The charter school organization that I work for has a slogan, College for Certain.
Today, I watched what this means in my classroom. After a field trip to Sac State yesterday, my students came in eager to talk about college. Finally able to run their own morning meetings, I eavesdropped from my back table as our Husky of the Day, (our classroom is UW themed), decided to ask the group where they wanted to go to college.
One by one they eagerly shared their top picks. Duke, Harvard, UCLA, Sac State, UC Davis, Stanford… An eclectic mix, no doubt, but a much more thought-out selection than you would have received at my predominantly white, middle class elementary school in fourth grade.
Listening to their lists, I was struck by the significance of their self-created conversation. They nodded in support as new colleges were introduced and gave excited connection signals when their favorite schools were mentioned. Some kids had already picked their future college roommates among their classmates.
It reminded me of my first experiences teaching as a guest teacher at a private school in East Sacramento. There I had been blown away by the conversations that third graders would approach me with– “Ms. O’Bryon, would you like to hear my top five list of colleges?”
College, I thought, aren’t you a little young to have that list prepared?
Young or not, I’m glad that my students, a diverse mix of predominantly low-income kids, are receiving the inspiration necessary to share the same goals with their more affluent peers on the other side of town.