September 16, 2009
You are right to state on the main page that there is more to a great school than just state test results. Our students here at New Start have a hard enough time coming to school in the morning due to the many issues they face when they leave our building every day; passing state tests is difficult when you are sleeping on a different couch every night. To outsiders, our kids are 'lost causes.' To us, they are bright, motivated, hopeful young individuals who have dreams for a better future. They help in designing curriculum that is innovative and interesting (cinematography, rocket science, an in-depth study of the 1960's). I have seen my students face challenges that would bring me to my knees, and yet they keep on going. I have seen them get knocked down many times, and yet the next day they are back in the classroom, asking questions and wanting to learn. They teach me about the tenacity of the human spirit every minute of every day. Our staff and students are proud of New Start, despite the fact that we are housed in a ramshackle, run down elementary school -- 90% of our students said if we didn't exist, they would drop out and not attend school again. I love my co-workers, my boss, my students, and most of all I love my school and the opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of kids that the rest of the world has given up on. For me, that makes us a 5-star school to beat all 5-star schools.
- submitted by a teacher