Having a background in education, I love to hear about the hard fought success stories: the kids who were never given a chance but thrived after teachers invested in them.
Joanne Jacobs has written a book called Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the School That Beat the Odds. I haven’t read the book yet, but those who have say it is an amazing, must read story.
Here’s a portion from Chapter 12: The Shortest Basketball Team in America:
At the start of the year, with ninth graders still adjusting to the school’s demands and tenth graders recovering from the summer slump, grades were low. At the end of the first six-week grading period, 40 percent of students had less than a C average. With so few students eligible for extracurriculars, the coed soccer team and the boys’ basketball team folded. Four boys ran cross-country, but just for practice. DCP’s last hope was girls’ basketball. Lippman and Arreola went to every girl with a C average, begging her to join the basketball team, regardless of athletic skill. They knew the DCP girls would be outmatched on the courts. Competing was a point of pride: Real schools compete in sports. DCP needed to field at least one team. Lippman told girls they’d need extracurriculars on their college applications; Arreola appealed to school pride.
Clara signed up. Growing up in rural Mexico, she’d never seen a basketball. She didn’t watch it on TV. But she had a C average. And she wanted to do everything DCP had to offer.
Selma signed up. Selma wasn’t much of an athlete. She wasn’t five feet tall. But she’d made huge gains academically since deciding to take school seriously. She had a C average.