Nov 14, 2017
Can schools ever fully fill the gaps in students’ life experiences that often keep them from succeeding in school? Two reporters, Education Week’s Kavitha Cardoza and Cory Turner of NPR, spent hundreds of hours at Ron Brown College Prep, a new boys-only public high school in Washington, D.C. that primarily serves students of color. The school’s mission is “educating and developing the entire young man,” combining rigorous academics with instruction that is also culturally responsive and attuned to students’ social and emotional needs.
But as Cardoza and Turner detail in a new, three-part documentary for the “Code Switch” podcast, the best intentions of the fledgling school’s teachers and administrators often clashed with real world realities. How is the school’s “restorative justice” approach to discipline playing out? Should this new school be judged a success if students show big gains in reading and math skills, even if the majority still finish the year below grade-level expectations? And what did Cardoza and Turner learn about building trust with students, families, and staff over the course of the academic year?