Yesterday we learned officially that Frederick Douglass High School will close within the next two years and maybe even next year. This decision came without input from students, their parents, teachers, or community members. In light of this news, we want to share an important essay by Vinnessia Shelbia, a 2007 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School. In “Who’s Holding the Gun?” she explains the difficulties of having to constantly search for a place to call home. Douglass High School has experienced similar never-ending change. A month before school started this year, we learned that the principal who had ...


Our SAC team shared this essay last night in one of the sessions of the College Composition and Communication Conference, at which our school-based writing community presented at five different conference events for college English professors from across the country. These professors listened closely and respectfully to the ideas and experiences of students, teachers, graduates, and parents of what used to be a local public school system. Unfortunately in post-Katrina New Orleans, the education leaders of our state-run Recovery School District have not listened well. The kind of community capacity building that Ashley Jones, one of our senior SAC staff ...


New Orleans has some new winter and spring rituals for public education. Starting in January, our streets are lined with signs advertising different charter schools. A month ago, a couple of local organizations sponsored a major school fair on a Saturday. Yard signs, email announcements, and flyers at schools abounded. But on the day of the fair, more school representatives than parents were in attendance. In fact attendance was so poor that the deadline for applying to schools was pushed back a few weeks. In the next few blogs, we will feature student writing on issues of school choice, neighborhood ...


This is the time of year when students begin to select courses for the next school year. Students at the Center classes have always been open to any student at the school. In some cases students choose our classes. In other cases, counselors simply place them in our classes for reasons we as teachers never know. Today’s blog features an essay by Nantrell Malveo, who will graduate this spring from Frederick Douglass High School. In the essay Nantrell explores how she found herself in a Students at the Center class and how her thinking about the class and the ...


Our students at both Douglass and McMain have read Toni Morrison’s Beloved this spring. Many of them are in the middle of working with some of our staff and graduates to develop a play that incorporates their writing about violence against women and their reading of Beloved. Hearing them talk about the writing they are doing calls to mind a writing that Brittany Philson, a 2007 graduate of Douglass and Students at the Center, completed last year when we were discussing Toni Morrison’s novel. Brittany’s essay, featured in today’s blog, represents another of the many ways ...


Today’s blog introduction is written by Jennifer Harden, an 11th grade student at McMain. Reading The Scarlet Letter Jennifer Harden “Wow!” The first thought that came in my mind when I heard my classmate Ayrion Miller’s essay about her mother and inspired by The Scarlet Letter. I’ve done lots of things after reading a book: journals, book reports, outlines and analysis papers, all the typical things you would do in an English class. I have never really heard things so personal relating to our topics in any class since I started school. I always thought literature was ...


In Students at the Center, we have long advocated that it’s not enough just to have quality teachers, rigorous curriculum, safe schools, and any other items on the list of strategies to improve education for the young people struggle with school. For the last twelve years, we have demonstrated through the students we teach in these most challenging schools that strategic additional resources are necessary. In our case, the major structural changes and funding resources we have brought to our small model include a) classes with a 15:1 student teacher ratio and/or an additional resource teacher in ...


Here is another essay in our series of student writings about parents. Dan Vy, a senior at McMain, is in our Advanced Placement English and creative writing classes. This essay is also part of a book entitled Men We Love, Men We Hate that SAC will publish soon. A Question Never Answered Dan Vy Tran How was your life back in Vietnam? That question was always on my mind every time I talked to my dad. Every moment he sat down to rest, I would be there, waiting to pop the question. But at my every attempt, he would always ...


Salisa came to visit us in class last week. She was scheduled to graduate from Douglass last year, but somehow the scheduling process and transcript transfers left her missing one required class. Many of our students in New Orleans have faced similar problems since the hurricane. From missing course transcripts and botched schedules to lost scores on the state’s graduation exam, these young people continue to be pounded by the aftermath of Katrina. Some of them give up. And some, like Salisa, persevere. It’s a skill she’s perfected. Last year she traveled from Algiers, on the west ...


Today Gabrielle Turner joined other SAC staff members in a featured presentation at the national convention of the Association of Teacher Educators. Gabrielle has been working as a student and staff member of SAC for over seven years, and she is planning to enroll in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Emory University next fall. In her comments to these university education professors, Gabrielle talked clearly about her decision to become a teacher—after receiving a college degree and numerous job opportunities in film and video production—as rooted in her commitment to social justice and educational equity ...


Advertisement

Recent Comments

  • Catherine: Today's entry is frightening. The contrast you present here is read more
  • Catherine: Dear Kirsten, This essay made me laugh. It's not often read more
  • catherine: Vinnessia, My students at Boston College read your essay and read more
  • Pat Langa: Uma analíse muito interessante, mesmo para quem olha a história read more
  • Lou Bernieri: Ashley Jones's essay and Jim Randels introduction detail the reprehensible read more

Archives

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here