This week, I had the privilege to visit the
A school-wide meeting run by students began with accolades for quality work and character, followed by a time where students took responsibility for various violations to the community. Then, the school director, Michael Johnston, gave an update about where the school stands in its college transition goal.
Next came a powerful ritual where the first three seniors to get accepted to college announced their school, scholarship amounts, walked through a line of kids, climbed a rickety ladder and signed the newly designed 08 college panel. When they finished, Michael reminded students that they would all do this over the next six months.
There are a few other schools that have either met the 100 % college acceptance goal or will this school year (Arrupe Jesuit, Delores Huerta Charter and Denver School of Science and Technology Charter). MESA like all of the other high-performing schools serving high percentages of low income kids, has a strong leader, a coherent school design and adults wholly committed to getting all kids prepared for success post high school.
These schools practice what they preach and are very different than the typical large impersonal factory high schools we find in most places.
Arrupes first graduating class in June broke the ceiling. It looks like at least three other public schools will join Arrupe in proving that it is possible to make high school work for poor and minority kids.
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