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Learning Community

The Practices & Pedagogies of Transforming Pain into Power

This workshop series will provide opportunities to explore ideas and practice concrete skills that allow in-school and community educators to build culturally sustaining, trauma and resilience-informed, transformative writing courses and community programs. With each session modeled after the structure, curriculum, and instruction of his high school programs, Robinson will facilitate participants through an exploration of ideas and practices that have the power to: create safe classroom communities for students of all experiences and backgrounds; build and amplify student voice while creating space for students to impact their larger communities; take a trauma-informed and resilience-based approach to curriculum development and classroom management; create culturally sustaining units, projects, and after-school programs; facilitate writing workshops and project-based learning that allow for the collective construction of knowledge, student voice, and both individual and group expression. Each learning session will end with an opportunity for planning implementation, continuing dialogue, individual expression, and shared inquiry. 

2024 PLC Facilitated by Andy Joseph “A.J.” Robinson

Session 1, 5/7/24:

Modeling the creation of a warm, engaging, inclusive, and expressive learning environment with the foundations of trauma-informed practices and culturally sustaining pedagogies. 

Session 2, 5/14/24:

Exploring curricular development and culturally sustaining teaching through writing, music, poetry, and Ethnic Studies, especially their central role in past and present social movements including Black Lives Matter, Mni Wiconi, Protect Mauna Kea, and No Human Being is Illegal. 

Session 3, 5/21/24: 

Developing the relational, curricular, and structural tools for centering student voice and collective healing in standards-based classrooms. Understanding culturally sustaining pedagogy as not only maintaining cultural knowledges and practices but also sustaining the lives of the youth who enact those cultures.

Session 4, 5/28/24:

Participants will be led through an in-depth and flexible writing workshop process that is modeled on the workshops used both in academic courses and creative after-school programs to support youth in the generation of shared ideas and the creation of original writing. 

Session Summary 

Registration is open!

About the


Andy Robinson

Andy Joseph “A.J.” Robinson began teaching as a high school and college student, facilitating writing workshops with middle school students, foster youth, and marginalized communities across California. For the past 16 years, he has been a teacher at Title I public high schools in the Bay Area, creating and implementing primarily English/Language Arts & Performing Arts curricula, but also developing courses in Restorative Justice (as featured on the PBS Nova Documentary “School of the Future”), Ethnic Studies, Advisory, Film, and Media Arts.  He has directed, produced, and co-written seven full-length hip-hop and poetry-based plays with high school students and has been a guest teacher in courses at Stanford, San José State, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and San Francisco State.

Robinson’s work is designed to empower young people with the knowledge that their voices, passions, and cultures are valued and transformative; that no wounds are beyond healing with the power of art, expression, ancestry, and supportive communities; that youth have unparalleled agency in shaping their communities and the global society. The chapter of Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies: Teaching and Learning for Justice in a Changing World which includes research and analysis of the impact of Robinson’s work argues that in an educational environment that consistently alienates low-income youth of color, his classroom is “giving students a place to engage and belong.” (Alim & Paris, 2017, p. 130) More recently, his writing, curricula, and extracurricular programs were featured in the book Freedom Moves: Hip Hop Knowledges, Pedagogies, and Futures with his chapter “Hip Hop, Whiteness, & Critical Pedagogies in the Context of Black Lives Matter” (Alim, Chang, & Wong, 2023, p. 322). The focus of his current work is to impact schools, teacher education, and community arts spaces so more young people can experience the healing, communal, metamorphic power of culturally sustaining, trauma-informed writing and arts education.

Spring 2024


K-12 Teachers


Spring 2024: 5/7, 5/14, 5/21,  & 5/28

Time: 4:30 - 6:30PM


Zoom (Online)


$150 per unit (up to 3 units).


Spring 2024 PLC with Andy Joseph “A.J.” Robinson

Registration for Spring 2024 PLC
Now Open!

Powerful, Practical Professional Development for Writing Teachers K-12

Join our teacher-led Professional Learning Community (PLC) to extend your growth, self-reflection, and earn graduate college credit. Spring 2024 will be hosted by Andy Joseph “A.J.” Robinson

We invite all teachers from across the globe to participate in our Professional Learning Communities. As such, we will be holding our spring 2024 PLC series online. All educators have an option of enrolling for up to 3 units from San Jose State University for an additional $150 per unit (in-state or out-of-state), which will require additional written work on the application of ideas in the classroom.

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