Thursday, March 8, 2012

College starts here!

As I am perpetually trying to convince myself and all you lovely people that my job is actually pretty great, I have to talk about one of my major successes: the college wall that I, alone, made happen at Stanley Mosk Elementary School.

Most people know about my passion for education as the great equalizer - in an ideal world, anyway. In Camp Wildcat, I strove to balance those scales of inequity by addressing what I believed, at the time, to be a "culture of low expectations." Since beginning my work here, I've clarified and refined that point of view to exclude the assumption that parents "want" their children to poorly, or don't care about their academic performance, but rather that children are unaware of exactly how big they can dream. Even while in Camp Wildcat, I understood this point, but my job has helped me understand it better.

And so, to address the ignorance of the child, we wanted to create a college-going culture at base camp - elementary school - so that the kids could see just how big the world is, the possibilities for their future endless, unlike life in the six square blocks they currently know and love, which is, in fact, all they know and love.

I sent out 150 emails to universities and colleges from Maine to Alaska and the outpouring of support and generosity has been shocking and heartwarming. This picture portrays just one tiny snapshot of what we have received, and I am truly grateful for schools that understand that college should not just be accessible for the very rich, or the very white, or the very learned. It should be accessible for anyone who wants it.

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