This past week ends the first marking period of the school year and we went out with a bang. On Tuesday I invited a principal from a unique high school to come in and speak with our students. What makes this school so unique is, providing you stay on the right path, you could essentially complete your high school degree in three years rather than five (entrance is their eighth grade year). This is exciting for two different types of students: those who have failed one more times and/or those students who want out of the drama that their schooling has brought. The principal was a powerful speaker. He spoke to them about aspects of their own lives that were meaningful to them. He didn't sugarcoat the high school experience or what it would mean. He candidly brought up the roles of gang life and the importance of keeping that in the neighborhood and not in the school. He enticed them with powerful technology and dual enrollment. For many, he opened up doors that they thought were closed. For many, he inspired and gave them an olive branch.
Students were still talking about him at the end of the week. For seventh graders, this was impressive.
And, to celebrate the end of the nine weeks, we took our kids on a field trip. Nothing impressive and nothing that cost money...but something that they needed. We walked them a mile to the park for free time and a picnic lunch. Seriously. These students salivate at the other kids who get to have PE or another elective. Since most are in double block reading, they don't get any "free time". Having a full day off from school responsibilities to play on the courts or jungle gym allowed them to be kids again and forget how far behind they have gotten.
This has been such an amazing experience so far and I'm thrilled that the at-risk team is working. Our students will be on honor roll lists, something they've never experienced. I've heard a handful of times already, "Miss, I can't believe it's the end of the nine weeks and I haven't gotten a referral." Sometimes kids just need to know that they have a clean slate. We didn't hold last year's experience over their head and they've proven themselves. It makes me proud.
But seriously. You guys! Can I just tell you that there was a moment when we were walking all one hundred students to the park that I thought to myself geezus what in the world are you doing?!? Lolz. It must have been a sight.
This coming week will be an easy one, sorta. Three day work week and then I'm heading for some pre-op appointments.(1) The following week will be short as well. Here's hoping to getting lots of reading done.
(1) I'm having minor surgery and will be housebound for a few days.