Our Blog

Summer Bridge (Rising) – First Day!

Written by Mariyam Sumareh

Today marks the first day of Summer Bridge for the students at The Laboratory School of Finance & Technology! It is exciting to see many young faces gathered after the year we have experienced. Throughout today, students across the grades engaged in academic and enrichment activities.

We had over 100 students attend summer programming, and we are excited to keep the momentum going. One thing for sure is that today has been a success. It’s exciting to know that this is some students’ first time being in the building while doing their whole sixth grade experience virtually and were able to engage with their classmates and instructors.

Through all of the first day challenges, we were able to get it done thanks to the students’ flexibility and the drive of all of the amazing staff. Students were able to sample the enrichment activities, exploring and getting a taste of each club so that by the end of tomorrow they can choose where they would like to be for the remainder of the summer.

The enrichment activities available to students this summer are:

  1. Guitar

  2. Fitness & Sports

  3. Visual Arts

  4. Performing Arts

  5. Table Tennis

  6. Creative EQ/Ceramics

  7. STEM 101

  8. Debate

Take a look at what our students had to say about their first day:

“Today was awesome. I got to meet new teachers and classmates. I got to learn more stuff about the school. So now I’m prepared for the school year.” – Juelz Perdomo, 6th Grade

 

“My day went good because I got to make new friends and I got to see new faces. It was good to get to know the teachers” – Juliet Flores, 7th Grade

 

“My first day here today was fine as we did a lot of fun things like play a game for our birthdays and engaged in Ice breakers” – Anonymous student, 8th Grade

 - 07/07/2021 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

Arete Youth Service and Leadership Fellowship

Arete is proud to announce the hiring of Yaritza Montiel, a graduate of the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (MS/HS 223) and alumni of Arete programs, in the new position of Youth Service and Leadership Fellow. In this role Yartiza will be leading youth service and leadership initiatives for middle school and high school students across our programs in Mott Haven. She will be focusing on the areas: financial literacy, community service learning, advocacy for racial equity, food security for children and families, and high quality job access for youth.

Yaritza is enrolled at Cornell University and is majoring in Information Science and also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. She will be taking a GAP year for the 2020-2021 school year and during this time will serve as an Arete Fellow and figure out what she is passionate about, enjoys doing, and should explore for a future career. We are thrilled to have Yaritza join the team.

 - 12/01/2020 - sbsd@areteeducation.org
racial-gap

Love and Racial Justice Youth Leadership Initiative

This month Arete is launching a Youth Leadership Initiative integrating the topics of Love and Racial Justice.

What does love have to do with racial justice?
Can understanding the dynamics of love lead towards racial justice?

When prompted, many of us can list all of the injustices that racism has caused in our society. However, can we discuss what it would look like if racial justice was achieved?

Discussions of love as a force of healing are often neglected in talks about racial justice. Research has proven that love is a powerful force of healing in the body and has a positive outcome on the lives of people who experience love.

Starting November 12, 2020, we are inviting our student and alumni leaders to join a year-long study on these topics. Monthly hour-long sessions (5 pm on Thursdays) will provide spaces for youth to engage with expert coach and facilitator, Dr. Maria Akinyele, who is serving as Arete’s Coach in residency this academic year. She has designed a six-part series of workshops, where youth leaders will explore conceptions of love as a pathway for imagining and achieving racial justice.

Our your leaders will:

  • Develop an awareness of self-love and your love identity.
  • Explore different understandings of love as a feeling and as an action.
  • Understand the role of love in racial justice work
  • Explore protocols to engage in racial healing conversations amongst staff and students.
  • Engage in love study of yourself, others and society.
  • Explore visions and models of racial justice
  • Develop equity stances and statements that promote racially just school environments

Beginning in February 2020, our youth leaders will begin working with Dr. Maria to design bilingual family workshops on the topics they are exploring in their work and offer those sessions in English and Spanish for all families in our school community.

This youth leadership team will also begin working as professional learning facilitators in Arete Forum sessions as all staff across the organization follow the lead of our youth leaders and delve into the topics and learning activities presented in the 6-part workshop series. Our youth leaders will be co-facilitators during those professional learning sessions.

At the end of the youth leadership initiative, we will have 8 certified youth leaders on the topic of racial justice and love, having gained 25 hours of learning and coaching. We look forward to the new community learning initiatives and service projects that come forward through this focused work over the year.

 - 11/11/2020 - sbsd@areteeducation.org
Screen Shot 2020-08-25 at 9.10.19 AM

Restoration=Power (Self-Care and BLM)

The Black Lives Matter movement is not something that has recently emerged in America– it has resurfaced. For centuries, America has been a place that has constantly neglected the issues at hand regarding black people. There have been constant battles from the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1950s to the late 1960s, to the modern day Black Lives Matter movement that was started back in 2013, which is still very relevant till this day. Our American system is built on principles made to serve white men, and has been buried by slogans like “liberty and justice for all,” when in reality justice has countless times never been served for the black innocent lives lost due to the systemic racism present. 

It has been the job of the people to stand against the corrupt American system and fight for basic human rights that everyone is entitled to. There should not be a fight, but there is. There has been, and it will continue until the system is truly changed to serve everyone like they promised. 

The Black Lives Matter movement is particularly important to me because most of my life up to this point, I’ve been influenced by so many black people who have shaped me in ways unimaginable. From my childhood friends, my mentors, music teachers, and my family members I have felt so closely connected to, I feel so enraged about the current state of the country and bias against people who I have felt so much love for. Fighting for your personal community is a form of advocacy I have been exercising. Contributing to this movement and understanding why it is so important, is part of my own growth through continuously learning about shared worries black people around me and nationally have.

The worries black people share nationwide through social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, have educated me and have brought awareness to issues that are far from the surface. As I’ve read and read through countless posts, articles, and looked at pictures, it instantly made me think if everyone deeply affected by the issues at hand have been taking care of themselves. It made me worried that the strong black people I am so inspired by through their bravery, were looking within and finding ways to stay in touch with themselves. Mental health during these times is incredibly important because sharing with the world your traumas and fears can be draining, so recharging is essential in the restoration of power. Through restoring oneselves power, your voice will be used to its full potential and clearly heard by those like me who are allies. 

Self-Care & BLM 

Many people don’t think that self-care is important during these times because there are greater problems to worry about and advocate for. However, advocacy looks different for everyone, and can actually be tied to anything relating to the honoration of black lives. For example:

  • Painting/Drawing: Painting and drawing are effective ways to perform self care because your focus will be turned over into your art instead of everything else. The problems going on don’t have to be ignored, but instead brought to light through art. Painting and drawing your feelings can help liberate your mind from the stressors contributing to your current worries.
  • Journaling: Journaling is a way where you can be completely honest with yourself and spill everything you have been feeling onto a piece of paper that no one else has to read. This will help in the organization of thoughts and feelings, making it easier to understand yourself and your feelings. This can also help you realize what you truly want to use your voice for the next time you speak up.
  • Reading: Reading is a form of escape from the real world into other stories that have nothing to do with you. Pulling out a book to read can help ease your mind but also give you new perspectives as you go. By reading books by black writers, you can take a trip into one of their stories and connect through their words.
  • Exercise/Dancing: Having feelings of frustration can psychologically be released through exercising. Dancing, more specifically is a gift that can be twisted in a way to serve you physically but also mentally. It is exercise, but also a fun activity to do with your family and friends. During these tough times, putting on music by black artists and dancing will be a way to enhance black artists’ voices through your own self care.
  • Listening to Music/Making Playlists: alongside dancing, listening to music can be a great way to amplify black voices. The stories hiding within music can be an escape from reality, similar to reading books, and you get exposure to the works of art that these artists hold dear to their hearts no matter the genre.

My preferred self care activities would be dance and listening to music since they come hand in hand. Dancing has always been a way for me to destress and recharge myself. During these times I have dedicated myself to learning some dance routines to songs by black artists that I admire. One of these artists being Lizzo. Lizzo is not only an icon of being confidently beautiful, but an inspiration to the black community in general. A black successful artist who has done nothing but spread positivity and light; she should be celebrated through times like these. Black lives matter, her life matters, her father, uncles, cousins, brothers lives matter, and all of her black fans that she inspires matter. 

More on BLM and Music

I decided to make a BLM Playlist and put together songs that I have been listening to throughout this month. There’s a variety of genres included within the playlist so you can either skip around or listen directly through the whole playlist. I recommend listening to the whole playlist because new black creators can be exposed to you, and by streaming their music as a form of self-care, their voices will be magnified. Black lives matter, these artists’ lives matter, their fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers lives matter, and all of the black fans that these artists inspire matter. Here is the link to my playlist:

https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/blm-explicit/pl.u-Ymb09NqTP8Pm8G9

I urge everyone to engage in a form of self care during these times. The Black Lives Matter battle is nowhere near over and the movement needs activists who are strong and powerful. Restoration of power is essential in working towards a changed future, and we will get there. Like Lizzo once said:

You know what I want above all things? I want people who are aware of my music right now, to believe in change.”

 - 08/10/2020 - Rose Padilla

50 Ways You Can Help

For the past couple of the days the BLM movement has turned into an unrest of wanting equality. Many people do not understand the movement because they fail to realize the privilege they have. Seeing several articles on how to stay in involved and what type of media you should be consuming so you are much more aware of what is going on. Here are a couple of lists of media I have seen that can help someone understand.

10 movies/shows you can watch that speak on these issues are…

  1. When They See Us (Netflix)
  2. 13th (Netflix)
  3. American Son (Netflix)
  4. See You Yesterday (Netflix)
  5. Dear White People (Netflix)
  6. Freedom Writers (Netflix)
  7. The Hate U Give (Hulu)
  8. If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
  9. 16 Shots (Hulu)
  10. Hidden Figures (Hulu)

10 Children Book that speak about race…

  1. Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Be Malcolm X, Ilyasah Shabazz
  2. Let it Shine Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, Andrea Davis Pinkney
  3. Something Happened in Our Town A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, Ann Hazzard, Marianne Celano, and Marietta Collins
  4. My Hair is a Garden, Cozbi A. Cabrera
  5. My Family Divided, Diane Guerrero
  6. Lailuh’s Lunchbox, Reem Faruqi
  7. Moses: When Harriett Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, Carole Boston WeaherFord
  8.  Happy In Our Skin, Fran Manushkin
  9. Little Leaders Bold Women in Black History, Vashti Harrison
  10. A is for Activists, Innosanto Nagara

10 Petitions you can sign…

  1. Arrest Jared Campbell who maced little girl: http://chng.it/wGPvrnB98T
  2. Justice for Sandra Bland: http://chng.it/gMHfz8gsdc
  3. Justice for Breonna Taylor: http://chng.it/2LnHYJnrYK
  4. Justice for Ahmaud Arbery: http://chng.it/mMgKzRTq9w
  5. Implement Mandatory “I can’t Breathe” Training to All Police Academies: http://chng.it/ZLqM5kDbF9
  6. Justice for Sean Reed: http://chng.it/VpdQYqxqkR
  7. Justice for Emerald Black: http://chng.it/XfMbjGmKGq
  8. Mandate Police force to take “Racial Biased Test”: http://chng.it/MJLzvm8zbm
  9. “Hands Up Act”: http://chng.it/xy4GvHDxfS
  10. Justice for George Floyd: http://chng.it/Rsns9HGJPp

10 Organizations you can donate to…

  1. Brooklyn Bail Fund: https://brooklynbailfund.org/
  2. Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/
  3. This YouTube Video was created to donate if you don’t have money. If you click on the link it will take you to the video and ads will play do not skip the ads and that money will be donated to different BLM organizations.
  4. Bail Fund: https://bailproject.org/
  5. Black Lives Matter Foundation: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019
  6. People’s City Council Freedom Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/peoples-city-council-ticket-fund
  7. Campaign Zero: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/
  8. Black Vision Collective: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/
  9. Liberty Fund: https://www.libertyfund.org/
  10. Higher Heights Leadership Fund: https://www.higherheightsleadershipfund.org/donate/

10 Podcast to listen to…

  1. 1619- NY Times
  2. About Race
  3. Seeing White
  4. Code Switch
  5. The Diversity Gap
  6. Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
  7. The Combahee River collective
  8. Pod Save the People
  9. Pod for the Cause
  10. Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberle Crenshaw

 

 - 06/06/2020 - Yaritza Montiel

Black Lives Matter

In unprecedented times, hate raises; police brutality continues and creates horrible situations for people of color. Which makes you think, why is this still going on in 2020? The truth is that America has not yet evolved to be able to have equality among all races, and with this, it creates deadly scenarios for some people. That makes people fear going outside, fear authority, fear just living in America.

After recent footage of George Floyd getting knelt on by an officer repeating,

“I can’t breathe”

the protest broke out, riots followed, as well as various stores in Minneapolis being looted, where the original incident took place. George Floyd was arrested for trying to pay with a counterfeit bill. He was brutally attacked by police for this reason.  People are tired of the racism and are looking to do something about. Once the crowd got “out of control,” they were tear gassed, causing many people to get injured and need to push back. When getting tear-gassed, people ran in a local Target to get supplies. Running into this store led to worse things, eventually looting the Target and other big businesses such Dollar Tree and an Auto Zone.

“Ignorance is bliss for the majority, but ignorance is death for the minority.”

The same story every time, just a different person. The hatred has to end, and it’s not going to take one protest or one person speaking up. It’s going to have to be more than that. Racism that happens in the police department is not something that should continue to happen. No one should die because the color of their skin. NO one should be feared because of the color of their skin. This is something more than just one person dying at the cost of a racist police officer. There are so many people who died for reasons they shouldn’t have.

Say Their Names

Everyday it’s another life that has been lost due to carelessness. Black people should not have to put their lives at risk just to receive equality. It is sad to see how much progress we have not made as a country, to continue to be living in a time like this. Stay educated and stay informed. Stand for what you believe in, and use your voice, because if you don’t, injustice will continue.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”    -Desmond Tutu

As the protest continued, the Minnesota National Guard was activated to help aid officers to be able to control the area. None of this would be needed if there was equality, if a Black person would have not lost their life to an unreasonable matter.

Here are some links to support

Donate: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

Support: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate

 

 - 05/31/2020 - Yaritza Montiel
intern tutors zoom

Intern-Tutors Engage their Peers in Remote Learning

“The most rewarding part about my tutor experience has been being able to showcase my abilities in helping people in hopes that they will gain from me, the same way I gained from my teachers.”

Joselyn, 9th Grade Intern

20 High School Students have joined an Intern-Tutor Program led by Mr. Edward Martinez

This 16-week internship program initially began this spring with 8 high school interns preparing to gain job-embedded skills to enter the education field through an innovative internship program at the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology led by teacher leader and Areté Education Director of Professional Learning, Edward Martinez. Since the ramifications of a global pandemic have radically altered the context for the internship, these high school students (now swelling to a group of 20!) are now serving as the lifeline for middle school students during the final weeks of remote learning for the 2020 school year.

“The best part of it all is learning and teaching at the same time.”

-Jose, 10th Grade Intern

Below is the program description for the first cohort of 8 intern-tutors, as designed and written by Mr. Martinez.

The goal of the 16-week Internship Program at Arete Education is to prepare students at HS 223 for job opportunities in the education field. Interns are provided with professional development centered on leadership skills, curriculum development, and social-emotional learning. The weekly work schedule allows for each intern to provide 6 hours of small group tutoring services to middle schoolers who need extra help in ELA or Math. The interns also receive up to 4 hours of professional development per week to support their growth. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all professional development is now being delivered through remote learning via Google Classroom and Meet.

“What I find most useful about the Intern-Tutor experience is learning how to manage classrooms, create lessons, and work with students.”

Natalie, 10th Grade Intern

The Internship uses a community service-learning approach where the interns study education issues and receive specialized training in order to address the academic and social-emotional needs of MS 223 students. Interns who successfully complete the internship program, walk away with updated resumes, portfolios of the work they completed and recommendation letters they can use for future employment. The interns will also have an opportunity to be employed in the summer and fall programs that are operated by Arete Education and its partners.

“My intern experience has allowed me to gain many useful skills such as the ability to manage classroom behavior. This skill is very important when dealing with children and this internship has given me the necessary tools I need…”

-Chanel, 12th Grade Intern

The Interns are currently in the process of preparing enrichment club lesson plans that align with the workshop model. They partnered up to design fun and interactive lessons for the after-school setting. Last week (April 16th), the interns had the opportunity to receive guidance from MS/HS 223’s Principal, Dr. Gonzalez, who participated in a Google Meet session. The students engaged in a discussion to critique each other with feedback. Much of the suggestions that were provided were rooted in consistency with having clear and measurable objectives, simplicity, and alignment. The lessons ranged in genres from analyzing song lyrics, drawing 3-dimensional objects to creating a space for team-building. Dr. Gonzalez was impressed with the high level work that the interns were doing. Before the session was over he let the interns know that “It takes years for teachers to learn these concepts, but you are all showing your learned them after a couple of sessions… Pretty impressive!

“One thing that I have found useful about my Internship experience is understanding that there are different ways to help students… that being an intern is not only about helping a student, but also about building a relationship in which they feel comfortable asking for help.”

-Evelyn, 12th Grade Intern

“I definitely feel more confident to lead a group of middle schoolers because of how I have been taught to deal with different scenarios that I may face. I just overall feel more prepared. I am capable of creating a lesson for kids that is engaging…”

Franklin, 9th Grade Intern

An afternoon PD session on April 21 via Google Meet with Mr. Martinez, Director of Professional Development at Arete Education and a Social Studies Teacher at MS 223.

 - 05/25/2020 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

Empowering Documentaries for Women

Becoming

 

Based off of her memoir Becoming, we follow Michelle Obama through her book tour as she resonates with young women all over America to tell her story. She not only speaks about herself and her successes but includes hardships she faced, connecting it back to young women in Chicago. Michelle Obama decides to speak to young women in almost every state to see how they view the world and to listen to the hardships they face.

“I crave some longer experiences with young people. Through the community events. The tour could do a great job of giving me a little taste of it.” 

She gives them advice and makes sure that they are not giving up, making sure that they follow their dreams. Following the story of the first woman of color becoming the first lady and having her husband be the first Black president. She speaks about her experiences in the White House and how it has had an affect in her life. Telling stories from her childhood to adulthood and how they made her the woman she is today. Students in colleges asking her questions about being a successful black woman. What it actually means to her to preserve. 

“I have been at, probably, every powerful table there is in the world. I’ve been at G-summits, I’ve been in castles and palaces, in boardrooms and academic universities. And I’m coming down from the mountaintop to tell every young person that is poor and working-class and has been told, regardless of the color of your skin, that you don’t belong, don’t listen to them. They don’t even know how they got into those seats”

Knock Down The House

This movie is a little different because it is not just about one person but four different women from different places across the US trying to speak up. This shows how just to get one seat at the table is extremely hard to do and to see that only one of the four women makes it is very devastating. The four democratic women who run are Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin all back in 2018 who were trying to get a seat in congress. 

“Being a woman of color, our image is really scrutinized. You have to speak like this, you have to dress like this, I decided that ‘Yea, I don’t care.’ Basically, you deal with it. You know, people in my district, this is how we look. I’m going to serve and represent the people of my district.” Cori Bush

The movie does primarily focus on Alexandra Ocasio Cortez because she ends up getting her competitor. But also the true story that the women went through in order to transform Congress. Politics are includedm but it helps to show this side of how and who influences politics. All women make reasonable claims about being a woman trying to have your voice heard in this day and age. Overall, it is very uplifting to see AOC Bronx born to succeed and represent minorities in congress. Ask and propose the things that are important to the working class. 

“For one of us to make it through, 100 of us have to try.” AOC

I believe that overall these two movies are by far some of the most empowering movies that actually help you see the bigger picture. These movies tell you a story of different women and different upbringings, but at the end of the day they still end up succeeding. Both AOC and Michelle Obama have made just a big difference in people’s lives. Their stories are one of a kind but still stories that us minorities can find hope and motivation. Motivation to stand out and continue proving people wrong. Being the person to speak up for when something is wrong, not being afraid to give up when it gets hard. These documentaries are very helpful to young women as well to be able to see the harsh truth of the world and to learn from it. To show women that even if you fall, get back up and try again.

 - 05/20/2020 - Yaritza Montiel

Copyright 2020  Areté Education © All Rights Reserved