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My students need to be introduced to books that will engage them but also validate and affirm their lived experiences.
My students have a lot to offer the world outside of the traditional academic setting. They have critical minds and are willing to engage in difficult conversations on a regular basis. Many of my students have life experiences that serve as a testament to their strength in times of difficulty. At the same time, my students feel very deeply and desperately want to be involved in caring communities that will foster their personal and academic growth. I have noticed that in spite of the fact that a vast majority of my students live in poverty, many are willing to give all they have for others. They are creative, talented and deserve the highest quality education.
The students range in age from 10th-12th graders, in an urban high school.
Our city, and neighborhood specifically, have been hit hard by the disinvestment in urban areas that is all too common nationwide. In order to regain the trust of our students and the community, our school is committed to the implementation of restorative and culturally responsive practices. My hope is that this project will help to develop leaders capable of revitalizing our school and community as whole.
My Restorative Practices class will be reading, "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir" by Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the three co-founders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. As we read the book, we will have discussions regarding justice, punishment, forgiveness and redemption. At the heart of the RP class is an understanding of the importance of developing trust, building relationships and nurturing a healthy, supportive community inside our classroom. It is this kind of classroom that will empower our scholars to examine the systems' impact on our community and communities across the globe.
James Baldwin said that, "the paradox of education is precisely this--that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." Our kings and queens are eager to be engaged in discussions that have a connection to their lived experience.
They have strong opinions and it is their advice that is most likely to move us in the direction we need to be going as a school community.
In a study conducted by John Pawasarat and Lois M Quinn of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from "1990-2012, 26,222 black men from Milwaukee County alone had been incarcerated—which means that more than half of all African-American men in their thirties and early forties in Milwaukee County have at some point been incarcerated in state correctional facilities." It is my hope this year that a group of student leaders will emerge who are able to help our school transition from a very punitive discipline model to a more restorative discipline model that holds our young people highly accountable, while also offering high levels of support. By interrupting the school to prison pipeline, we can dramatically change the future for our young kings and queens.
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|When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir • Amazon Business||$13.74||30||$412.20|
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