High school teacher, Shawn Blanchard, made a difference in a community that never saw it coming. He took his South Bronx math students to never before seen levels. Under his guidance, his students climbed the ranks and landed amongst the top 5% in mathematics nationwide.
Shawn Blanchard is just one shining example across America.
What are high schools doing right nowadays? The answer is: A whole lot.
Media gives much attention to the negatives of modern day high schools. Often we hear about drop out rates, the perils of teen pregnancies, school bullies, and even the dreaded, but present, high school violence.
Some famous teachers have overcome such battles and had even caught the attention of Hollywood. Almost everyone remembers Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘Dangerous Minds’, and even Hilary Swank in ‘Freedom Writers’.
What we don’t hear about often enough are the real-life high schools of America that are helping influence our teens positively. Those high schools that are rising above the negativity, and providing students with exceptional lessons and a base of knowledge that will allow them to prosper and succeed after their high school career is over. It is these high schools that deserve recognition.
In Alabama for instance, a classroom of high school students help feed the community by running a garden.
In Ohio, a classroom of art students volunteers and paints murals in hospitals and nursing homes.
In California, a high school believes in group learning. Groups of students and teachers working together on projects. No textbooks.
The above mentioned high schools are all public schools.
It isn’t easy being a high school student in today’s world. It isn’t easy being a teacher nowadays, either.
High schools administrators, teachers and staff are fighting an uphill battle. Budget restraints, constant social issues in dealing with teens and negative press can keep a high school from climbing the mountain of success.
High schools that are doing right by our students, embrace the fact that they need great educators on their side. Great educations such as Shawn Blanchard.
By enlisting a team of people willing to help make a change in the school and community, a high school can do amazing things. The key is for educators and community to work together. The old saying, “there is power in numbers” is a true statement.
High schools across America have also begun enlisting community service as a graduation requirement. The most successful high schools that require this, have also built longstanding relationships with community programs. High schools have made great strides with this in the last couple decades.
In the 1950’s, it was a common practice for girls to take ‘Home Economics” and boys to take “Woodshop”. While these classes are still readily offered in most schools, they are more practical and offered to both sexes. In addition, other relevant classes have also been added to curriculums, such as “Credit Management” and “Financial Planning.”
The Alliance for Excellent Education has named the top qualities of successful high schools. The top five are:
Challenging Classes Personal Attention Community Involvement Extra Help as needed Bring the Real World In
Ultimately, there are high schools out there that have figured it out. Forward thinking, going above and beyond for students, and utilizing the above qualities are just some ways a high school of today can b e successful.
High schools, such as Shawn Blanchard’s South Bronx School, have learned how to successfully climb the education mountain. Hopefully our future will provide us with more and more high schools following suit.