Eliot-Hine MS 7th grade students capped off their recent English Language Arts cornerstone unit, My Warrior Self, with a trip to the Newseum to see the civil rights exhibit about the tumultuous events leading up to 1968, when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Cornerstonesare powerful lessons that students engage in through the DCPS units of study. This particular cornerstone unit involved reading the memoir Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals, exploring what makes a warrior and how their own definition has shifted, preparing a display about a “warrior” they know, and visiting the civil rights exhibit at the Newseum.
In Warriors Don’t Cry, the 7th graders learned about the nine teenagers who were chosen to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. The memoir describes the dignity and courage the nine teenagers showed throughout their year at Central High School when they were on the front lines of the efforts to integrate our nations’ schools. To relate the book to their own lives, the students chose a “warrior” they know, and prepared a display board describing how their “warrior” took a stand to fight for what is right. At the Newseum, the students watched and discussed a documentary about how civil rights activists harnessed the power of the news media to bring about social change. All of the activities in this unit are intended to provide the students with insights about how to be resilient, and persevere through inevitable challenges they will face in life.
We love to see Eliot-Hine students making real-world connections through engaging in rigorous content! To learn more about the DCPS Cornerstones Initiative, check out their website which includes libraries of examples for each subject,
Heather Schoell: Parent of current Eliot-Hine 7th grader and Eastern HS 9th grader, an Eliot-Hine alum
How did you end up choosing Eliot-Hine for your family?When it was time for my older daughter to choose a middle school, we made a pro and con list. After we got into Latin, we turned them down because the logistics of the longer commute was not worth a life change for all four of us. It would have meant my husband would be commuting into work an hour earlier, my daughter would miss ballet class because she would arrive home too late, etc. More importantly, we chose our neighborhood school because we believe in investing in our community. We could have chosen the charter or private school route, but we were considering a longer term plan. We are totally happy with our choice! My daughters are receiving a well rounded education at Eliot-Hine, and we get to stay in our community.
Maury ES is one of Eliot-Hine’s feeder schools. What helps Maury students thrive at Eliot-Hine? The feeder continuity is so important. Kids get to continue their relationships. For PK3 to 5 grade, that’s 8 years of friendship and relationships! There’s no need for them to all scatter for middle school. Even though Maury is not officially an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, it feels that way with their learner profiles. Maury students are able to continue this learning and familiarize themselves with IB attributes when they come to Eliot-Hine, an IB school.
As a current Eliot-Hine parent, what have your interactions with staff been like? Eliot-Hine teachers are incredibly invested in their students, their successes academically, and navigating those awkward middle school years. I am particularly impressed with teachers who have called on weekends to keep me updated on how my daughter is progressing.
What did Eliot-Hine have that other MS options did not?Eliot-Hine has a campus of over 6 acres with plenty of outdoor space. Compared to charter schools, this was a big plus so my kids could have lots of physical activity. Additionally, being our neighborhood school, the proximity to my home was huge. They are able to walk to and from school without needing to spend time on a bus and get back after dark. They have time to decompress.
How do you see the IB framework shaping your student? Inference is challenging for students. The IB framework really fosters this, whether it’s through reading and discussing text or communicative writing. I see this play out with students and their growth through the years as they practice this in classrooms and their daily lives. I see this setting them up for success in high school and college.
What is an extracurricular you are or your students are involved with? I lead a lunch club called “Talk with your mouth full”. Born out of a book club, we seek reflection pieces and learn more difficult vocabulary. This is a time where kids can talk and express themselves weekly. Our content varies from sharing what we read over winter break, watching video series, or articles. Previously we read about a woman who survived the Holocaust as as child; Carrie Nation, a prohibitionist with a hatchet; and also Hetty Green, the “Witch of Wall Street”.
What do people not know about Eliot-Hine? Parents are surprised that Eliot-Hine has advanced students! We also have a very accomplished radio and TV broadcast led by Mr. Birks.
What would be one word you would use to describe Eliot-Hine? Ascending!
Thank you, Heather, for speaking to us. Our next post will feature a parent interview of a current Eliot-Hine 8th grader.
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