Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Urban Prep - We Believe.

100 percent of school's first class college-bound
CHICAGO — For each boy, the new school offered an escape and a chance at a life that seemed beyond reach.
Krishaun Branch was getting D's, smoking reefer a lot, skipping school twice a week. His mother was too busy working to know what he was doing. He liked to fight and hang out in the streets; having relatives in gangs was his armor.

This is the beginning of an AP story I just read about a high school, started on Chicago's south side four years ago, with their first graduating class--ALL young men are heading to college.
Given the reality that only 1 in 40 African American males will finish college, Urban Prep having a goal to send 100% of their students off to college seemed far-fetched.
But when you have a vision, like the founder of Urban Prep, Tim King does, anything is possible.
As I watched the video of these young men, describing where they came from, what their mindset was, and then their transformation over the last four years, I am inspired.
It's a mini-lesson in success, including:
*the effect of positive self-talk
*the importance of dress
*the power of association
*the result of perseverance

Who knows what the future holds for these men? They may not all graduate college. Or they may not all be able to find their dream career afterwards. But I do know that they are different people, equipped with a different way of thinking, than who they would be without these experiences over the last four years.

Experiences of:
*being shown another way to live
*having a purpose, a goal, a target
*working hard and not taking anything for granted
*belonging, having a sense of community
*being valued, loved, and encouraged
*having others believe in them
and finally,
*believing in themselves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homework? Isn't That Like Bringing Work Home From The Office?

It's summertime and the kids in school are excited that they have a few months of freedom from homework.

My kids don't know what homework, in the traditional sense of the word, is.

What do the kids in school do for seven hours a day, that prevents them from getting all their work done?

Just as I don't think consistently bringing work home from the office is healthy for an individual, nor a family; I don't think bringing work home from school is healthy for an individual, nor a family.

Why is homework an acceptable practice? And what kind of pattern, habits, attitudes, is it teaching our future adults?