GOOD

Marginalized Students Deserve Better. Here’s How We Give Them Just That.

Some students don't get a fair shake. Isn't it time we changed that?

By Cameron Glover

In Los Angeles, there’s a growing desire to reconnect “disconnected” students — those whose life circumstances present barriers to keeping up with the demands of schoolwork — so they can earn their high school diplomas. The challenge is a big one: 111,000 students in the L.A. public school system must navigate the complexities of homelessness, incarceration, and the foster care system on top of their tasks as students.


It’s easy for them to fall through the cracks of an education system that fails to adequately devote time, assistance, and resources to its most marginalized students. This gap in access only results in higher rates of disconnection and increased dropout rates. So when Da Vinci RISE High founding principal Kari Croft saw these challenges, she was determined to find a solution.

That solution was creating a successful pilot program called Da Vinci FLEX. Though the South Central Los Angeles school has only been open since August 2017, RISE is already making vast strides in centering disconnected students in the classroom and giving them the education they deserve.

When Croft taught high school English in California and South Carolina, she witnessed firsthand the ways her students were negatively affected by not having the support they needed to deal with issues beyond the classroom, even despite the drastically different environments of the schools. Each school she worked at tended to focus solely on certain marginalizations like race and class, leaving out so many other forms of marginalizations — like homelessness and probation — that kept students from becoming truly immersed into their education.

But rather than seeing this as a challenge, Croft used it as an opportunity to better serve her students by focusing the needs of her students within RISE’s curriculum.

RISE tackles these issues and challenges head-on in a thoughtful, innovative way. In accordance with the school’s mission, faculty members customize schedules and course offerings to what the students need to succeed in college. Students can utilize extended hours, flexible scheduling, and access to personalized technology to complete their academic work. Because of this, the success of marginalized students’ education isn’t as reliant on physical attendance or traditional test-taking as it would be in other schools, and that’s an important step in the right direction.

What’s more, these innovations at RISE illustrate the most important lesson: reimagining the options students have for engagement and accounting for their circumstances outside of school rather than forcing them to into a system that wasn’t made for them in the first place. This greatly increases their potential for success.

Part of creating a truly supportive, student-first environment also means continually educating faculty and staff members on issues that affect their pupils. At RISE, this means that everyone takes mandatory courses on trauma and restorative justice because many of their students have experienced trauma at some point in their life. The people running the school hope these courses help to create a positive learning environment both in and outside of the classroom.

Though it’s too soon to predict the long-term success of this model, other schools could learn from the school’s dedication to centering the needs of students who aren’t given the chance and assistance they need to succeed in our traditional education system.

So what’s next for Da Vinci RISE?

The school is already looking forward to improving and serving its community through the feedback it has received from the first quarter of operation. School administrators know that fully thought-through institutional support is of the utmost importance when it comes to students excelling in school — and beyond.

Education


September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

It's fun to go to a party, talk to strangers, and try to guess where they're from just by their accents and use of language. It's called 'soda' on the East Coast and 'pop' in the Midwest, right? Well, it looks like a new study has been able to determine where a Humpback whale has been and who he's been hanging out with during his awesome travels just from his song.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test