Starting off the Spring Semester of R.I.S.E.!

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We’ve started off an exciting second semester with R.I.S.E.! Our Stonebrook students had the chance to work with a dynamic instructor, Ms. Angel, on theater, while our Millwood students are writing a song together that they will later sing and record. Apollo students are learning about photography and taking their own pictures, and the Haywood students started off the semester with some fast-paced hip hop instruction. Our learning foci for the semester are multiplication and division facts and closely reading texts to answer questions about comprehension. Our Millwood students even have a goal of reading seven books each by March, with the incentive of a trip to the Family Fun Center for completion!

I had the opportunity to spend more time with the Haywood students during the first week of R.I.S.E., and, as always, I was thrilled by the kinds of conversations I got to have with these Burmese-Karen middle schoolers. I had a long conversation with one student, Blue, about how brave he thought Nelson Mandela was. We talked about apartheid, why it was wrong, and why Mandela was willing to go to jail for so long to change the system. I know these students have faced oppression, and it made me wonder how much of Mandela’s story resonated with Blue.

Our Millwood students will have the chance, starting January 27, to work with Nashville Public Television to learn about making documentary videos and make their own. I’m very excited that they will be able to tell their stories, in their own words! We also now have four laptop computers, donated by the Ann G. and James B. Ritchey Foundation, which allow us to work with the students on educational math games and English language arts activities. The four computers are shared over three sites, but it’s still a great way to have students do fun, academic activities.

Haywood Students learning to do a hip hop dance

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