The History of Touchstones Prison Programs

In the mid 1990’s, Touchstones was invited by a group of men serving life sentences at the Maryland House of Corrections to come and run a Touchstones program with them. Their goal was to humanize the prison environment and to prepare themselves and other incarcerated individuals for productive lives before and after their release.

Touchstones Spotlight on Shalini Jasti

Touchstones Spotlight on Shalini Jasti Interview by Brittany Usiak, K-12 and Adult Programs Manager This week, we’re shining the Touchstones Spotlight on Shalini Jasti, a middle school English Language Arts teacher based in New Jersey. Shalini used Exploring American Perspectives, a volume that draws entirely from works by  Black and African-American contributors, with 8th

Touchstones Spotlight on Stacy Pecha

Touchstones Spotlight on Stacy Pecha Interview by Brittany Usiak, K-12 and Adult Programs Manager   It's time for another Touchstones Spotlight! In this post, we're shining the spotlight on Stacy Pecha, a 7th grade teacher at Selkirk Middle School in Washington who uses Courage to Care, Building Community Through Service with her Debate and Public

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


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