Long before it became imperative to acknowledge structural racism and its impact on our nation’s educational system, teachers and parents at Middle Passage Inc have been organizing to create a liberation school for students of color. We’ve spent the last twelve years developing an education model that now, many are recognizing the need for.
During the 2014 -2015 school year, Middle Passage Inc ran a successful afterschool demonstration program for Harlem students. Students studied 20th Century Harlem history makers and their own Harlem neighborhoods and subsequently helped write and choreograph an original musical, It Takes a Child to Save a Harlem. Students took field trips to museums and historic sites and walking tours of Harlem en route to discovering Harlem’s historic past and its present-day realities. In May 2015, students performed this original work at East Harlem Repertory Theater for their family, friends and Middle Passage supporters. By examining the lives of a few of Harlem’s history makers (James Baldwin, Faith Ringgold, Arturo Schomburg, Langston Hughes, and Lorraine Hansberry) students gained deeper understandings about the impact of structural racism in communities like theirs.
Our vision for education was included in our playbill: Middle Passage will offer an alternative to a market-driven education in a community beset with environmental and societal challenges. And because we recognize students’ social-emotional needs are as important as their academic-intellectual needs, we’ll nurture and retain students most at-risk of dropping out of school. Our approach to education is experiential, collaborative, communal, intergenerational and family and community based. It’s also constructivist and socially and politically relevant to the lives and experiences of our students.
Middle Passage School for Life founders know that brilliance is coded in the DNA of Black and Brown children. We also know that historical trauma remains steeped in Black and Brown communities, and every day, children bring these multiple realities to school. What’s different at Middle Passage is we honor our students’ multiple realities, but we let nothing stop them from unleashing their brilliance. Using Restorative Practices, students and faculty actively participate in creating communal spaces for building community and solving problems. Through the Restorative Circle process, we create an environment of support, accountability and unconditional love.
Unlike market-driven education that prioritizes test scores, the primary measure of success at Middle Passage is how well students treat themselves and everyone in their school and home communities. Our Middle Passage Social-Emotional Learning curriculum teaches students to value themselves and others, practice peacefulness, trust their inner knowings, and persevere while thriving on challenges and setbacks.
Our Academic-Intellectual curriculum is project-based, experiential, intergenerational and, as previously stated, socially and politically relevant to students’ lives and experiences. Our students’ semester-long I Can’t Breathe! study examines the epidemiological impacts of environmental racism and structural inequality in marginalized communities. Essential questions including, “Who can be free?” “Where do I come from?” and “Is our environment friendly?” constantly challenge students to think about themselves and their place in the world. Middle Passage graduates leave confident in their ability not only as teachers and learners, but as informed citizens of the world poised to change their world for the better.
Long before it became imperative to acknowledge structural racism and its impact on our nation’s educational system, teachers and parents at Middle Passage Inc have been organizing to create a liberation school for students of color. We’ve…
|Volunteer +||Location||Date Posted|
|Research Librarian||New York, NY||February 20, 2021|