Jamaal Bowman is the founding principal of Cornerstone Academy for Social Action Middle School and has worked as an educator for over 15 years. He is also a proud father to three children: Jelani - 17, Marcel - 9, and Maya - 5.
Jamaal was trained to be a school leader by New Leaders for New Schools in 2008. New Leaders is a national principal recruitment and training program, which admits less than 7% of applicants. During his time with New Leaders, Jamaal's principal residency took place at Achievement First Endeavor Charter School in Brooklyn New York, and he participated in seminars and visits to exemplary middle schools in New York and throughout the country.
Prior to joining New Leaders in 2008, Jamaal served as a guidance counselor, teacher, and dean of students at The High School of Art and Technology at the Martin Luther King Jr. Campus. Before working at M.L.K., Jamaal began his career as an elementary school teacher at P.S. 90 in the Bronx for 5 years.
You can read Mr. Bowman's vision for education in the following places:
"I believe that public schools can help solve society’s biggest challenges like addiction, poverty, and mass incarceration. Let us align what the research says with the common sense that all parents posses. Every parent knows that children are natural learners, artists, explorers, and innovators. Why not create a school system designed for ingenuity, which creates the space for all children to thrive? Let us also create the space for schools to work collaboratively with community stakeholders to meet the needs of all families."
"Public school high stakes standardized testing is a form of modern day slavery, and is designed to continue the proliferation of inequality in our society...A democracy only works if there are people and systems in place that support our most vulnerable toward upward mobility. Let’s invest in “wraparound” services to support the needs of all children. Let’s align our resources and design our communities to provide “conception to career” supports. Let’s implement joy and a love of learning into our curriculum and pedagogy, so that we may have a society of happy and healthy adults. Let’s create stimulating learning spaces that support students in finding their passions. If we do, together we can reach our democratic ideals."
"Numerous research, including the work of Howard Gardner and Sir Ken Robinson, show that state exams only measure a narrow view of intelligence. Because of this, it is even more damaging when schools align their curriculum and pedagogy to the narrow focus of the state exams, while simultaneously ignoring the innate curiosity of children and the 21st century skills needed to thrive in our current economy. The state exams do not measure creativity, verbal communication, real world problem solving, spatial intelligence, collaboration, initiative, or adaptability among others competencies. Only schools can do that. The intuitive brilliance of students is ignored by state exams and I would argue that it is exactly intuitive brilliance of students that is widely needed to rescue our economy and humanity from the damage of old mindsets and policies that continue to facilitate inequality and despair."
"Let 'Em Play" by Jamaal Bowman
"Have we forgotten how play facilitates joy and how joy drives a love of life? The more we play, the less we are stressed, the less anxiety we feel, the more anger dissipates, the less crimes are committed. Imagine a school system is which play and sports were at the center? Or at the very least a part of a holistic approach to public education? Special Ed referrals would go down as would diagnoses for ADHD and depression. I argue that the school to prison pipeline, and the disproportionate number of boys placed in Special Ed and diagnosed with ADHD would cease to exist if movement and play were a pillar of our curriculum. As Dan Pink states, play passion and purpose will drive the 21st century economy. Why should public school students be left behind?"