Title

Let it Ring!!!

Focused Area

Improving School Climate for Youth-At-Risk

Relevance to Focused Area

Schools that are organized to cultivate and amplify student voice can see dramatic environmental and climate shifts which result in improved behaviors, attendance, school engagement and connection. Often times, schools which school-dependent students attend rely heavily on punitive measures and disciplinary practices that might result in compliance; however, it rarely produces school-committed students. By intentionally creating opportunities within the curriculum as well as in a co-curricular fashion, students can develop an academic identity that results in the improvement of school tone and behavior while fostering enhanced school presence and participation.

This proposal seeks to highlight and share promising practices that incorporate student voice, youth culture, particularly hip-hop culture, and a positive behavior intervention system that reinforces the "coolness" and "trendiness" to learning and school.

Primary Strand

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance to Primary Strand

Safety and violence prevention extends beyond the reduction or elimination of threats of physical harm and fighting. Safety and violence prevention includes the presence of emotionally and intellectually, culturally promotive experiences, as well as physically nurturing environments which are conducive to student learning and positive youth development.

Our proposal advances the idea that through deliberate student-led and student centered cultural experiences, MS 53 underwent a transformation that led to dramatic increases in daily school attendance, classroom participation, reduction in latenesses and incidents, and improvement in school engagement experiences. The changes were manifested in qualitative measures as well as in the quantitative indicators.

Brief Program Description

Let it Ring!!! Adolescents have a voice, culture, and identity. Students are in a powerful, yet, tenuous position to thrive or to wither based on the decisions that educators make. By embracing and employing youth culture as the medium to engage students and cultivate school communities, educators leverage the cultural resources of their students without abandoning their responsibilities of teaching.

Summary

Using social media, youth and hip-hop culture, music, video production, and traditional art, schools can create and re-brand their image such that students become integral to the process. By cultivating and promoting positive student voice, the 21st Century skills are implicated and developed while schools ensure that the developmental needs of students are also met. Schools can create community by surveying the kinds of music and cultural artifacts that have meaning for students, employ the latent technological and production skills that students have, focus efforts to empower and distribute leadership to particular disaffected and disengaged students, and develop a tangible product to which the school community, particularly the students can lay claim. By establishing a ritual by which each year, products and experiences are created, new ideas are generated while certain traditions and norms can be maintained and reinforced. Effective practices focus on the process as well as the product. there is a substantive element (videos and rap songs as well as dances and clothing branded to reinforce messages) that yield products; however, the procedural component of establishing student committees with faculty, assemblies, voting and evaluation of dances and songs, incentives and reinforcements of expectations, opportunities for students to be seen and heard, and systems for merits and demerits as well as discipline and restoration is equally vital.

Evidence

Premised on the idea that students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care, MS 53 approaches student engagement through the lens of student affirmation and reinforcing a positive youth and academic identity. Research abounds from The Search Institute to New Directions for Youth Development and New Directions for Student Leadership that supports the idea that deliberating meeting the developmental needs of student autonomy and agency yields high levels of school connectedness and discipline.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Mr. Rubain J. Dorancy is an attorney and educator who served over two decades in the NYC public school system. As an administrator in the NYC Department of Education, he led many innovative projects and initiatives that resulted in improving school climate, graduation rates, and school attendance.

Mr. Shawn Rux is a NYC principal for the past 4 years of the Brian Piccolo Middle School - MS 53in Far Rockaway, NY. He has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, district administrator and school leader. He has led the transformation of MS 53 from a Persistently Dangerous School to an educational institution that is a model for positive school climate.

Start Date

10-23-2016 10:00 AM

End Date

10-23-2016 11:00 AM

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Oct 23rd, 10:00 AM Oct 23rd, 11:00 AM

Let it Ring!!!

Let it Ring!!! Adolescents have a voice, culture, and identity. Students are in a powerful, yet, tenuous position to thrive or to wither based on the decisions that educators make. By embracing and employing youth culture as the medium to engage students and cultivate school communities, educators leverage the cultural resources of their students without abandoning their responsibilities of teaching.