This is a school that was was created when the community demanded a new school and was named by the students after it was established. June Jordan was a West Indian-American poet, teacher and activist who discussed issues of race, gender, immigration and representation. It is fitting that students chose this name -especially when you read about their 'pedagogy project' (end of this post)
The focus of the school is youth participatory action research - fighting against institutional repression. Their mission not only prepare students for college but to be agents of change.
The June Jordan School for Equity describe themselves as:
- We are a college prep school, but we believe what kind of person you are comes before academics.
- We are an innovative public school, but not a charter school.
- 100% of our graduates have a strong post-secondary plan.
- We believe working-class families and students of color deserve a private-school-quality education, in a free public school.
- We believe that true excellence cannot be achieved without equity, or fairness to all.
It was interesting talking with students about their senior projects. Students had chosen project that were important issues to them. One student spoke about gentrification and the impact of this on his community. Another student was looking at immigration. Click here to read about the interesting students at the school, their experiences and how they are trying to make change.
The school has a beautiful community garden with kitchen on site. There was a community group working in it when we were touring the school. The aim is to provide programs on nutrition and farm to table food. They also have chickens and fruit trees.
Walking around the school the walls are covered in quotes and images that affirm their goal of social justice
This is an incredibly school that works at empowering the students to not only believe in themselves but to be the change they want to see. They have a pedagogy project which they explain as: "pedagogy (a fancy way of saying “the way we teach”) is expressly designed to help our students understand the forces of marginalization they have experienced growing up, and thus to begin the process of freeing themselves from oppression, including especially the internalized oppression (or self-imposed limits) which we see preventing so many students from meeting their potential."
It was an inspiring visit.
Student Life Video: https://www.jjse.org/student-life
Youth Summit Video: https://www.jjse.org/youth-summit-overview