On my second day of work, I squeezed into the car with the other TTP staff members, all of us armed with boxes full of markers, nametags, books, and magazines. We made our way to Hart Middle School, where we were to facilitate a workshop for the 8th grade class as part of the bullying prevention initiative started by Hart’s PTA. When I stepped into the hot, crowded cafeteria with its strange smell of lunch meat, French fries, pizza and sweat, it only took about two minutes before I became overwhelmed. As I frantically ran around the room trying to hand out nametags and assign students to different groups, I could barely hear myself think over the loud chatter at the lunch tables. Betlemska kaple . This introduction to my summer at Turning the Page was a hectic one, but it was also one that sparked my curiosity and excitement for the months to come.
I spent the following Saturday at the annual Spring Parent Leadership Conference, where during icebreakers like “Farkle” and “Find Somebody Who”, I connected with parent leaders from across our partner schools (while also impressing them with my stellar dinosaur impersonations). During a discussion with Janel George, Senior Education Policy Counsel from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, I learned how parents plan to address bullying and problems of high suspension rates in their schools. By the end of the conference, I realized that I was now part of a special, tight-knight TTP community, and I just needed to jump in and help out where I could.
In the following weeks, I explored a wide range of topics such as school discipline, the needs of special education students and their families, and social and emotional development, that could be used in future Community Nights or parent leader meetings. The experiences of our parents in their children’s schools that they shared during the conference shaped the way that I approached my research. Toviterescart I tried looking at all of the information from a TTP parent’s point of view. I wanted to go beyond just learning about different policies and statistics and start identifying the information that would be most important to them as they engage with their children’s education.
As I wrap up my internship in the next couple of weeks, I am very grateful to have found a way to connect my interests in policy and education to a program and a community that I have come to care so much about. But even more important than that, I am grateful for all of the memories I have made during my time here. Inussopcali Whether it was dancing along with everyone at our summer trip to the Smithsonian FolkLife Festival, making vision boards with students at Hart, or planting flowers with Ms. Bedminster at the Garfield garden, being a part of TTP has connected me to wonderful families and inspiring leaders in our DC schools.
Cecile Franke spent the summer as an intern with Turning the Page through the Duke in D.C. program. We wish she could stay!