Fighting Poverty with Passion
Greetings from Plessy!
When you guys last heard from me we here at Homer A. Plessy Community School were preparing for the first day of school. I have good news; it was a smashing success! A lot has happened in the first month of school. Here’s a quick rundown:
English Language Learners (ELL)
We were surprised to find out the high number of students who either did not speak English at all or did not speak English as their first language. Fifteen kids (out of 200) fit these criteria which presented a pressing need for some ELL support. We were lucky finding volunteers from many avenues to get us on the right track while we look for a permanent ELL teacher. Two Spanish interns from Tulane teach each class for 30-60 minutes on a weekly basis covering basic Spanish principles and vocabulary. They also provide much needed administrational support in the Spanish language, i.e make phone calls, write notes, and translate documents. In addition, a former Tulane ELL professor came in to help the teachers better accommodate the ELL students.
Reading Buddy Program
We kicked off the 3rd grade reading buddy program this month with 5 volunteers serving 6-10 students. Volunteers dedicate two hours a week to simply read with kids and help build confidence and comprehension. We hope to expand the program to all grades next semester!
Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN) Annual Convening
OPEN had their annual education convening last Saturday and I must say it was a blast. It was a great mix of fun, learning, and of course, networking. I represented Plessy, exhibiting on their behalf. The convening was all around very interesting. After an introduction by the OPEN staff, participants, myself included, gathered in small groups to tell “stories” about the educators that influenced them. I mentioned the great influence my grandparents had on me, particularly cultivating my interest in books, wildlife, and science. After that we moved onto the breakout sessions. Out of the five offered I chose the one discussing the Common Core, although it was hard to forgo the opportunity to see my fellow VISTA Tom Zolot speak on the School to Prison Pipeline. However, the Common Core session did not disappoint as I witnessed a parent give an incredibly passionate 10-minute impromptu speech decrying the divide between the educational bureaucracy and families in the United States. Overall, the convening was an experience that all parents and community members ought to have.
It’s been an exciting month so far! I’ll be sure to have more updates next time around.
Thanks for reading,