At it’s heart, the SEL Experience Project is community organizing. It’s bringing people together to share our collective concerns and wisdom to create positive change in our community. It’s not about PR, spin, or sugar-coating. We know there are tough questions out there and we formed this community to help address them. We received a new comment on the blog that we feel the community should address together. This parent loves the community but is reluctant to send her sons to our schools. We’ve reprinted her comment below with the hope that you will have something to say on the topic that might help allay her concerns, but also to improve the overall school experience for everyone.
“I am really happy that there seems to be a trend here toward families staying put and investing in a walkable neighborhood with great natural resources and affordable housing. The porch parties and mini parks and neighborhood gardens are wonderful. I truly love living here.
But, I hesitate to send my two black sons to South Euclid Middle School and ultimately the High School. And, it is not the kids. I wonder if the school has the skills to educate Urban Children. My daughter went to Brush and tells me how masses of black children are treated. Where are their stories in this blog?
Drugs are a huge problem with a certain population here. If my boys are not in advanced placement classes how will they be treated? How will they be educated? What type of expectations and unwritten curriculum will effect them?
And, don’t tell me to just listen to the stories that other families are telling. I want to see the classes for myself so that I may form my own opinion. Make the schools more open and allow community dialog so that parents and teachers/administrators can interact. I want to know more before I send my kids there.
I do love living here in South Euclid. I would like to be able to send my children to the schools so that I can avoid taking them half-way across Ohio to school.”
9 thoughts on ““I hesitate to send my two black sons to South Euclid Middle School and ultimately the High School.””
My suggestion is visit each school during the school day. Contact Mr. Williamson at Brush. explain your interest in visiting and arrange a visit during the school day. Be there during class change. Go to a PTA, band, sport or orchestra booster meeting, stay after ask questions.
As a parent of a black male who graduated Brush in 2011 and who attended SEL schools since first grade, I can now say that he received an excellent education. He is working in his field as he recently graduated from DePaul University in Chicago and another one of his Brush alum is currently a law student at Northwestern University in Chicago. Another fellow Brush alum who is also a black male was accepted and attended the University of Chicago. Drug use is rampant in private schools and public schools and that’s something that really needs to be addressed at the parental level although some private schools have taken to mandatory drug testing. I can’t speak to what is happening with South euclid-lyndhurst schools in 2014 but I would encourage you to visit the schools as you state it to get a better feel for the atmosphere and curriculum. It might also be helpful to attend a school board meeting. I applaud your openness and willingness to give the school district a chance with more information. Good luck on your quest.
I have three children 2 girls that graduated one in 2013 and one in 2015. My son is a sophomore at Brush. I’m sad to hear you say this. My oldest daughter was in honors classes, college, Excell Tech program, orchestra, clubs and sports. She is a well rounded child who took advantage of all the wonderful programs this school system has to offer and is beyond shy and quiet. She is in her third year of college. My middle daughter was an average student took one honors class played an instrument and was in Excell tech program and sports and is finishing up her first year of college. My son is in 4 sports at Brush, AP classes and clubs and is at school from 715am till sometimes 10pm at night. He is safe, secure and is a confident young man. Drugs are apart of any school system but I highly doubt there is a huge problem at our school. We have so many kids in sports who work out and take care of their bodies. They don’t have time for drugs. I agree with Hope you should schedule time to come visit the schools during classes and after school to see just how many kids who stay after school for Plays, singing, art, clubs and sports. Mr. Williamson has good connection with the kids as do the school board members and Administration. The Superintendent is a dynamo and gets things done in our school system like never before. Everyone thinks the grass is always greener somewhere else but I will say this: my middle child had cancer twice. I got a call from these wonderful teachers at Brush and they said my daughter was so behind because she missed so much school. Guess what they came to my house with no pay, I didn’t ask them to and it was because they have heart! They got her caught up simply because they cared. She graduated on time and with a 3.1 GPA. This is rare just like our school is. It’s safe, exceptional, and you don’t hear stories like the one I just told anywhere else.
Jodi: It sounds like your family would be perfect for an SEL profile story! Let us know if you are willing.
Stay connected, ask questions, listen when responses are offered and most importantly be equal to what you expect from those that handle our children every day.
Your concerns are valid. I am all about supporting community schools. My boys (black males) have been in the schools since K, now in 4th and 5th. I have concerns, too. I have been subbing at all the schools the last few months and am very concerned about the fighting in the junior high as well as the rampant disrespectful and crude behavior from students I have observed in 3rd grade and above. Now there are students who can and do rise above but they seem to get ignored in service of the ones who act up. A child shouldn’t have to be in Honors classes to be able to learn in a safe and respectful environment. One of my thoughts is that many kids need social skills training and practice that they are not receiving at home. I am very open to suggestions but also extremely concerned about what I have seen and sending my kids to jr high or high school.
If you are willing and open, we would love to have an in person meeting to answer more questions and continue this important dialogue. Do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will admit that the scools are not perfect, but there really is something unique about SEL Schools. My 3 (white) sons have had really good experiences in the system as a whole. You have fighting and drugs wherever there are teens. I grew up in a very segregated area of suburban Detroit. It was one of “the best” districts by reputation, but believe me there were drugs, and crime. I saw it first hand on a daily basis. People were brutally bullied, and fights happened fairly regularly.
One thing my sons have unanimously described about Brush in particular is that there is little to no bullying happening. They feel free to be whomever they are without other kids making them feel badly about themselves. They make friend choices based on personality, rather than race . The majority of the kids I’ve met of all races at Brush have been friendly and open. In that way their high school experience is far superior to my own “highly rated” education.
Are there problems? Yes. (The lack of a Computer Science program at the high school is appalling. The imbalance of parental involvement has me puzzled. You would expect the racial balance of the parent volunteers to be close to the 70% black majority, but it isnt.) But all in all I love Brush High School.
I don’t know what you mean when you say “urban” students? South Euclid and Lyndhurst are suburbs. You get out of the district what you put in. If you get involved with their education, meet the teachers, volunteer when you can, make yourself visible, this district is responsive and helpful. If you stand back and criticize from afar, you perpetuate the problem.
Thank you for sharing that, Jenn!