By Jacquelyn Horstmann - Director of Development and Communications
Critical Exposure students have made an indelible impact in their communities and through their peers since our founding in 2004. Since our founding we have served more than 1,600 youth. D.C. students have used their images to support efforts to create new school resources, fix deteriorating facilities, increase job training and youth employment programs, advocate for arts education, improve school nutrition, and secure funding for programs that support homeless youth. Students’ images have been seen by millions through exhibits, community events, legislative hearings, and through the media, includingOprah, CNN, PBS, NPR, the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun.
Our recent accomplishments clearly indicate our ability to not only evoke interest and understanding of the arts in students, but also our ability to inspire youth to use the arts to improve the D.C. community as a whole. Our most recent 2013-2014 accomplishments are exciting. Thank you for the support of the Global Giving community to make these possible.
Students enrolled in our Fellowship program and their campaign to improve school security policies were the recent subject of a Washington Post front-page feature story.
100 percent of our 2013-2014 Fellowship students have graduated, or are on the path to graduating high school. Of those 12 students, seven will be attending four-year universities in the fall. Six of those students are working for Critical Exposure this summer as Summer Youth Facilitators, and one will be rejoining us as a Fellow next year.
At the Deputy Mayor of Education’s FY15 budget hearing, Fellows testified on why they think DCPS schools should implement restorative justice practices. The Fellows’ public demands resulted in a meeting with DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson to discuss possible solutions to the “School-to-Prison Pipeline.”
At the end of the year, D.C. Councilmember David Grosso said that, “Getting to know Critical Exposure students and their work provided me with key insights into how school discipline policies affect D.C. youth. Conversations with these extraordinary young people, advocacy groups, school officials and police officers resulted in my commitment to addressing the problem known as the ‘school to prison pipeline’. As part of that effort, I added a provision to the D.C. FY2015 budget requiring that D.C. Public Schools implement a pilot restorative justice program next year. This achieved one goal of the students’ campaign, and I was glad to work with them to begin dismantling the school to prison pipeline.
Fellows attended an event held by the White House Initiative on Excellence in African American Education at the U.S. Department of Education called "Reducing Disparities and Promoting Positive School Discipline to Ensure Educational Excellence for African Americans."
Students attended the Department of Justice and Department of Education release of Federal Guidelines on School Discipline. Afterwards, one of our students was interviewed live on Al Jazeera’s “Consider This” for his reaction to the event.
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