James O’Meara: Laredo, TX– a “Learning City”

So when people when I came here for the first time, the first thing you do is. You want to strangest city. And you want to understand the perceptions of the city, and so when people you talk to people about the right of . If they know the right to exist at all, because some people think that Texas stops at San Antonio and there’s nothing beyond that. If they know the radio, they might say it’s hard. They might say there’s a lot of trucks. On those that border said it must be lots of migrants and all these cartels drugs, so all these perceptions. I said to work with some of the local thought leaders here and. We started to talk about, well, what if the writer was a learning city? What if it was a learning city where we learned to teach for our children and we teach to learn for ourselves? When will that start? Well, actually, the prenatal three space from the second trimester. To school, the first thousand days of a child’s life. It’s so important in the development of the child. And so for us, the journey starts in the prenatal three. And so what we’re starting to look at here is ensuring access to highly effective. first, educators, which is typically in the right of a parent, an aunt. There’s some that do pretty early head start. But with covered, a lot of folks are choosing to keep their family at home. So let’s respect that. So the ideal is we’ve got parents or first educators who are connected to the health system. So our children have healthy beginnings and are able to provide or can access quality, early childhood learning, not care, but learning. Now, if we develop that across our city. So we have this cadre of first educators across the city. They then come to this wonderful school system provided by both the right to stay and united, I say the two largest. There’s also whereby stay in the diocese as well as all the systems work really well. This is something again about the right of people say, Well, the schools aren’t great down here. And you look, it’s not to say, well, actually United Ice-T is the only school district south of San Antonio with back to back a grade rating from the state. The right to stay has seven blue ribbon campuses. Putting in the top 10% of campuses across the country. The graduation rates from the district. In the high nineties. So what do we look at during that space because we still it’s not enough. We need to make sure that we have that pipeline of teachers that come through and return to the neighborhoods if we want to have a quality teacher for all in every corner of Laredo and the surrounding communities. We need people from those neighborhoods. To come through the pathways and return to the neighborhoods and nationally they talk about. Well, actually, Chicago, I saw a great study where it was the average the typical teacher in Illinois was ten to 15 miles from where they went to high school. That’s where they started their career in the rate, it was probably six. It’s a little bit more condensed. So if we don’t have students coming from the fee to schools, the likelihood that they’ll go back in teaching those skills is a bit of an issue. So we’ve got these great children that have come out through this beautiful. And we’re calling it the children’s university and the faculty, the parents. And they’re sharing that responsibility with the city. To ensure their students are ready, ready is a big word in Texas. It’s not just literacy and numeracy, we’re talking about physically ready, so the healthy, healthy beginnings. They’ve intellectually ready socially, emotionally, spiritually. Faith is a very big piece of the community down here. They ready for success to by third grade, they’re having their first testing. And that’s where the fractions comes in and the literacy and numeracy, and so they stay on track and if there’s something happening. Well, the successful TAFE students or the future teachers are pretty happy is the future teachers clubs. They’re reaching back into the lower elementary, in the middle, in the elementary schools. They’re providing they’re serving as these mentors. Those students then have made a significant contact with someone from a club that they’ll remember. And so when they go into middle school, upper elementary, I want to join that future teachers club. And I know because the people that taught me in third grade and now in the TAFE club. I don’t know what I need to do to make sure you pass that math class. Which is a big decision point for dual credit. And if I don’t know what I need to know, that’s where 18 resources come through. To mitigate the impact of a lack of readiness or birthright, a lack of access to a quality educator. And so now I’m moving up into the middle school and I’m starting my journey towards junior high due credit. Now I’m studying TAFE. In the sixth grade and seventh grade. All the way through to about when I’m a junior juniors, the years where I’m applying for college, so I’ll probably step back a little bit and then return again in my senior year to give back, send my TAFE students to a regional state and possibly national champions . Here on the radar of the local university. We know every high school where a student has been, and so we can identify where the challenges are in terms of the pathways or insufficient pathways and the ones that are working well. So I’m ready to that transition point of third grade. fifth and sixth grade. eighth grade, as I move up into high school and then transition from high school to university. And this is where we started with the of chapter because we had four wonderful people which you met yesterday in my class intro to teaching. And I asked if they could have a tough chapter, and this was the whole idea of belonging. They wanted a place where they could connect with do the same things that they did in high school. Which we provided the space, but I gave him the challenge that you need to lead. And so now they this group wonderful group that are providing the mentors for the students transitioning from community college athletes to credit or traditional, and they’ll follow the same path in their freshman and sophomore year all the way up to. The transition to junior, they’ll be the leaders that will be the guide, they’ll be the mentors helping mitigate the trip wise and instilling that sense of belief or see where they issue can. Because you’re from my neighborhood. I know exactly what you’ve been through. We don’t need to generate empathy. They lived experience accelerates or elevated level of empathy. And they provide the support networks through all the way through to graduation, you’ll probably find that some of those folks will end up teaching in the same school. 90/% of our graduates go back into community within five years. Around 80% is still teaching and the similar amount in ten years. So we’re creating this permaculture in our learning city of pathways that lead to prosperity. And also progress for a city.

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