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Old 09-06-2010, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
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At my school,which happens to be in the South Bronx,we are constantly looking for and encouraging kids to apply to the specialized high schools.We advocate for them,intervene with reluctant parents,coach and tutor the kids after school and buy them the prep books out of our own pockets when necessary.We even buy them clothes if we have to.We write letters,make phone calls and visit the schools to advocate for them.
We have a very good track record of admissions to the specialized schools.

A lot depends on the culture of the school and that is set by the administrators and teachers.Some places it's there,some places it's not. I have worked in both.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:09 PM
 
Location: Chinatown, New York City
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Originally Posted by TeaJay View Post
I work in a South Bronx middle school. There are so many facets to your question- I'll tell you what I have observed over the past ten-plus years:
-the culture of poverty and the way some people, adults and kids, seem to acknowledge and accept that their lot in life is to struggle without trying to make their situation, or that of their kids, better. Or they want to, but don't know how.

-a lack of resources in the community, which points to misplaced priorities. I know the new Yankee Stadium is mostly paid for with private money, but my students sit 30+ to a class just a few blocks away. And I don't know why Borders or B&N won't open in the South Bronx. I think if a store opened on the Concourse near the courthouses, it would do a ton of business, from the people who live there and work there.

-Kids are more interested in video games and clothes and iPods and MySpace. I have students who have expensive cell phones and sneakers, but don't own one book. They aren't really thinking about the future. They seem to think that the decisions are made for them, not by them.

-My school, and I am sure there are others like it, tries to involve parents. We send notices for PTA meetings, and have speakers come in, and serve breakfast or lunch. The turnout is always crappy- maybe 5-10 parents in a school of 500 kids. A lot of parents work so much that it precludes them from participating as much as they'd like, and I think a lot of parents are just overwhelmed trying to navigate the system. I don't think of the schools as bein "user friendly" to parents or teachers.

-Teachers are overwhelmed. There are demands on top of demands, kids who can't read in the 8th grade, classes that have way too many kids, classes with kids who have serious problems but can't get the needed resources. I wish I could say that I can give every student I have every bit of attention and support he or she needs, but I'm just not able to do it.

- And parents seem to let their kids run the show. (Not all of them, of course) I've had parents say to me "Well, I tell him/her to turn of the computer/hang up the phone/stop playing video games but he/she won't." My dad would have had no problem unplugging the computer or phone and there were times when our Atari was unhooked and locked up. Parents are afraid to step up, and this is something that goes across class lines.

Ultimately, though, if YOU want to be successful, you have to count on yourself. Yes, it's important to have encouragement. But you need to dig inside yourself if you want to do something with your life and not wait for someone to tell you to do it. Granted, most of my kids who do well have a lot of family support, but I have also met kids who don't who still go on to do amazing things. If you express these feelings to a teacher, I would hope that he or she would also want to support you.
The new Gateway Center Mall opened up not too long ago a block from Yankee Stadium with all your favorite national retailers, a bookstore would be a great addition.
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