At Year End, a Time to Celebrate Our Success
'I Can't Recommend This Internship Enough' -- and Those Special M&Ms
Dec. 8 Trip to the White House: ‘A day that inspired all of us’
Minority Students Are Expelled/Disciplined in Disproportionate Numbers
Oct. 5, 2011 -- I attended an interesting press conference at the National Press Club today at which a new national report on school discipline showed that harsh discipline policies are being applied unfairly to minority students, dragging down academic achievement.
Written by Dan Losen of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA, the report documents how disproportionately large numbers of minority students across the nation are being removed from schools for relatively minor infractions. According to the study, the overuse and abuse of zero tolerance policies and other forms of student discipline are having a detrimental effect on student achievement. In addition, while so-called “problem children” are being removed and suffer academically, no evidence suggests that other students benefit from the removal of their classmates. One speaker at the press conference revealed how at the public school he attended on Chicago’s west side, students were pushed out simply for talking too loudly in the hallways.
“The application of discipline is unfair and unequal in this country,” said Losen. “Kicking out students for minor offenses has no academic justification. Yet students and especially minority students are removed for small infractions every day, causing them to suffer academically.” Another study linked these disciplinary actions to lower graduation rates and higher rates of later criminal activity. It found that minority students were more likely than whites to face the more severe punishments.
More information on these and other studies and reform policy recommendations for effective alternatives to expelling or suspending students are available on the National Education Policy Center.
-- Dorothy Gilliam
More Student Work
Check out a piece created by the students at School Without Walls!
Banneker HS Students and Prime Movers Media
Check out some of the work done by our talented students at Ballou HS!
Another Banneker HS students talks about Prime Movers Media
Check out the reflection from one of our students at Roosevelt High!
Student Reflection- Mass Media 1/ Prime Movers Media
When I first came into Mass Media class, I didn’t know what to expect. The first thing that came to my mind was “as long as the teachers isn’t a crazy wack job, then I can pass this class.” I started off in Ms. Quick’s first period class and we had a talk about me sitting in the back of the class. Then the second week I was put in Mass Media 1 fourth period. In this class we worked with interns and professional journalists from the Prime Movers Media program at GWU. There I met the people who have changed my learning experience to where I like coming to class. After a while I learned some very cool things. I have never been so excited about a class since elementary school. We, as a class, went over what our “inner G” was and how we use it. We have learned how to use technical materials such as a video camera, tripod, and computer software. I learned what a Rule of Thirds was and I also learned the different shots compositions to be taken during video recording. I typed, controlled and read a prompt and I even did a morning announcement. The amount of people in our class surprised me and it turns out that I do work better with fewer people in the classroom. The class was not stressful in any way and I felt at ease as if though I was doing something I liked. The structure of the class was very appropriate and me and my classmates were so nice and fun to be around. With very few people in the class I was able to rise to the top and show that I can do my best. I didn’t like when we had those pop quizzes in the beginning of the year. First off, I have a very bad memory. Second, I don’t work well under pressure. Also, when I actually tried, I only ended out with a “D” or “C” pop quiz grade. I didn’t like to walk all the way around the school to get to my fourth period class either. Oh, and I had a problem with the students in the beginning as well. But later on I got over it and just became friends. Some things I will take into another class would be shot composition and screening. I would love to go into another Mass Media or journalism class when I got to college because it would probably be a fun experience. The concepts that I have learned in this class about speech and delivery and teen health will go a long way with me in life. Since I am a teen I can use the skills I have learned to protect myself from harm and to make sure I don’t harm others. This quarter we took a trip to the campus of The George Washington University through Prime Movers. The campus grounds were somewhat hard to differentiate from the rest of the cityscape which makes it kind of special I think and cool at the same time. The school learning environment looked just like what I thought that a college would look like. It looked serious and very technical, not to mention ridiculously clean and the students looked very content with themselves. The reason we were there was to take a tour of the school and see the production studio and crew available through our partners, Prime Movers Media.
Finally the thing that I feel is going to be the most important memory in my life is the teamwork that is needed to run this profession. The reason that I say this is because most of the experiences that I’ve gone through have almost always needed help in some way. I came to this class with minimum camera experience, no speaking expertise, and zero interest in public speaking. Now that I have gone through this course, I feel a lot more knowledgeable about not only myself, but also about speaking professionally in front of the camera or audience.
On Sunday December 27th, 2009, three Ballou Senior High School students who participated in the Prime Movers Media program had their work featured on National Public Radio. The commentaries, which aired on the Weekend Edition Sunday show, shed light on issues of importance to the students in Dr. J.D. DiMattio’s media class. These topics, including homelessness, the criminal justice system and creative writing were heard by nearly 4 million listeners on hundreds of stations across the country. Following the broadcast, the commentaries, entitled “Sounds from Inside the Teenage Mind” were posted on NPR's website. (See link below) For a period of two weeks, the Prime Movers Media program sent professional journalist Charla Bear of NPR into Ballou to help the students work on a project that focused on the creation of radio commentaries. With the help of Ms. Bear and seasoned teacher Dr. J.D. DiMattio, the students learned the basics of radio broadcasting. They listened to several examples of radio stories, learned how to write for the ear, constructed commentary scripts and voiced their work. Many of the students had little to no radio experience prior to their work with Ms. Bear.
After two weeks of hard work, the students were not only able to gain a new understanding and appreciation for what it takes to produce material for radio, many were able to give a voice to their thoughts, opinions, hopes and fears. Often times, teen voices are ignored, but not for these Ballou students. Their voices will now be heard loud and clear.
Click on the link below to hear "Sounds From Inside the Teenage Mind" by Ballou HS Students!