“One thing that I realized [from our lobbying trip to Albany] is that students at MCS are really lucky because the teachers here prepare us to be eloquent so that when we step into the same room as an elected official we don’t feel like we’re below them… we’re prepared to speak to them like they are normal people… in a respectful manner.” – Samori, 7th grade
“It felt scary the first time [I lobbied a representative], but then it felt fun telling people what we believed. I also felt proud to represent MCS and share my knowledge.” – Savannah
“When we marched into the big room at the end of the rally if felt awesome. The marching band was playing loudly and there were so many people coming in and they were mostly young people like us. Being a part of that felt like being a real activist!” -Mia
“The rally was exciting. There were lots of speakers who told stories about how the conditions at their school just kept getting worse.” – Pilar
“My favorite part was listening to the young African American man who sang about education. I strongly agreed with what he said and I loved his voice.” –Morgan
“They made me look at education from a different perspective.” - Savannah
With Daniel O'Donnell outside the Assembly
“The moment that sticks out the most to me is getting to lobby my Assemblyman, Daniel O’Donnell. He called me a good politician and I got to tell him that I would like to be the Secretary of State.” - Zuri
“It felt very fun and important to try to convince the representatives to vote for $1.9 billion dollars in additional education funding.” – Willa
with Liz Krueger's staff
School Push Out
The Advancement Project put together this funny but interesting set of resources.
Check out the video with guest appearances from the Fresh Prince and Saved by the Bell.
The link below brings in some hilarious memes and GIFs to show what is wrong with our current school discipline system.
School To Prison Pipeline Memes
On the 28th of February, a few 5th floor students (Leilani, Daniel and Naomi) took a trip to the James Baldwin high school to a meeting of teachers and one other student, who were discussing how to fix problems between students without resorting to suspensions and expulsions. We sat in a circle and said our names, the schools or organizations we were from, and strengths and challenges in our schools. Then we proposed topics for small group discussions. A group that I suggested discussed how people often deal with situations differently based on the teen’s race or gender. We found out that a few public schools in the city have meetings between students who have conflict called fairness circles. There is usually another student mediating these fairness circles and they try to get the students to talk their problems out. We learned about the importance of communication and respect between students and teachers. At the end, all of us went around in a circle again and talked about what we learned from this meeting. Leilani gained an interest in the “core values” that many schools have throughout the city such as respect and honesty. Daniel said that he hadn’t realized how much teachers worked with each other and got together after class to figure out how to solve problems. I learned a lot about how other schools in New York work and deal with conflict between students and I noticed how lucky we are at MCS to have so much trust given to us by teachers and how we get the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.