Chakel, an 11th grade law program student at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore City, believes she can make her mark through success in school: “Every day, I work on making an impact on the world.”
But every day, other Baltimore City Public Schools students struggle just to get to school. Every day, many students ride three and four buses to get to school or send younger siblings off to school before heading out themselves. Every day, many struggle to balance chronic illnesses with academic achievement. Every day, all City Schools students face—and challenge—the stereotypes that come with being young people in Baltimore City. And every day, too many City Schools students and families believe that missing school today won’t make a difference.
As the adults in their communities, it is our responsibility to show Baltimore’s students that every day in school can make a difference. Of course, our morning routines are very different from theirs: drinking a cup of coffee, checking the news, driving to work… all the little things that start our every days. But it would be so easy for each of us to build one small act into our every day routines that could make our students’ days a little easier.
Imagine the bus driver who makes it part of his every day routine to wish students getting off the bus a good day at school. The parent who volunteers to walk her neighbor’s child to the school their children share. The deli owner who asks what the young customer with a book bag learned in school today.
We can help the students who missed school today believe that their circumstances don’t have to hold them back from going to school tomorrow; we can encourage each of them to see the possibilities that Chakel sees—the possibilities that come from making every day in school count.
So, how can you make every day count for City Schools students and ensure both their and Baltimore City’s futures?