On Monday, June 15, Next Jump visited the Martin Van Buren High School for the second time. The goal of this visit was to engage the parents and the students and learn more about their struggles.
Our team met with about 40 parents, students, and faculty. Donna gave an introduction to Next Jump and Peter gave a presentation on Next Jump’s cultural creation programs highlighting our PEMS philosophy.
Our general impression was that nobody in the room seemed to have been asked the question “what do you need” before. They all have had a hard life and as they began to realize we were coming there only to help, their faces started to light up. We broke out with the audience in a session of what’s working & what’s not working. We found each group needed something different:
- Students need 1 on 1 tutoring (or small group tutoring)
- Teachers need reward and recognition programs to incentivize good behavior / good teachers
- Parents need skills classes – English as second language at the forefront
A few other common themes among the parents:
- Mentoring in the context of bullying (emotional training and support)
- Accelerated tutoring for those children who are left behind
- Physical Ed classes for parents
It happened that on the same day there was an award ceremony for senior students and a PA meeting, all running at the same time with our session. We appreciated the fact that the teachers and the principal made a point of splitting their time between these three events. We felt that the teachers were really interested and wanted to be a part of this and be engaged.
Later, we joined the award ceremony for a few minutes. We saw an auditorium full of happy children and their parents, all eager to be recognized. There were lots of awards, lots of words of encouragement, and generally a very cordial and loving atmosphere.
We truly enjoyed this visit at MVB and we hope to learn more about this school in the near future.