Since RE began in 1995, we have enjoyed a close relationship with Spelman College. We’ve partnered with many of the school’s professors and the Bonner Office of Civic Engagement to give college students real-world experience in their chosen majors. Some of our most committed volunteers and talented staff members have come to us from Spelman.
For the past 8 years, we’ve been asked to partner with one class in particular: Advocacy in Urban Education. This course attempts to examine schools as social institutions, exploring the many ways that educational policy in the US is impacted by society and culture. These are questions that have been a part of Raising Expectations’ ethos since its founding.
This year, the course is being taught by none other than Dr. Lisa Herring, Superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools. Dr. Herring’s qualifications go well beyond academia. Her experience on the front lines of our education system gives her unique insight into the ways that policy affects students, and the importance of taking into account each child’s social and emotional well-being alongside academic performance.
To prepare the college students for service at RE, we hosted a bus tour that introduced them to our facilities as well as the community we serve. During this tour, we were able to highlight the community’s history, challenges, as well as opportunities. At RE, we feel that in order to serve a community, you must first understand the community.
In order to address the systemic disadvantages facing marginalized youth today, we have to first be aware of them. We’re grateful to Dr. Herring and to Spelman College for prioritizing this with the rising group of leaders and influencers.
We’re honored to partner with the APS Superintendent and can think of no one better to introduce students to the complexities and nuances of educational policy than Dr. Herring.