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Honored Contributor
Posts: 51,878
Registered: ‎03-29-2012

My school system has focused on relationship building for several years now.  The goal is that EVERY student has at least one adult in the building who can serve as a coach/mentor/confidant/problem solver, etc.

 

I had a student last year who was AMAZING.  He scored a 5 on his AP exam after a year in my class.  This year, I haven't had any "reason" to see him, because AP is the highest level that he could take, but he has popped in during the "intervention" period, where all students must be under the direct supervision of a teacher or administrator.

 

In a casual conversation, in November, I asked him which teachers he had lined up for his letters of recommendation.  (He did not ask me, which was sort of surprising, but he has a lot of AP classes that he has taken so I wasn't losing sleep about not having to write a letter).  He replied that he was not going to go to college because he couldn't afford it.  He said that I was the only teacher to speak to him about college, and he didn't even know who his counselor was.

 

This is a student who is probably one of my smartest, most well rounded and hardworking kids that I have had since I started teaching many moons ago.  I told him that it was unacceptable, and together we filled out his first application for a local school where he could fulfill his dream. 

 

In January, he emailed to see if he could talk to me about something.  I figured this was about his college application, with a quick progress report.  Something happened in his personal life that was making it difficult to concentrate on his studies.  I told him that I would be happy to listen, but if he felt that he needed "medical" assistance, he would need to talk to his counselor and the school psychologist.  He said that I was the only teacher he felt that he knew well enough to talk to about this. Cat Sad

 

We formed a plan, started tackling tasks, and he got himself righted. I sent home the FAFSA in Spanish for his parents to complete, and told him about the importance of getting it submitted ASAP.

 

In the meantime, I spoke to my librarian about his case, and that I was heartbroken that he thought that he could not attend school due to finances.  She has administrative privileges, so when she looked him up in the system, not only had he taken a ton of AP courses, but he was ranked number 1 in the class (or number 3, depending on if they used the weighted/unweighted GPA).    He is modest, but even I didn't know that he was ranked so highly in his class. This was a kid who was going to fall through the cracks.

 

She emailed an influential person at the BOE, and suggested that she get to know him.  This lady is a fairy godmother of sorts, because her job is community partnerships and finding money.  On Tuesday morning, she called and said that she was coming to our school to meet him, so we got everything set up.  She spent over an hour talking to him, getting to know his interests, about his family, and his coursework.  She has since emailed him with several scholarship leads.

 

This year he quit a Varsity sport so that he could pick up another part time job.  He has been working between 40-48 hours during school, while maintaining these rigorous classes and high grades.

 

He is a first generation college student, bilingual, an artist, and he is kind.  From the amount of AP courses that he is taking/has taken, depending on his test scores, he could start college with 22 credits completed.

 

If you believe in the power  of positivity, would you send good vibes for him? Heart

 

His application that he filled out in November was changed to "priority", so he could hear back by February 15.  I asked if his parents would go with him to visit the college, but he thinks they won't be able ($$) to take off of work.  I told him that I will take off of work and go with him, because I believe it's important to see the campus and check out student life. I have no doubt that he will get in, but I would like to see him go on a full ride.  He qualifies for both merit and need.  

 

 

I am thankful that day in November he came to see me, and this casual conversation about college could change the trajectory of his future.  

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Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,456
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

@lolakimonoThank you -  for caring, but even more for putting in the time and effort to work for an outcome this boy is earning every day! 

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,546
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

[ Edited ]

@lolakimono ..God Bless you for taking this deserving young man under your wing.  I will keep him in my prayers.

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Posts: 7,870
Registered: ‎11-03-2018

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

@lolakimono  what a wonderful special you are to this boy.  

 

Heart

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,548
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

[ Edited ]

How very nice of you.  Unfortunately there are too few like you in education.  Had that young man been a star athlete, he would have had a new car, a full ride to any school and all the new clothes he wanted.

 

I could tell you some horror stories of very accomplished students that the system allowed to fall through the cracks, that our household has helped.  Public education is a nightmare for academics but sports is celebrated.  It is such a shame.

 

You are a rock star in my eyes.

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Valued Contributor
Posts: 996
Registered: ‎09-23-2010

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

Thankyou for helping this kid Lola.

          

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,440
Registered: ‎02-19-2014

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

So many people don't even know what is possible. Thank you for being a teacher in more ways than one.

 

I hope he gets a full ride too!


When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression..
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Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,704
Registered: ‎08-22-2013

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

Just think of how many kids are in that situation in this country, we need to make sure these kids who are great at math and science have the opportunity for college. My cousin just spent a quarter of million dollars sending his 2 boys to an expensive college to graduate and work in the family seafood business. I could just scream, these guys could have graduated from community college for that, their father did. Just think of all the talent that goes to waste because only the rich can afford higher education without going into debt. 

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Posts: 51,878
Registered: ‎03-29-2012

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

@NameAlreadyTaken 

We spend most of our time worrying about the bottom 25% of the class instead of the top 25% or the kids in the middle.

 

The big push is to get the 9th graders to passing, because kids who begin 9th grade and don't experience success are more likely to drop out.  We give weekly grade sheets, call home, "invite" students personally to come for the intervention period, etc. but we don't devote the same amount of time making sure our top students have scholarship monies they need to attend higher education.   

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,729
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Relationships Matter (Long)

The time you can give to help him that his parents aren't in a position to give may make all the difference.  He needs the proverbial hands helping up and thanks be to good people who care to help this young man succeed.