Thursday, July 30, 2009

Royal Castle Day Care

Today we visited Royal Castle DC. It was an experience in committment and gave new meaning to the word "child-centered" pedagogy. The Director, Ms. Harris, was energetic and resourceful, not to mention, a true mentor to her staff and surrounding community. This was a labor of love. My time was spent organizing and labeling materials related to everyday operations. The days have winded down and I pray that this endeavor has very positive ends.
Today we visited the Royal Castle daycare, and thanks to Mrs. Pearlie Harris the owner and operator, I was able to work with the toddlers in Mrs. Kelly's class and assist Mrs. Harris with office work.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Working up a sweat

Hello, it's Rebecca again. We've been hard at work here in New Orleans - everyone arrived here safely (yay!), and then we got started right away at KIPP Central City Academy. Some of the work so far has included labeling, laminating, book sorting, bulletin board making, and alphabet book copying. Since this will be the first year that KIPP has first graders, we have been helping put together the first grade classrooms. Here we are getting all those books sorted in the science lab.

Today, a few of us worked at Happy Times Preschool and after evaluating the school and giving suggestions for improvement, we cleaned up two book/toy areas and threw away old materials. The kids said it looked nice when they came back in from playing outside :) Take a look at the area Joan and I worked on:

Tomorrow a few of us will also be visiting Royal Castle Kids Preschool, so hopefully we will be of good help there as well. We've all been enjoying our time here, getting to know each other in the evenings and taking in the sights of New Orleans. We'll keep you posted the rest of the week!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Wonderful Experience

Hello all,

This will be my second trip to NOLA and my second trip to NOLA as a part of the service learning project with NLU. The experience is priceless and unforgettable. It is amazing to see the growth KIPP did in the week I was there. It is even more amazing to see where the school is now after its first year in its new location. I was so proud to be a part of helping a school get on its feet.

I understand and firmly believe that education is the key to any door. I am happy to not only be a part of giving keys to the students I impact through teaching but giving keys to a community of people dreaming to get back on their feet. I believe our trip to NOLA is a way of giving a key to teachers, principals, parents and most importantly students!

At first, you may think the work they have you doing is mindless but when you see how much that helps each classroom grow into a mini community your heart really skips a beat. I felt like a star after I put together a sand box, took out trash and put balls on the feet of chairs. My effort allowed the teachers to focus on what really matters, the education of the youth. We as a team allowed teachers to have valuable hours discussing how to create a challenging curriculum and engage students. To a teacher, that time is priceless.

I hope to have an even larger impact this year. I want to support the teachers in any way possible. This year, I hope I can support other going on the trip as well. I know that once again I will have an amazing, unforgettable time in NOLA helping in any way possible.

Excited for time number two,

Adrienne Waller

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Getting Ready

I'm Rebecca Leung, the AmeriCorps VISTA working with Karen Roth this summer to coordinate the NLU service-learning trips to NOLA. I've only been at NLU for a month, but so much has happened in that short amount of time. The second week of June, I traveled down to New Orleans with Karen and Todd Price to scope out the situation of the schools, and plan for the upcoming trips. We visited the schools that NLU has established partnerships with, and received updates on their progress. At KIPP Central City Academy, I got to see their revitalized courtyard and new playground:

We also checked in with Happy Times Preschool and Royal Castle Kids Child Development Center. On our last day, we had the privilege of touring some NOLA schools still under construction. As the people of New Orleans continue to return to the city after Katrina, more and more schools are getting up and running again. Although Katrina devastated many of the school buildings, it has given the city the opportunity to upgrade and transform the schools for the better. Here we are (decked out in hard hats and safety vests) on the site of Andrew Wilson Charter School, which is getting much needed improvements and remodeling:

Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me to learn about the city, and get acquainted with the schools. I ate my first po-boy, and got to ride the famous streetcars from place to place. Now I am very excited to go down to NOLA again with the July team, and to help the schools open this fall. I will keep you updated as our team comes together and prepares to leave!