A photo of a painted mural on the wall at The Gordon Parks School for Inquisitive Minds. The mural depicts a black camera, and in the camera lens is an image of students throwing their graduation caps in the air in front of the school. The words painted in the top right side of the camera reads

News literacy ambassador brings ‘seasoned’ approach to education

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Sandra Street, news literacy ambassadorWhen you view educator Sandra Street’s LinkedIn profile, your gaze quickly finds the word “seasoned,” which appears directly under her name at the top of the page. In this understated way, she makes her wealth of experience and expertise evident.

An award-winning history teacher at the Gordon Parks School for Inquisitive Minds in Queens, New York, and a news literacy ambassador for NLP, Street is committed to elevating her students’ learning experience through her “seasoned” approach.

“I remember many years ago, I bought a wok and was washing it out. My brother said, ‘Don’t wash it with soap and water, just wipe it out so that every time you cook, it seasons the food,’” she recalls. “When you add a little heat to something, you bring a whole lot of different flavors.”

This cooking metaphor, she believes, applies to teaching.

Street, who became an educator after working on Wall Street, harvests the flavors from a diversity of experiences and opportunities that she brings to the classroom. Here are just a few examples. She is a member of the New York State Council for the Social Studies Supervisory Committee and completed New York City’s Leaders in Education Apprentice Program. She studied the African diaspora at New York University and attended the Tufts in London program. Also, she earned a certificate in education leadership and administration from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

News literacy ambassador, teacher

This ever-curious and engaged approach to learning and life led her to make news literacy education an imperative. “I have been teaching it because I’m compelled to do so. Because we’re living it,” says Street. This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, she teaches history remotely to 74 eighth-graders.

NLP’s Checkology® virtual classroom is a main ingredient in this instruction. “When I went into Checkology, I just wanted to stay in there all day,” Street says. She considers the guidance to stop and weigh information before believing, sharing or taking action a fundamental lesson. “I use that in the classroom. I’ll say, ‘Let’s pause. Before you make a decision, make sure you are well informed.’”

Relying on events both current and historical, she encourages students to make their own realizations about the information they encounter. She reminds them, “I’m not here to tell you what to think; it’s my goal to get you to think.”

A mom herself, Street brings a maternal concern to the classroom. “What I want for my children, I want for other children: Access and exposure to information where they can find their truth,” she says.

As an NLP ambassador, Street advocates for news literacy education and support educators who join NLP’s News Literacy Educator Network — NewsLit Nation. This role gives her a new and important way to bring a little extra seasoning to the education system, and to her life.

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