Monday, 25 February 2013

This American Life: Harper High School

If you haven't tuned in to This American Life, you should. This is a whole different world.
Broadcast via Public Radio International, you can subscribe to its podcasts. My son tuned me in to it. These are fascinating stories that illustrate how life is different from our Canadian experience.

Guns are rampant in this Chicago neighbourhood. It shows how horrible they are, with drive by shootings and gangs, and young children who witness death on a regular basis. What has helped in this school are supportive funding, which is about to run out, for special needs schools. Their multi-million dollar budget is about to lose $1.8 million next year, with staff cuts, including these miracle teachers.
"I appreciate you in advance for getting to class on time!" One social worker declares.
I remember using this tactic in my classrooms: "Thank you for putting that into the recycling!" referring to a piece of paper on the floor. They do, surprisingly.

"We are not selling crack. Pull your pants up, nobody wants to see the crack of your butt, baby!" the principal tells one student! They are corrected with boundless love, joy and humour.

Schools who are at risk for violence, social and emotional ills best remedied by social work intervention, supportive staff, breakfast programs, computers, emergency housing and clothing. All sadly lacking in this Chicago school.

487: Harper High School, Part One

FEB 15, 2013
We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances. We found so many incredible and surprising stories, this show is a two-parter; Part One airs this week, Part Two is next week.


Grandma K said...

So many children do not get the positive reinforcement at home - even for the things that are perceived to be just responsible actions. Those who are in the lower socio-economoc get even less. They so respond so favorably to positive remarks about their good actions.

Nora at Island Rambles said...

Hi there, thanks for being a meme host over at Our World. When I was working with children I always found that humour, distraction and a hug worked better than anger. A pattern of low self esteem learned by the brain at an early age from school or parents surrounds you for life. Really like your blog and sounds like you have given a lot of caring to others.

Gary said...

The tragedy is that citizens will buy a gun rather than invest in youth, an act which ultimately pays off in richer returns. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Red said...

As a former teacher, it was pretty cool to be in well funded and supported programs and see what it meant to kid's progress.

Pearl said...

I forogt about that broadcast series. I listened in for a while. also seemed to have toddled off from your blog. I haven't been here in a long time however that happened.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I listen to Public Radio all the time but hadn't found TAL on a station here in Florida..I really need to learn how to do the podcast thing.