This book is the product of a yearlong senior expedition on high school redesign from the first graduating class of the only dual-language high school in Massachusetts. As they studied the history and changing purposes of school itself, they realized that it is the students for whom and by whom high schools should be redesigned, and their revolutionary spirits were roused.
The students’ proposed solutions were contributed to the current conversation in Boston, initiated by the mayor and the Boston Public School’s superintendent about school redesign. Students worked with 826 Boston, a community writing project partner that helped produce the book.
This book is a bilingual product. The individual voices of the students stand out in their choice of topics and the connections to real world issues. With the help of 826 Boston tutors, they brought the conversation on school reform to their classroom and researched, read, and discussed different perspectives creating annotated bibliographies. Next, they took their research out into the community and conducted in-depth interviews with experts in their areas of research. Students worked on their proposals knowing they were writing about real issues for a real audience.
A word from their teacher:
“When it came time to synthesize our research, students became aware that there are no silver bullets…. And as we learned in January, even the most promising proposals might run into a budget crisis. “Why are we working on redesign, if there is no money to even keep schools going as is?” students wanted to know when we learned of the imminent Boston Public School budget cuts. They were becoming cynical. “If only money grew on trees,” one student wrote. But money, we reminded ourselves, is not enough. We need ideas, too. And if we put off change until there is enough money, nothing will ever change.”
How This Project Can Be Useful
- Excellent model of a project with an authentic audience
- Combination of accessible and high-quality writing, layout/organization and visuals
- Demonstrates an outstanding level of sophistication for high school students
- Addresses topics from a range of viewpoints
- Provides a model for a bilingual book