15 Jul Making the Case for Inspiring Our Youth
Research indicates that children who have a clear and positive image of their futures are better able to overcome the hurdles that being born into low-income communities can place before them. Beginning in kindergarten, the highest performing, “no-excuses” charter schools expose their students to the world of high school and college with the implicit and explicit message that with hard work, they have all the tools and ability necessary to succeed in these institutions. This message is presented through classroom lessons, exposure to mentors and tutors from institutions of higher learning, and real and virtual tours of campuses.
Because these schools also want their students to strive academically in order to earn life choices, they also expose them to as much of the wider world of art, music, recreation, and nature as possible. Such exposure is essential to helping students to see the life that is possible for them (and for their communities) through their own perseverance and commitment. This exposure includes art, music, theater, debate team, math team, and other enrichment classes, as well as single and multi-day field trips to museums, local and national parks, high schools, colleges, and adventure programs.
At many shools, students will visit college campuses, beginning in elementary school, to build a sense of expectation and wonder about college and active citizenship. Moreover, there will often be outings that include visits to theater productions, cultural celebrations, electoral events, and many more opportunities for enrichment, all of which help ensure that students and parents alike don’t believe that college is a question of “if” but rather a matter of “where.”