DEVENS -- On Thursday, Nov. 8, noted researcher Kathleen Cushman will speak about her current work -- student motivation and mastery -- at Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School. Cushman's presentation will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. and will include an opportunity for dialogue with the audience. Parents, students, teachers and community members are invited to attend. The school is at 49 Antietam St.

Cushman is an educator and writer who has specialized in the lives and learning of youth for more than two decades. In 2001, she co-founded What Kids Can Do (WKCD) with Barbara Cervone. Her work there has resulted in nine book collaborations with students, most recently "Fires in the Mind: What Kids Can Tell Us About Motivation and Mastery" (Jossey-Bass, 2010). On a WKCD blog of the same name, she facilitates a national conversation about adolescent motivation and mastery, and she regularly consults and presents on that topic to groups of educators around the country.

Cushman's other books with WKCD youth include "Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students" (New Press, 2003) and its two sequels, "Fires in the Middle School Bathroom" (co-authored with Laura Rogers, Ed.D., New Press, 2008) and "Sent to the Principal" (Next Generation Press, 2005, 2006). She is also author of the two-volume "First in the Family: Advice about College from First-Generation Students" (Next Generation Press, 2007, 2008) and of "The Schools We Need: Creating Small High Schools that Work for Us" (WKCD, 2003).


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From 1988 to 2001, Cushman wrote and edited the journal "Horace," which was published in five volumes as "The Collected Horace: Theory and Practice in Essential Schools" (CES, 1999). She also was writer and editor of Challenge Journal (1996-2000), following schools involved in the Annenberg Challenge nationwide. She has been guest editor of the Harvard Education Letter (1992) and of the Michigan State University publication Changing Minds (1994). With Adria Steinberg and Robert Riordan, she is co-author of "Schooling and the Real World" (Jossey-Bass, 2000). With William S. Pollack, she is co-author of "The Real Boys Workbook" (Random House, 2001). Her articles about education have appeared in Educational Leadership, Principal, Phi Delta Kappan, and many other magazines.

In 1995, with Ted and Nancy Sizer and other citizens, parents and teachers, Cushman helped found the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School. From 2004 to 2008, Cushman served on the National Executive Board of the Coalition of Essential Schools.