We just completed a semester at the Luke C. Moore Academy, where students learned about the history of documentary photography and its role in social justice campaigns. They developed their skills as photographers, writers, and public speakers, and set about using photos to advocate for improvements to their school.
The students overwhelmingly support the school and the second chance at education that it represents. They also think it can be even better. One student, Tony Cotton, noted that ”the way security guards treated students in the morning reinforces the idea of us feeling like criminals. But we’re not, we’re students trying to get our educations." Nadia Rose found that 2.5 hour classes led students to become distracted, so she suggested a brief, structured break. “I think the students would stay in class if they had a break. They would be refreshed and probably pay better attention.” And Cheval Reid highlighted the need for the school to connect students to opportunities outside of school.
Students worked together to come up with concrete solutions to these challenges and presented their accomplishments to the principal and more than 40 teachers and administrators. Not only were the teachers open to hearing the student's suggestions, they gave the presentation a standing ovation! The student's efforts are already making a difference:
Students are currently meeting with security guards to ask for consistent standards and mutual respect, and a copy of the uniform policy has been posted on the front door.
The school is looking at ways to highlight more opportunities for students outside of school.
Students are collecting signatures from others who support the class break and will be meeting with the Student Government Association to plan their next steps.
Luke C. Moore students present their photos and ideas about improving their school to the faculty and school administration.
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