Walking the Dream Path: Nia Community Public Charter School
Walking Dream Path, our first ever program, was designed to construct decent, ethical, and productive people using a holistic approach: encompassing academics, multi-media and arts, the environment, and more. The aim was to help guide participant’s thoughts and behaviors towards family, friends, community, and the greater world through a period of ethical reflection centered around the Adinkra Symbol Ethics Mirror.
We launched this program at Nia Community Public Charter School, providing a wonderful opportunity for us to learn and make an impact. Read the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise’s Assessment.
Among the projects and experiences provided our students were:
- Monarch Butterfly Project – A STEM related project supporting habitat regeneration for these beautiful animals, while weaving in character development, art and community-building.
- Anacostia to Accra – A sister school exchange program with children in Ghana.
- Eco-Field Trips – An exploration of Washington’s beautiful natural gifts.
- Art Projects – Projects exploring good character, expression through various mediums, and visually weaving together program concepts.
- Academic Reinforcement – Vocabulary builiding exercises and journaling; creative expression through writing and videography; and current event studies related to character development.
Each Nia student who participated in Walking the Dream Path generated approximately 80 extra hours of concentrated homework time. In total, the extended homework period lengthened the school year at Nia by 10 days from February to August 2009. Research has shown that extensions of learning time play a vital role in closing gaps in student achievement and helping students reach excellence… one step at a time.
The results of extended learning for Nia’s Walking the Dream Path participants were that:
- 75 % of students improved their grades.
- 82 % of students demonstrated classroom behavior improvement.
- 82 % of students improved their attitudes towards school.
Walking the Dream Path: Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy — Parkside Campus
During the spring semester of 2010, we completed a 12-week program in which our students made great strides towards self-discovery and personal growth. Our scholars kept journals, made video projects about their vision on high school graduation day and helped make sandwiches for the homeless. At the end of our program period, our 9th graders made amazing progress:
- Student detentions decreased by 30% over the program period.
- Student suspensions decreased by 27% over the program period.