By John De La Cruz, Principal, George I. Sanchez Charter School
(This was first posted to the Latino School Leaders Blog, an NCLR Project)
I don’t know if there has ever been a time when public schools only had to concern themselves with teaching and learning academic content but I can say with certainty that now is definitely not that time. At my inner city charter school everyday brings new challenges that have nothing to do with academic content.
If you were a principal at my school, a typical day on for you might look something like this: You start the morning dealing with some high school students who were brought in reeking of the marijuana they smoked on their way to school that morning. Shortly thereafter you deal with some middle-school students who were bullying each other because of something that was posted to Facebook. Just as that is resolved, you are made aware that the young lady from yesterday’s bullying incident is having a crisis and has indicated to staff that she is contemplating suicide. While addressing this issue, it is brought to your attention that a pregnant girl in 10th grade is possibly experiencing contractions and needs medical attention. Efforts to reach any of the parents or family members of any the students involved in these incidents have not been met with success. Phone numbers that were provided to the school are no longer active or are answered by the wrong party. Therefore, the responsibility of what to do with those students falls squarely on your shoulders.
By Liany Elba Arroyo, Associate Director, Education and Children’s Policy Project, NCLR
As the parent of a 19-month-old daughter, I often find myself thinking now about the things I can do to make sure she will excel in school, graduate high school on time, and enroll in college. I spend the time I have with her during my commute between Washington, DC and Maryland practicing the alphabet, counting to ten, and singing songs. I read to her and play games that boost her brain development and help her develop preliteracy skills.
Because of my education, I am giving her the best shot I can at guaranteeing her own educational achievement. Yet I succeeded without experiencing many of these supports. What made the difference? One thing I vividly remember from my childhood is the emphasis that my mother and grandmother placed on getting me to school every day. As it turns out, they were on to something.