Build Community with the Community
Day 1: Last period. My planning block. Our principal told me she does daily walks of the neighborhood and today was extra important because we changed the dismal time.
As my principal, the school policewoman, and I walked the neighborhood, a little boy ran over to us and said, "Hello, how you doing?" He wasn't talking to me.
He put his hand out to greet Officer Baker. With his little hand in hers he said, "I LOVE PO-LICE." There was so much conviction in his voice. A stern toddler. He was wearing a "Paw Patrol" tee shirt and in her eyes, I knew he could see his own dreams.
We also went into the nursing home and introduced ourselves to some of the elders. The guys at the corner store showed us love and respect. It was in this moment that I decided to spend my planning period going on the walk with them everyday this school year.
It's not often that teachers, who aren't from the neighborhood they teach in, actually engage with that neighborhood on a genuine level. With the height of charters and specialized schools, lottery systems make it so that we, as educators, are not even serving the children in the neighborhood that the school dwells. Our guidance counselors are doing work to improve that by recruiting students from the neighborhood elementary and middle schools but in the meantime, the visibility of my principal is beautiful.
This is how you
build a community
WITH the community.