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B.A. English: Dartmouth College
M.A. Education: Stanford University
The coronavirus pandemic transformed every aspect of American life—none more so than education. When classes went online in the spring of 2020, many students and teachers bemoaned a lack of connection on Zoom and looked forward to returning to live, in-person classes in their neighborhood schools.
While I mostly agreed with that sentiment, I also began to see the potential of distance learning as a unique opportunity to bring together a diverse group of people who, because of geographic barriers, would never have a chance to meet otherwise. For me, the possibilities associated with remote instruction for student academic enrichment and teacher professional development led directly to the foundation of Literary Focus.
To build better readers, writers, and thinkers through academic enrichment for students and professional development for teachers.
To create an active, engaged online community of motivated students and dedicated teachers who are eager to discuss great literature with people from varied backgrounds and experiences in the hope that we can find common ground as we strive to gain a deeper understanding of and greater appreciation for the complexity of the human condition.
Literary Focus is an organization that is committed to embracing the following core values:
We understand that people come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences that have shaped their beliefs and attitudes. As a result, we recognize that the quest to discover an objective and universal truth will always be elusive, if not impossible, to find. We are committed, however, to listening to others with an open mind with the goal of trying to understand why our perspectives might differ rather than trying to convince others that our way of seeing the world is right and theirs is wrong.
One of the gifts that literature provides is the ability to live vicariously through another person's experience. By feeling another's pain and joy, by sharing the human desire to live with dignity and respect, we should come to understand and appreciate that we share a common bond and similar fate. We are all born into a world that we did not create, and one day we are all destined to die. In the meantime, we believe that we have a moral obligation to treat others with as much kindness, compassion, and understanding as possible as we navigate this complex and challenging world together.
We are committed to giving other people the benefit of the doubt and trusting that, at heart, they have good intentions and care about the welfare of others as well as themselves. When we disagree on issues, we refrain from personal attacks and questioning other people's motives. Instead, we focus our discussions on the complexity of the issues involved, which we know can be interpreted in many different ways. Finally, we understand there are never easy answers or obvious conclusions to be drawn from any situation, especially when diverse individuals or groups are in conflict.
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