We went to New Orleans for a retreat. We learned more "best practices" for the classroom and got to visit two charter schools. Here are some highlights from the trip:
New Orleans College Prep (Middle School):
-- 150 students reading quietly while eating breakfast in the morning.
-- "Sweat the Small Stuff"
-- 100% and if not, do it again.
-- "Not complicated, but hard"
-- "When doing gap closing education every second counts."
-- "Effective Teachers have to have a complete and total belief that all kids can learn"
One of the bulletin boards at Akili was a worksheet the kids did. It said I have a dream. My dreams is.... I can help my dream come true by..... Here are some of the responses:
--- I have a dream. My dream is "I want everybody to share" I can help my dream come true by "talking to them."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "My dream in my family never lose their job." I can help my dream come true by "being the best student."
--- I have a dream. My dream is "to be mayor." I can help my dream come true by "get an educason"
--- I have a dream. My dream is "in my dream I want no betty shooting." I can help my dream come true by "taking the guns away from mens."
The last one got me. It inspired me to share these with you. Both of these schools are providing their kids with the best education. They firmly believe that every kid goes to college. It's up to the kids and their mamas to decide if they are going to go, but they will have the opportunity by golly.
It was at Akili I saw 2nd grades doing collaborative work. They were fully engaged in the writing process and were having their stories peer reviewed. I have a 12th grader that can hardly read. Memphis needs people like those at Akili.