Event: Support The Anew School on Oct. 5

The Anew School, which provides “unprecedented academic, emotional/mental health, and social training to “at-risk” seventh and eighth grade youth” by taking American students and educating them at the Anew international boarding school in Ghana, is hosting its annual fundraiser tomorrow, Friday, October 5th from 6pm-10pm at Santos Party House, 96 Lafayette St, NY, NY. The party features DJ Commish, special live performances, and an amazing crowd assembled for a good cause. More about the Anew School:

Our vision is to turn students who have been labeled “unteachable,” “at-risk,” or “problem children” into high-achieving well-rounded social engineers, equipped with the tools to motivate, inspire, and affect positive change within their respective communities. More than merely closing an achievement gap, our vision is to help our students soar further than their imaginations to their highest personal potentials. The Anew School strives to remove the restraints that perpetuate a cycle of self-doubt, perceived limitations, and defeatism. We will use immersion in Ghana’s rich culture to encourage self-reflection, pride, confidence, and a global identity. We believe that when removed from the most stressful of home or school environments, and provided individualized tools for success, a child can begin anew and thrive.

Full disclosure: Feministe friend Diane Lucas is on the board, and the president/founder is also a “real life” friend of mine. But that’s all the more reason to go, I say!

2 comments for “Event: Support The Anew School on Oct. 5

  1. Q Grrl
    October 5, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Woop! Woop! More non-licensed “teachers” “fixing” our “at-risk”* youth. /sarcasm

    I applaud the desire to change the educational direction of these at-risk students, but I’m not seeing any pedagogical underpinnings in the school’s goals or vision statement. I like what they’ve outlined in the “Our Commitment” section, but again I’m not sure how just inserting the target population into a different environment is going to magically transform educational outcomes.

    One of the biggest challenges in working with students who are at risk, especially those who come from backgrounds of poverty or homelessness, is creating effective bridges between the teachers/schools and the families/community. Lifting children out of the environment of poverty and providing enrichment opportunities outside of that environment is temporarily effective, but it doesn’t address the overwhelming (and unique) hurdles that poverty creates in these children’s lives.

    The education system is often out of reach for the parents/guardians of these students because of time, work schedules, transportation issues, and the overall grind of poverty. I wonder if there is a way for this project to involve the parents/guardians in similar peer-paired collaborations. What can be done to increase educational outcomes/beliefs in the non-school environments that these students will return to? What can be done to enrich the parents/guardians?

    Poverty/homelessness, in an of itself, creates substantial behavioral and emotional problems for these students. It is really key to understand that these are probably not students who have individual problems with behavioral and emotional control. It looks like it, because this is how poverty manifests in these students’ lives, but many of these students are no more able to control behavioral and emotional outcomes than an adult is able to control PTSD. It requires intensive interventions and intensive pedagogical approaches to change these students’ paths.

    *There is no need for quotes around “at-risk.” These children are at risk, just as other students are exceptional, and others are high-achieving. It is an appropriate term that demarcates the need for increased resources and differentiated instruction.

    [I should note that I am a licensed educator working with displaced, underachieving, at-risk students. ]

  2. amblingalong
    October 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I really side-eye the whole ‘going to third-world country to find yourself’ thing. I mean, it’s good that the board includes several Ghanians and that they’re clearly thinking about how to make the program beneficial for their Ghanian neighbors, but still, I’m not won over by the idea that the best way to help at-risk kids is to ship them to another country where the ‘rich culture’ will solve everything.

    I also think the idea that the problem is a ‘stressful’ home environment is simplifying and minimizing the ways poverty impacts educational performance. Call me a cynic, but I just don’t think they’ve said nearly enough about their actual structure to get my support. Lot’s of gloss and big promises, but not much detail. Hey, it’s the Romney school!

    There is no need for quotes around “at-risk.”

    Yeah, that’s really annoying.

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