A local congregation lined both sides of the streets at the school the last two mornings, holding signs saying "Welcome Back," "We are Praying for You," and "Thank You." They distributed PopTarts to students and teachers and administrators. This kind of thing makes a big difference in the community, particularly for a school which a few years ago was considered one of the best in Baltimore, but which has now fallen on hard times.
We got the scores for the assessment tests last year. Only 25% of Booker T.'s seventh graders passed the language arts assessments. That compares to 48% in the City as a whole, 70% in the entire State, and 68% in Baltimore County. Howard County passed 85% of its students.
Both morning language arts classes went exceptionally well today. The students did group work. I circulated, helping them find the main ideas of passages they had to read.
After I helped Chanique and Chanaiea, Nate raised his hand. "Hey Mr. G! I saw you helping Chanaiea. You tryin' to get with her? PSYCH!"
Terel is in our second period class. His brother Isaac was the one killed last week. Terel asked for the book The Gun because his brother was reading it when he died. Yesterday Terel wore a pin in honor of his brother, whose wake is tomorrow morning. Tyrone is starting to speak in class a bit after being understandably quiet of late.
Also in the second class Myeesha said "Guess my name, Mr. G." I said "Myeisha" and she told me I was wrong. "I'm Emily. And Da'Shana is Stephanie, and Destiny is Brittney, and Ikira is Vanessa." I said they could quiz me on their new names after they finished their quiz on Friday. On yesterday's warm-up drill, the students were asked how they would each spend $744, which is the amount of difference between what Howard County pays per student versus Baltimore City. Myeisha wrote: "I would have my dog dyed pink. I would buy her a pink stroller. We would go to the mall and buy pink shoes."