, where you can now rate the program. [5 stars] Thank you for subscribing and spreading the word about this podcast to anyone interested in what and how and why we learn. Back next month, when I’ll be talking with Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director at The Public Theater in downtown Manhattan. See you then!

Peter Horn