Birmingham has been part of the CEI program for the past year and serves as a model for what is possible when a community comes together with a shared mission. Apple worked with the Birmingham City School System, the City of Birmingham, and other community and corporate partners to launch Ed Farm, a groundbreaking education initiative focused on bringing innovative learning strategies and coding opportunities to underserved communities across the city. It’s through Ed Farm that teachers like Warren have had the opportunity to dive deeper into Apple’s coding and creativity tools, and collaborate with other teachers to integrate those resources into their lesson plans.
Last year, Warren joined Ed Farm’s first cohort of Teacher Fellows — educators singled out because of their passion for creative learning techniques.
“The partnership with Ed Farm has given me that extra boost, that extra energy, to ignite my students’ learning in the classroom,” says Warren. “Since the pandemic started, they have been there every step of the way to help. I can reach back at any time and say, ‘Hey, I tried this and I learned this, but it’s not working. Can you give me some additional support?’ And I know they are alongside me.”
Tapping into the technology and resources supported by CEI and Ed Farm, Warren and her Teacher Fellow peer Karita Sullen partnered with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to start a program called Cultivate Change, which helps students navigate racial tensions and communicate their feelings in a world where they are facing both a public health pandemic and systemic racial injustice.
“We wanted to give students a safe space because you don’t just learn about history in textbooks,” says Warren. “If in the midst of face-to-face confrontation they can apply some of the strategies they’re learning through these courses to problem-solve and survive some challenging things in their communities, then I think it’s all been worthwhile.”