Lessons in Adolescence Podcast

Join us in exploring the many facets of adolescence from the adverse, to the awkward, to the awesome! Host Jason Cascarino and his guests, including educators, researchers, developmental scientists, thought leaders, and other caring adults, tell us why middle school can and should be awesome.

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Early adolescence is an extraordinary opportunity for long-lasting, positive learning and development, if approached at the right time and in the right way. The great challenge is making sure the middle school experience is in sync with the needs and interests of the middle schoolers who attend them. Lessons in Adolescence offers actionable insights about young adolescent learning and development from in-school and out-of-school educators, researchers and developmental scientists, thought leaders, and other caring adults. Each episode focuses on a specific, timely and relevant topic, encouraging listeners to better understand the developmental needs of young adolescents and unleash the full potential of the middle school years.

The Lesson in Adolescence podcast is a production of Remaking Middle School, an initiative that seeks to transform the learning and development experience for young adolescents in the middle school years. Remaking Middle School brings together good educational practice (in-school and out of school) with the latest developmental science. You can learn about Remaking Middle School at www.remakingmiddleschool.org or through the founding partner organizations, the University of Virginia’s Youth-Nex Center website or on Twitter @Youth_Nex, and the Association for Middle Level Education website or on Twitter @AMLE.

Lessons in Adolescence is hosted by Jason Cascarino, strategic advisor and consultant to the Remaking Middle School founding partners. The podcast is produced by Abby Gillespie and Jason Cascarino.

Lessons in Adolescence Podcasts

  • Episode 1: Lessons with Dr. Joanna Lee Williams

    This episode features a conversation with Joanna Lee Williams, associate professor at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. 

    Joanna and Jason cover how young adolescents are impacted by bias-motivated violence, why media surrounding events like Charlottesville amplify this type of violence, and how these events have a cumulative effect on young people, especially young people of color, in their formative years. 

    Professor Williams recently served on the academic committee to develop the Promise of Adolescence, a report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Math. She also recently released some of her own research on the reaction of young adolescents to the 2017 Unite the Right white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and what it may tell us about engaging middle schoolers in conversations about race. 

    Additional Readings and Resources

    From Apathy To Vigilance: Middle School Students' Reactions To The 2017 Unite The Right Rally,” a presentation by Joanna Lee Williams, Ph.D., with co-authors Haley Johnson, Lauren Mims, Kimalee Dickerson, Andrea Negrete, & Miray Seward for the Center for Race and Public Education in the South, March 5, 2019.

    The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Students, National Academies of Science, Engineering and Math, 2019.

  • Episode 2

    This second podcast will be available soon.

The Remaking Middle School initiative is an emerging partnership working to build and steward a new collective effort for young adolescent learning and development. Founding partners include the University of Virginia Youth-Nex Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), the Altria Group, and the New York Life Foundation. We are seeking to ignite conversation, action, and a movement to re-envision and remake the middle school experience in a way that recognizes the strengths of young adolescents and ensures all students thrive and grow from their experiences in the middle grades.