Gabrielle Turner wrote the story featured in today’s blog in the summer of 2003 as part of an eight-week, eight-hour-a-day summer of work and training that Students at the Center produced for 30 young people: about 20 9th through 12th grade students at Douglass and 10 of our graduates from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain High Schools. In addition to holding our own writing workshops, training sessions, and video production work, the SAC students and staff taught young people at the Drew Elementary UrbanHeart Community Learning Center and at the Treme Community Center’s summer camp. Gabrielle had just ...


We were glad to hear from our good friend Jackie Royster today, in her comment on the “Finding Home at School” entry. Jackie and her colleagues at the Bread Loaf Graduate School of English have been great allies in our work. Jackie’s writings have also made an important contribution to our understanding of the theory and history of writing from critical and historical perspectives. Three years ago, our Advanced Placement English class at Douglass High School was offered in collaboration with an upper level English class at Tulane University. The students in Professor Rebecca Mark’s class traveled downtown ...


In June, 2007, 50 teachers from the three major types of public schools in post-Katrina New Orleans (the state-takeover Recovery District Schools, the local system’s New Orleans Public Schools, and charter schools) gathered for a weekend workshop on equity and collaboration in the new landscape of education in New Orleans. The conference was co-sponsored by United Teachers of New Orleans (AFT Local 527), Concerned Educators of New Orleans, and the National Coalition for Quality Education in New Orleans (NCQENO). Theresa Perry of Simmons College and NCQENO shared her research into “A Theory of Practice for African American School Achievement.” ...


Douglass High School was full of activity on MLK Day. Volunteers from across the city and nation organized by Hands On New Orleans, InterFaith Works, and the Frederick Douglass Community Coalition helped with projects such as painting, landscape, and courtyard renovation. Students at the Center provided a workshop on the history of social justice struggles in New Orleans from maroon colonies to the present. Over the last five years, SAC has been working with Crescent City Peace Alliance, an organization based in the neighborhood surrounding Douglass, to share this history through a park at the site where Homer Plessy was ...


Adriane Frazier, who has worked with Students at the Center as a high school student, college intern, and staff member, wrote this essay when she was a junior at McDonogh 35 in our SAC writing class. It is one of many essays by former students that we still study. We hope you appreciate it, as our current students do, on this Martin Luther King Day. Martin Luther King Jr.: Remember, Celebrate, Emulate Adriane Frazier I remember being in second grade at Patch Elementary in Stuttgart, Germany. Ms. Thompson began the class by explaining that it was Black History month. Clearing ...


One fear we have about public education in post-Katrina New Orleans is the over-reliance on simple solutions. Many of our policy makers have touted “school choice” as the primary approach that will make our schools better. The following essay by Kirsten Theodore, who is now a senior at Frederick Douglass High School, explores this question while offering a glimpse at public education in New Orleans before and after Katrina. It also continues the theme of returning to home and school that Janay Barconey and Tyeasha Green presented in our previous two entries. For Students the Center, one of our major ...


Yesterday in class when we talked about posting Tyeasha’s essay on this blog, some of the students suggested sending Kenneth’s essay on the same topic. Kenneth’s a senior at Douglass. He attended a different public high school in New Orleans before the storm. What’s Good Living in My Hood Kenneth Sip Ah man, my neighborhood was very fun, watching myself grow up with all my friends. While I was growing, there was nothing but trouble with my friends and me. Every day we were always doing stupid things like breaking people’s house window glass and ...


Today we feature a writing on the same theme of returning home to New Orleans after Katrina. This essay is by Tyeasha Green, who graduated from Douglass in June 2007. The story of Tyeasha’s graduation illustrates some of the struggles all students and schools have had in public education in the last two years. As Tyeasha’s essay indicates, she was radically displaced from the community she calls home. What her essay does not mention are the disruptions in her educational life. Like all of us who teach and learn in New Orleans, Tyeasha had to leave New Orleans ...


Welcome to the Students at the Center (SAC) blog, where teachers, students, graduates, and friends from our school-based writing and digital media program will reflect on our experiences in public education in New Orleans. We hope you not only learn from but also enjoy this perspective from our daily teaching and learning in classrooms in two different public schools in New Orleans. Our first selection is from Janay Barconey, who is currently a 12th grade student at McMain Secondary School, which she has attended since 7th grade, with the exception of Fall 2005 when the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina forced ...


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