In spring of 2014, Jennifer Staysniak, a teacher at Mount Alvernia High School in Newton, Massachusetts, won a Margot Stern Strom Innovation grant through Facing History and Ourselves, a nonprofit organization based out of Brookline, MA. The grant provides funding for teachers who have participated in Facing History and Ourselves programs and propose a creative project that emphasizes student engagement, technological collaboration, and educational innovation.
Staysniak came up with the idea to pursue an oral history project with her students based on past experiences collecting stories of activism for her masters program at Boston College. Inspired by historical figures who challenged systems of discrimination and injustice, Staysniak believed it was important for her students to uncover more local stories of heroism and activism. Voices of Activism seeks to create student-historians who will collect stories of activism throughout Boston from organizations that have provided a voice for the community.
By exploring Boston’s lesser-known voices of activism, Staysniak hopes her students will begin a movement for widespread recognition of the city’s grassroots leaders. After students conduct interviews with members of Boston’s activist community, they transcribe them and upload them onto this website.
In May of 2016 Staysniak spoke at the Boston EdTalks, a forum for educators that honors innovative teachers in the Boston area. As a speaker, Staysniak received a Boston Foundation grant to continue Voices of Activism. Below is Staysniak’s EdTalk.
Staysniak was also recently featured by Facing History and Ourselves:
Below is the original grant application video.
To learn more about Jennifer Staysniak and other Facing History’s Innovation Grant winners, click HERE.
To learn more about Mount Alvernia High School, click HERE.