Dedicating the first week of school to storytelling and crafting a personal identity story isn’t usually part of a typical work plan, but that’s just what the students at STRIVE Prep – RISE did t o kick off the new year
.Students reflected on their families, the history of education in the United States, their peers’ identities and perceptions, and how marginalized communities and people of color are impacted by the education system. Classes throughout the week focused on restorative justice, gender bias, intersectionality, and legal cases such as Brown v. Board of Education and Mendez v. Westminster– both landmarks in the history of education
At the end of the week, students selected one cohort member to share their story in front the the entire school, using their choice of creative medium.One student’s art focused on search engine results for the word “Mexican” and said, “My identity spans across land and water, not a search engine.”
As a network of 11 schools across Denver, STRIVE Prep serves 98 percent students of color. Taking focused time to relate race to personal identity and how that plays out in society is an empowering step for our students. The knowledge and self-reflection during that week will remain with these students well beyond their time at STRIVE Prep – RISE.
“If you don’t know how to share your personal identity story, someone else will create it for you,” said Chase Saunders, 9th grade ELA teacher and key member of the Portrait of a Phoenix planning team. “Often it is the marginalized communities that have their stories crafted by someone outside of the community.”