MAB Weekend - Saint Louis County 2 (College of Education)

Alligators & Tigers,

Our College of Education partnership returned to Adams Elementary in the St. Louis Public School District for its second alternative weekend trip since last year. For most of us in the group, it was our first time at the school, and those of us who were returning were excited to be back. We were welcomed with open arms and lots of Alligator spirit!
We spent Friday and Saturday completing bulletin boards to brighten up the computer labs where students will be taking the MAP test (a statewide assessment) next week, painting a mural of Dr. Seuss’s Lorax, packaging snacks and headphones for MAP testers, and labeling reading levels for books. We were able to spend extra recess time with tons of wonderful students on Friday and work with some in the community garden on Saturday. On Friday, we watched the pep assembly to get them pumped up for the MAP – complete with a visit from the Normandy High School Marching Band and performances by all of the different classes. Four of us acted as judges to decide winners of the competition for best performance – it was a very tough call, ending with a tie.

Our favorite part was getting to interact with the amazing students and faculty at this school. The feeling of support and community was extremely evident, from the kindness we saw between students on the playground to the way that staff seemed to know all the students’ names, even if they weren’t in their classes. In just the two days we were there, we learned a lot about the environment we want to create and what kinds of attitudes we want to take back into our classrooms. The importance of a positive and caring community is something that cannot be overlooked. The challenges students face are real and the challenges a neighborhood school in an urban district faces (lack of funding, teacher retention, enrollment) are real. The love and the hard work that the people at this school pour out each day is just as real, too.

As a group of future educators, we reflected on our own perceptions of urban public schools and the way they are frequently perceived in general. Neighborhood schools in public districts especially (as opposed to magnet schools or charters) are often perceived more negatively – parents may be less likely to keep their children in them and teachers may be less likely to want to work in them, even when perceptions don’t align with reality. We hope to change the conversations in our classes and within the College of Ed about urban education, and we hope to continue to strengthen ties between MU and Adams.

To the Adams Family: Thank you so much for welcoming us and showing us what a great school looks like and what a difference you are making for each other. Thank you for showing us outstanding leadership and what it looks like to be really in it for the kids. Thank you for sharing your community.

We wish you the best of luck on the MAP (we KNOW you’re ready), but we know your hard work is paying off in ways more important than that.

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