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So far Sam has created 50 blog entries.

Celebrating Our Teacher of the Year

By Brittany Usiak Colin Hogan, the 2021 Geoffrey J. Comber Touchstones Teacher of the Year, serves as Head of School at the Learning Community Charter School (LCCS) in Jersey City, New Jersey. The school has the most diverse student population of all charter schools in the state. Colin was nominated by Maureen Rexer, Assistant Head

Listening to Women

 By Debra Valentine The first discussion of this new program will be on works by American author Kate Chopin, pictured here. Our syllabus includes works by Gertrude Stein, Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood, among others. Howard Zeiderman, Co-founder of the Touchstones Discussion Project and Director of Leadership Programs, and I are

A Shared Enterprise

By Matteo Burrell Starting in the fall of 2020, I was very fortunate to begin participating in the Exploring American Perspectives (EAP) Leadership program led by Howard Zeiderman. As our group progressed, I began to see how the EAP program, implemented under Howard’s leadership, positioned us to think reflexively about ourselves, our experiences, and our


By Stefanie Takacs   Master’s students in small groups in their recent Touchstones workshop at UNLV Managing challenges during COVID has been significant—in terms of time and resources. Striking a balance between safety and knowing that some forms of work are best accomplished in-person remains a daily focus. We’re grateful we’ve had a

A Culture of Learning

By Brittany Usiak I chose to work in education because I am driven by a love of learning, and I believe in the power of schools as the foundation of thriving, democratic communities. When I first connected with Touchstones’ Executive Director, Stef Takacs, about the possibility of joining the Touchstones team last spring, I knew

New Team Members

By Samantha Duckworth In August, Touchstones welcomed two new members to its staff: Brittany Usiak and Samantha Duckworth, the second being myself. Brittany is a former teacher, and I am a rising junior at St. John’s College. Brittany joins the staff as our K-12 & Adult Programs Manager. She has been teaching for the past

Exploring Identity & Belonging

By Olivia Braley At Touchstones, we are always looking to expand awareness of and access to our programs, and we strive to engage students and teachers in inclusive and discussion-based education models they may not otherwise know about. In the past, some community initiatives we’ve launched to reach new audiences included Touchstones Week, Frankenreads, and

An Invitation to Veterans

By Leith Daghistani Over the Summer, Touchstones revitalized its efforts to expand access to Completing the Odyssey: A Journey Home, a discussion program for veterans on the transition to civilian life. Program development was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and before the onset of the pandemic it had been

An Artist’s View: An Interview with Stacey Turner

Elliot Zuckerman’s, Figuration 13 (1997), oil on canvas with charcoal. By Olivia Braley From late November into early December, Touchstones held an online art exhibition showcasing the dynamic work of Elliot Zuckerman. As part of this exhibition, Touchstones hosted a number of online discussions and panels featuring artists and members of the community

Beyond Curricular Expectations

By Greg Hodges The importance and value of collaborative, civic discourse has been pronounced in many of the organizations to which I have belonged. In this past year, one marked by changes and challenges, the conversations inspired by the Touchstones Discussion Project provided essential avenues for connection. Trinity College School (TCS) has benefited from a


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