The Class of 2018 is College Bound
Education takes commitment. Communities, students, family members, and teachers must come together. At Southern Connecticut State University we coalesce around the class of 2018. Gear Up New Haven, #GearUpNH.
As a digitally networked scholar I look for projects that require my teaching, creative activity, and service come together.
I am the literacy coordinator for the New Haven Alliance of GEAR Up. The State of Connecticut was awarded a seven year grant to increase the high school graduation rates. At #GearUpNH we provide programs to our current 10th grade scholars in New Haven Public Schools. For the last three years I have received three credits to support the work of Gear Up.
As part of my responsibilities I recruit, hire, and train our mentors. These Southern Connecticut State University that will tutor students in the school. To date we have hired over 60 mentors and currently have over 20 working in New Haven Public Schools.
Each year I plan institutes to train the new mentors. Then I provide direct support. In our first year we began in a few middle schools. I would observe mentors and give feedback on how they could improve their tutoring.
Now the students have joined new schools across the city. I worked closely with the students and teachers at High School in the Community last year. Each week we sponsored two days of tutoring and mentoring.
I also help to plan and help run the Summer Academy. Last year we had over 70 students attend a four week academic focused camp. I worked with the team to higher teachers and plan the schedule.
Each year I write the curriculum for the technology class and the English class.
The English classrooms in 8th and 9th grade were narrative driven. Students read, annotated, and discussed Walter Dean Myers Handbook for Boys and then the novel Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis.
We studied the poetry of Natasha Tretheway and students then wrote documentary poetry about “forgotten voices” such as soldiers in the civil war.
In the technology class we focused on exploring our agency through the use of digital mediums. Students made six word memoirs by defining what the word success meant to them. We designed videos to document our learning journey.
This past year I decided to combine the technology and the English teacher into one roll and concentrate on argumentative writing. I can use computers and teach students to write as rhetorical masters with paper and pen but I can not prepare them for pixel based discourse with paper alone.
This year I combined the grade level expectations of the Common Core State Standards with Mozilla Learning Network tools and curriculum. The resulting learning activities lead to many projects which can be found on our classroom stream.
I also spearhead the social media side of #GearUpNH. This involved filming a student produced play, having students remix 6-word memoirs, creating end of the year memory videos, and showcasing the photo projects of the students.
Gear Up is the most important teaching activity I have at SCSU. It embodies the ideas and values of connected learning. We want to change lives.
So many of our Gear Up students do not have family that have graduated from higher education. We hope to use education as the tool to break poverty cycle. Simply put GearUp is education reform that works. We have made a commitment to the arts and try to meld the art worlds and the digital worlds.
In fact I learn more than the young scholars I work with. Take our production of the student written play, “Faults of our Hood.” i had to create and edit a video. This meant I had to learn video editing. I was given a copy of Premier Pro, two cameras with four separate takes each (filmed poorly by me) and asked to make a movie. It was fun. Never working with advanced editing tools before and haveing so many different clips to slice made for some challenges. The kids, however, still stole the show.
Currently three out of ten NHPS students will not graduate high school and SCSU only draws a hundred students from NHPS for each first year class.
We need to change this.
NHPS is a partner for the School of Education and if we can work together we can ensure students have the opportunity and agency to better their world and community.
The students perform drama and dance routines during the Sum-
mer Academy demonstrated the power of and importance of agency and identity in learning.