Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gym Update #4

Well...we're almost there. The gym is almost complete. Today I had the privilege of taking pictures of the gym from a place other than the sidewalk in front of TMA and let me tell you, it looks AWESOME.

I am happy to report that all of the world...including the northeast wall of our a stage.

I was awed by the yet-to-be-fully-completed basketball court. It still needs striping, it still needs two more coats of varnish, it still looks amazing. Check out the natural light, pretty cool.

Seeing the new facility from the inside was yet another proud moment for me here at TMA. Look forward to our final gym update which will include a photo essay giving a full tour.

Until well.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Green Club on NPR

Yesterday's Kojo Nnamdi Show on NPR featured "Getting Healthy Food into School Lunches." To listen to the show, click hereAt about the 26:45 mark of the show, Brittany McGhee (pictured above) calls in with a question about getting the school garden into the school lunch.

The whole segment is worth a listen, but the exchange with Brittany is absolutely phenomenal. I've been playing it on repeat all day, and everybody who walks by has listened, too. And I'm going to e-mail Kojo and see if he really wants to spend time in our garden. Need more Green Club? See the pictures below. And while you do, consider the significance of what these students have done.

Are they directly fighting global warming? Yes. Have they worked all summer during their free time to keep the garden healthy and happy? Without even considering it work. But the significance is that Brittany and the Green Club are taking to the airwaves to participate in public discourse about school lunch. They are actively engaging in our democracy by pursuing a more healthy, more ecologically sustainable lunch. When more schools have gardens and more students are eating fresh produce at school it will be because Brittany is willing to call Kojo Nnamdi. It will be because the Green Club is not content to stop at a single school garden.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Superior Court internships completed

This month marks the end of the DC Superior Court Internship, in which TMA students worked one-on-0ne with judges in the DC Superior Court. The students (as always) rocked it. For a glimpse into their thoughts about the experience, check out their classroom blog.

Good afternoon and good luck.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Taxation without representation...

A month ago we (the royal we) posted on our students' experience with the Close Up program. Wouldn't you know it? That post left out the best part...a meeting with Rep. Eleanor Holmes-Norton. As the students roamed the halls of the congressional office building it became apparent that this was an environment that was foreign to most of the students. If you have ever been in one of those office buildings, you are familiar with the din of large, pointy, high heels and hard, heavy, clunky wooden soled shoes moving way too fast. Pair this with the fact that, at any given time, you can hear 38 people talking on a blackberry and you have a fairly intimidating environment.

The students waited anxiously outside Rep. Norton's office and even tried a Tango to take off the edge. After a few minutes, we were invited inside by Rep. Norton herself. She took a good amount of time out of her day to answer questions from the students. She spoke very passionately on DC voting rights and the importance of education to the youth in the district.

This was 11th grader Markus Batchelor's take:

"I think what most surprised me is that her speaking... it wasn’t like a stump speech. It was passionate and she gave her personal opinion"

When asked about what he took away from Rep. Norton's discussion of DC voting rights he had this to say:

"[The lack of DC voting rights] makes me think of the disenfranchisement before the revolutionary war because the maxim of the DC voting rights [movement] is, ‘taxation without representation’ and that was the maxim that the oppressed colonist used to build this country and incite the revolution that made this country. It kind of seems hypocritical to me that the government that was founded on equal representation to all people and giving everybody the same rights as each other...well... it just kind of seems hypocritical, that despite what the Constitution may loosely say, the US is depriving its people of equal rights."

Lastly, Markus wanted to extend his thanks to Rep. Norton:

"First, I want to thank her for meeting with us and then also thank her for giving us her personal opinion and her personal insight on everything that she does in congress and the things that affect her and us because it wasn’t rehearsed and it gave everybody a better insight and deeper understanding of what its like to be in congress"

The Close Up program gave students like Markus an opportunity to learn about the government, but the real "Ah-Ha" moment came when they got to talk to their representative about issues that directly affect them. This experience helped our students see the importance of government and, more importantly, may inspire them to become active participants in our democratic society.

Until we meet again...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gym Update #3

It has been amazing to watch this building come together. With only weeks before the school year begins, it's exciting to know that we will have this phenomenal facility opening on schedule. Looking back is interesting (Update #2 and Update #1) but it's the future (Update 4!) that we're focused on. Our next update will include a variety of pictures, inside and out.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Get Involved: Tutor in the library.

Every day when school ends, we open up our library for Homework Help. For almost three hours, our students (sometimes as many as 60 of them) pore over the math, science, and English that they were taught during the day. We are recruiting a group of tutors to serve in one-on-one relationships with students who have asked for a little extra help.

Are you free one weekday afternoon? Are you ready to be a hero? If so, please join us this fall as a tutor. E-mail Scott for more information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gym Update #2

We have windows! And although this picture doesn't show them, there are real-live goals hanging from the ceiling, waiting for dunks.

There has been an amazing amount of work done this summer. Just look at our first update from just one month ago.