In addition to our one-day seminars on the great books of the East and West, the Agora Foundation is seeking foundation and donor support for a wide array of projects to further our mission of bringing varied educational opportunities to adults, furthering the Teachers for Lifelong Learning Program, which provides training to high school teachers in this engaging approach to learning, and advancing the Ojai Chautauqua panels which promote civil discourse on controversial and complicated subjects and bring the community together to foster sustainability, understanding, and vision. Thank you for considering a donation to these endeavors. Click here.
2019 Ojai Unified Teacher Partnership
In fall, 2019, the Agora Foundation will partner with Ojai Unified School District and Thomas Aquinas College to train 76 public junior high and high school teachers in this approach. This pilot will take place during four six-hour Saturday events, with each event hosting 19 educators and the tutors from Thomas Aquinas College and The Agora Foundation. Participants will receive the reading and training materials, be provided continental breakfast and lunch, and each participant will receive a training stipend of $200, with follow-on consultation also to be scheduled. Attendance at 2019 Ojai Chautauqua panels is also included.
2019 Los Angeles County Teacher Partnership
As we have done in the past, in late fall, 2019, the Agora Foundation will partner with UCLA and several Los Angeles County public high schools to train teachers in this approach to learning. Participants will receive the reading and training materials, be provided continental breakfast and lunch, and each participant will receive a training stipend of $200, with follow-on consultation also to be scheduled. The Agora Foundation has worked with Granada Hills Charter High School, John Burroughs High School, Oaks Christian School, and many others. We look forward to bringing this dynamic approach to a greater number of teachers and their students.
Ojai Chautauqua Panels
The Agora Foundation has three Ojai Chautauqua panels planned for the immediate future:
Is Legal Cannabis Good for Ojai?
Innovation in Public Education... Needed or Underway?
Is Religious Faith Reasonable?
We are also developing the following subjects for future panel events:
Islam and the West
Water in the Ojai Valley, Part IV
Land Use in the Ojai Valley
The Crisis in Local Journalism
Further Topics in Education (e.g. Standardized Testing, Charter Schools,
Cost of Higher Education, the Purpose of Education
Partnering with Carnegie Mellon on Transition Design in Ojai
The Transition Design program at Carnegie Mellon seeks to catalyze the societal shift toward sustainable lifestyles that are simultaneously place-based (local) and internationally networked (global). Design has a critical role to play in driving sustainable change across a range of complex systems—from food, water, materials and products, to transport, communications, and education. The project has already worked through its investigative phase and the Ojai Valley is on its way toward a sustainable and robust vision for 2050. The community building the great books seminars and Ojai Chautauqua panels foster can set the stage for the next phase of the project.
Extending our Great Books Seminars to Santa Barbara County
Over the past 20 years, we have seen the effect of creating valuable educational offerings for adults who want to continue their education, through the careful and sustained reading and discussion of the great books of the east and the west. With our increased capacity, we plan to extend our offerings to Santa Barbara County, and perhaps pursue a partership with Santa Barbara City College.
Building an Interactive, Expanded Teacher Resource
Over the years, Agora has created online formatted texts for teachers to use in their classrooms, and audio and video recorded our events so that all who are interested can benefit from the conversations. Now we are ready to greatly enhance these resources by creating a database of reading collections, themes, summaries, and opening questions. Visitors will be able to thematically pair readings or sets of readings, and have a guide on where to begin the conversations with their groups. See a sample at right.
This Project is underway!
Click here to view the Interactive Curriculum Map (in progress)
Continue the Free Community Series -
The Foundations of Our Republic
Beginning in March 2018, we embarked on a free community seminar series - The Foundations of Our Republic. Meeting twice per month, for one hour during lunch time at the Ojai Library, the groups covered the Declaration of Independence, Selected Federalist Papers, The U.S. Constitution, Dred Scott Decision and Dissenting View (edited), Lincoln Douglass Debates (edited), Plessy v. Ferguson and Dissenting View (edited), Brown v. Board of Education, Letter from Birmingham Jail, and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment. The series has been wonderfully successful and we plan to begin the series again during a weekday evening, as some could not attend the lunch out time. This series could also be replicated in other locations.
Developing a Year-long Reading list and Study Guide, Focusing on Female Authors
As an additional resource for teachers and for study groups, we have begun work assembling a list of writing from female authors, and are collaborating with our tutors on an extensive study guide. Authors in the series will include Hannah Arendt, Jane Austin, Simone de Beauvoir, Elizabeth Bishop, Charlotte Bronte, Willa Cather, Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Hildegard of Bingen, Flannery O'Connor, Mary Oliver, Marianne Moore, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, Ayn Rand, Mary Shelly, Murasaki Shikibu, Sigrid Undset, Simone Weil, Virginia Wolfe, and more…