Like all public high schools in New York City, my school is operating remotely. Overall, it’s going well, yet it’s also easy for students to disappear.
To find these students, I’ve started to do home visits with my assistant principal Yan. We look up the addresses, create a route, and set off on our journey. We usually don’t announce our visits.
Such was the case with Xavier.* As he was new to our school this year, I had never met him in person, and we didn’t even have a photo of him. Xavier had done a few assignments in September and October, but had since drifted away, completing nothing and never coming to online classes. When we called his mother, she seemed confused: “He’s on the computer all day!”
We arrived at Xavier’s apartment on a sunny Friday afternoon, crunching through a layer of snow on the sidewalk. We hit the buzzer until a neighbor let us in. Continue reading
The New Zealand mosque shooting had particular resonance for my students. My school is for newcomer immigrant English Language Learners and many of our students are Muslim. The day after the shooting, a girl who is not Muslim came in with a poster she had made on her own stating “We stand with our Muslim neighbors.” It was the first of several events last week that showed me a new level of leadership among my students.
Our school is housed in a building with five other public high schools. Students from one of the others schools decided to organize a student walkout on Friday in response to the New Zealand shooting to protest hate crimes, gun violence, and show support for the victims. It would be peaceful, no longer than 40 minutes, and take place on the athletic field. Students from our campus had participated in last year’s walkout around the Parkland school shooting, and it had been safe and organized. All seemed fine.
On Tuesday, my assistant principal called me: “Julie, did you know that our students were planning on walking out tomorrow– Wednesday, not Friday? Apparently there’s a big thing on social media. Continue reading