Earlier this school year I listened to This American Life’s podcast about the resilience of Harper High School students and teachers despite losing 29 students to gun violence over the course of a year. 29 students dead. No national news coverage. Names forgotten. Death toll rising in that Chicago neighborhood as we speak.
Listening to students speaking pretty transparently about gang culture and community life, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between my students and those interviewed by Alex Kotlowitz. I kept thinking, “That sucks, but at least our community isn’t that bad.”
Fast forward 6 months, I get frightening email from a colleague. Funeral arrangements for a former student shot and killed last weekend. He left behind a young daughter, friends, and family. This is heartbreaking.
I’m assuming many of my students will be pretty torn up about this at the start of the school year.
-Ways to help students cope with grief
-Ways to empower students to make safe choices
-Ways to integrate visual arts to understand the culture of our community
-Action plan for combating violence (?)
– Update science curriculum with Common Core Standards and Next Generation Standards