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This interview was conducted on November 23, 2020 remotely via Zoom. Alanna Navitski is the director of a small, experimental early childhood school called Catskill Wheelhouse, in Green County, NY. In this interview, Alanna explains how, as a small, private program in the Catskills, they have adapted to COVID-19 by moving most of the schooling outside. Alanna shares that the hours and the confidence of being able to plan had still changed significantly, which affected teachers' sense of certainty and reduced school to roughly 3 hours per day due to licensing considerations during COVID-19. Alanna repeatedly asked why it is so hard to move a system, citing examples of the stress and strain of moving all teaching and standards from a classroom to online, instead of shifting the whole idea of education at this time. She named a number of different ideas and projects under way where the Catskill Wheelhouse program will intersect with food security, farming, mutual aid and other community initiatives happening around the area. Throughout this interview, Alanna comes back to how difficult it is for educators making minimum wage to have no job security or predictability right now. Alanna also shares about how families began asking who else was in their kids' class (children of essential workers etc.) and how they had to make decisions about lines of privacy they would cross to inform concerned families. While the fall felt relatively 'normal', Alanna says that winter feels like spring 2020 all over again in terms of the uncertainty and chaos of so many unknowns in terms of resources and scheduling.
Anna Levy is a researcher, strategic analyst, educator and oral historian. Most of her work is at the intersection of accountability politics, structural inequality, historical and collective memory, and the role of civilian movements in economic and political transitions. She uses mixed research methods to map out the pressures and incentives guiding complex systems--including the political economy of organizations or cities in crisis, militarized border bureaucracies, or the shifting legal and digital frontlines of collective civic action, among others. Anna uses oral history to bring out the multiple, intersecting experiences that make up the day-to-day of those systems in order to help inform advocacy, policy and power shifts. She teaches on emergency and disaster politics at Fordham University and is an avid capoeirista. Her website is | Jafsadi.works.
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This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.