Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From A Red Cape to Red Jackets: Meet the Stanton Elementary School Team

By Gabby Fish, corps member serving at Stanton Elementary School

A couple of days ago I was finally able to sit down and watch the renowned documentary “Waiting for Superman,” a film that puts a startling spotlight on the controversial issue of public education in our country. The film argues that we cannot wait around any longer for change to happen; a man in a red cape and blue tights is not flying down to every underserved community in the nation, raising students’ test scores and saving the future leaders of America from educational inequities. As Ghandi once said, “YOU must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

After working at DC Scholars: Stanton Elementary School, however, I have come to believe that even though a red cape will not suffice, a City Year team of red jackets can work wonders.

DC Scholars: Stanton Elementary School is not your average City Year experience. In the words of CYDC’s 2010-2011 Stanton Team, they see the school as “inimitable,” “evolving,” “energetic,” “captivating,” and in many ways “indescribable.”

In the 2010-2011 school year, Scholar Academies partnered with the school district of Washington, DC to take on the important work of turning around Stanton Elementary School. Stanton has, over the years, been facing severely low reading and math proficiency rates and therefore required a dramatic transformation this year.

Accordingly, Stanton is a public school with the adopted invigorating culture of a charter school. From hallways lined with college pennants to sing-along math and reading chants and daily school-wide rituals, Stanton exhibits a tremendous amount of purpose and pride.
When you factor in eight energetic City Year corps members, the school becomes an even more lively and vibrant place. Stanton constantly looks towards the future of their scholars, proudly chanting “C.O.L.L.E.G.E. College is the place for me!” The Stanton City Year Team not only reinforces these aspects of the DC Scholars culture, but that of City Year as well. Most importantly, however, the team overcomes significant challenges everyday, taking steps forward to improve student behavior one scholar at a time, to increase academic motivation, and to advance course performance. City Year’s strong presence at Stanton before, during, and after school makes the Stanton Team one that is greatly appreciated by the school’s students and teachers alike.
When asked to describe the Stanton Team in their own words, the corps members described the team as “incomparable,” “super-heroic,” “immaculate and dashing” one teammate joked, a team of “unified eclecticism” commented another. It turns out City Year’s Stanton Team isn’t so far from walking around like they’ve got an ‘S’ on their chests after all. Holler scholars!

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