A Common Purpose

It’s 8:30 on a Saturday morning, and I’m sitting in a rapidly filling high school cafeteria in Philadelphia. As I look around, a see a few familiar faces, and even more familiar names. But for the most part, these are strangers. They’re not part of my world. They’re from urban schools. Charter schools. Parochial schools. Private schools. They’re teachers. Integration specialists. School leaders. Professors. Students. They represent 40 states and five countries. ¬†Zoe Strauss’s opening comment from the previous night’s panel discussion leaps to mind: Chris, what the hell am I doing here? The panel had included some pretty heavy … Continue reading A Common Purpose

A Community Effort

When I taught middle school, Grease was incredibly popular with the seventh and eighth graders. I remember discussing this with my colleagues. Why would a twenty year old movie, set twenty years before that, be so popular with the Gen-Yers? The best theory we could come up with was that it was the ideal, pop-culture vision of what high school was “supposed” to be. It was all school dances and crushes and cliques and cars and malt shops. For middle schoolers, it was a vision of high school before the reality of 9th grade set it. In some ways, everyone … Continue reading A Community Effort