Rocio Cruz, a 5th-grade student at EL Haynes Public Charter School, is researching evidence to support her claim that students should be allowed to use cellphones in school. Nyla Slye, a 9th grader at McKinley Tech HS, is completing her full-length essay about colorism and its impact on her family. Across the Anacostia River at IDEA Public Charter School, another 9th grader, Omarion Brodie sharpens a personal connection to his essay on police brutality. His deepest fear is being killed by the police without having done anything with his life.
Each of these students is participating in the afterschool One World Academy and is preparing an oral presentation to compete for a share of $10,000 in scholarships and prizes. Whether at home or back in the classroom, thousands of DC students like Rocio, Nyla, and Omarion are learning to be critical researchers and persuasive writers; two essential skills needed for college and career success. Most importantly, students like them throughout our city are building knowledge and using these skills and information to solve real-life problems. Their voices and solutions have never been more needed!
How are such powerful learning experiences happening when the work of educators seems so compromised? It’s about a relentless focus on teaching and learning. This starts with finding ways to engage students, which is at the center of One World Education, the city’s largest writing program. It’s why the organization signed on to the Strongest Year Yet Campaign.
For the 5,000 middle school, high school, and adult learners that One World annually serves, we know that students’ engagement is the gateway to meaningful learning. Our programs start by providing students with choice in their learning journey. Our curriculum and teacher training in 20 DC schools lead to students identifying what social justice issues are important to them. Students then develop evidence-based solutions to their problems through research, writing, and persuasive speaking.
As DC schools engage in post-pandemic planning, they are partnering with One World Education to help them rebuild teaching and learning in our city. With proven success for large populations of Washington, DC’s lowest-performing students, One World’s programs will be critical to supporting thousands of students getting back on track, and even more so for those in need of academic success for the first time in their lives.
Hear three IDEA PCS 9th graders talk about why they are so passionate about their topics, and learn why this work is SO important to a One World Teacher Leader. Mark your calendars for April 12 through April 19, when you can VIEW AND VOTE ON students’ presentations.