It has been almost 10 years since I became a teacher. I didn’t have many expectations when I began. All I knew was that I wanted to provide the tools students needed to change their life because education had done just that for me.
A poor black girl from inner-city Chicago, I was bused to a gifted center from 3rd grade to 8th grade, where I was one of seven black kids in the entire grade. It was there I learned what I needed to excel, not just in the classroom but in life. Even though we were in a gifted school with students from all over Chicago, we still took the state tests. I recall those being the worst days of the school year.
Crosstown High School is a charter school in Memphis that was designed to be diverse in race, socioeconomics and academic achievement. The school hopes to better represent the area and teach students how to relate to one another.
It’s less than a week away from school starting and according to SCS officials and floating news reports, there are a whopping 20,000 children who still have not registered for school.
Some schools started as early as last Wednesday, a few started on this past Wednesday, and Shelby County Schools officially went back on Monday,August 6, 2018.
Even with very rigorous and intentional pre-registration efforts by the district, the number of non-registered students is still astronomically high, though not surprising.
It’s true that our perceptions are a collection of experiences lived through our concepts of reality. What we “see” can vary from person to person, even in the same family. Perception is the reason why two siblings can have the same parents but have very different experiences. Perceptions are also the lenses in which we see others and how we treat them. Saying that, I wrote a short letter to white teachers who work in “the hood”.
Memphis students are registering for school in greater numbers this school year than they did last year. Outreach efforts to parents are paying off tremendously.
Towards the end of the school year, I received an anonymous note from one of my students. However, the identity of the student was easily recognizable by the handwriting.
M, the student from whom the note was written, was one of my top students. She is not only naturally intelligent but hardworking, passionate and meticulously organized. If I missed a beat in my lesson, she was right there to help me fill in whatever sentence I was stumbling over. Which is why I was surprised by what she wrote.
Fifteen people are vying for four seats on the Shelby County Schools board this year. That’s much higher stakes compared to two years ago when five seats were up for election with only one contested race.
In school, Ginny Terrell was that kid. You know, the one that was called stupid. The one no one thought would achieve much. That was Ginny.
On Monday, July 9, 2018, a group of Memphis parents, educators, and education advocates gathered with Stand for Children to discuss the need to rethink school discipline policies to focus on student needs. The driving question posed was, “What skills do students in Memphis need to access the lives they deserve?” The goal was to focus on identifying not only the skills students need to have, but the skills we, as adults, need to internalize that will allow us to be proactive about student discipline. The idea is to achieve this by focusing on assets rather than on punitive measures and behaviors.
Being a mother of a Black pre-teen is more than a notion. In wanting to validate the greatness within my daughter, and even in others, I have often said the phrase “Black Girl Magic.”