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Rise and Shine - Helping to Improve Equity - ACLU OF MAINE SEPTEMBER 2017

This was what ACLU Maine had to say about EECS and Rise and Shine.

It is under the “Equity and Outcomes” on Pg. 37 & 38 in the full report.

To download and read the full report, I have provided the link.


C. Rise and Shine

The Rise and Shine program at Portland’s East End Community School includes the entire student body, not only immigrants, but it is worth highlighting here as an example both of how student empowerment in general can serve to improve equity, and of how a school identified a structural obstacle to student success and worked not only to remove that obstacle but to transform it into an asset. The East End school serves a diverse population, with high numbers of low-income, homeless, immigrant, and ELL students. The school especially struggled with high absenteeism rates, and educators came to realize that the 35-minute gap between when the busses dropped students off and when classes began was a problem. There was inadequate supervision and engagement, and students were getting into fights or leaving school.

The school responded by dedicating that time to enrichment activities, establishing the Rise and Shine program. Every morning students attend one of a variety of workshops offered by teachers and volunteers from the community, which include everything from bird watching and puppetry to video animation and knitting. These are not classes, and students receive no grades. They choose their workshops based on their personal preferences. The Rise and Shine program gives them an opportunity to explore new activities and interests. Educators emphasize that the program allows students to build relationships of trust with adults in their community, helps build their confidence, offers a positive experience to transition students in the morning from often unstable home lives into the school day, and helps integrate ELL students into the school community, as language abilities are not an obstacle to participation. Students look forward to school in the morning. Principal Marcia Gendron recounts the story of a parent who called to explain that her child would have to miss class for a dentist appointment in the morning, but he refused to miss Rise and Shine.

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