The Village Nation Elder
Village Nation Activities
2010-2011 is my third year as a Village Nation elder to advocate for and support Pali's African American students (CPSEL 2.2). Village Nation 2010-11 Events Calendar This year we continued our work supporting African American students through assemblies, community service trips, and BSU meetings. We started off the year with a "Welcome Back Assembly" during which we celebrated another year of increased CST scores and welcomed our incoming freshman to Pali and TVN. Village Nation Welcome Back Assembly Agenda One goal of the assembly is CPSEL 1.2, "Communicate the shared vision so the entire school community understands and acts on the school's mission to become a standards-based education system." We express to the students our high expectations, but also offer our program as a source of academic, social, and cultural support. We elders worked this year to make sure that TVN was addressing the needs of students at all levels which relates to CPSEL 1.5, "Shape school programs, plans, and activities to ensure that they are integrated, articulated through the grades, and consistent with the vision."
In addition to our Welcome Back Assembly and CST Testing Assembly for all 9th grade students, TVN held a "Reverse Impact Assembly" to give seniors an opportunity to give us feedback about their TVN experience. Village Nation Reverse Impact Assembly Agenda My role in the assembly was to describe council, the process of sharing and listening while sitting in a circle, to the students, and to lead a council. This process gave us elders and opportunity to "Reflect on personal leadership practices and recognize their impact and influence on the performance of others." A group of African American principals from the Oakland/San Francisco area attended and participated in the assembly and councils. Afterward, the elders held a Q & A discussion with the principals. We shared our experiences with them and received their feedback about the assembly. This relates to CPSELs 6.6, "View oneself as a leader of a team and also as a member of a larger team," and 6.7, "Open the school to the public and welcome and facilitate constructive conversations about how to improve student learning and achievement."
As part of the bridge between our support programs for African American and Latino students, I suggested that we invite LSU members to the assembly. 100 Latino students attended, and the feedback in LSU was positive.
10th Grade BSU Leadership Team
Last year I became the Ninth Grade Elder. My role was as the go-to person for 9th grade African American students should they need to work through any issues with other students or adults on campus. I also made myself available to any adult on campus who wanted to talk through any issues regarding 9th grade African American students. This year, I expanded my leadership role by starting a 10th Grade BSU Leadership Team. In addition to participating in TVN meetings, events, and assemblies, I met with five 10th grade boys every Monday at lunch to discuss barriers to African American students' success and to brainstorm ways to promote a positive image of and achievement among African American students. Leadership Team Notes These meetings became a safe space where the group could talk about various social, cultural, and academic issues confidentially (CPSEL 5.2). My goals were to build the leadership capacity of 10th grade African American students (CPSEL 2.5), to increase BSU outreach to underclassmen, and to serve as a mentor to these students (CPSEL 5.1, 5.8). These boys attended BSU leadership and club meetings and participated in TVN Assemblies along with upperclassmen BSU leaders.
At the beginning of the year, the group came up with the idea to throw a 3.0 Party at the end of the Fall semester to celebrate all African American students with a 3.0 or higher GPA. Planning the event focused the boys on academic achievement, and many Mondays we talked as a group about their own academic progress or lack of it. Sometimes I brought in their teachers to advise them about classroom performance (CPSEL 1.4). Throwing the 3.0 Party required the collaboration of many people. Edwin Aguilar, a professional artist created a flier based on the team's concept, faculty and staff committed to bring food for a potluck, six 10th grade BSU girls helped organize, the tech department set up the microphones, and the facilities department helped set up Mercer Hall for the event (CPSEL 1.6).
Over 90 African American students received the following invitation in class:
Each student also received a certificate honoring their academic achievement.
Before, during, and after the event, I heard more students talking about their GPAs than ever before. Students who did not receive a 3.0 talked about how they plan to work harder next semester so that they too could attend the event (CPSEL 5.9). This was also an important form of professional development for our faculty and staff. Many of them have never attended a TVN event, and this was their first opportunity to see the impact of providing African Americans with a positive, encouraging, culturally supportive space (CPSEL 2.4). Throughout the joyful celebration, it became clear to me that our school has lacked this type of encouragement and validation for our African American students. I plan to turn the 3.0 Party into a Pali BSU tradition.