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May 19, 2015 | by David Klein

A Day in the Life of Umoja Staff

David_Klein_Small.JPGEver wonder what Umoja's school partnerships look like on a daily basis? We asked Partnership Development Specialist, David Klein, to tell us about a typical day at Al Raby High School in East Garfield Park. Here’s what just one day looks like for David:

7:40am: This is around the time I’m usually jumping off the Green Line at Conservatory and running down the steps, saying hello to my Seminar students as we all head into Al Raby High School. I’m headed to a busy day with Freshmen, Sophomore, and Senior Seminar at Raby. 

8:00am: The bell rings, and this morning, I’m supporting my Freshman/Sophomore Seminar teacher in implementing a lesson on community, family, and values. Together we facilitate a discussion that asks students to think about how the neighborhood they come from has shaped how they value different ideas. We get into some great conversations that will continue later this week when students start to make a map of how they see their own community. 

10:00am: The Post-Secondary Leadership Team meets today, so I’m headed down to sit with the principal, assistant principal, counselors, college coach, and Seminar teacher to discuss how the post-secondary planning process is going with seniors. We’re looking forward to Decision Day as a team and brainstorming how we can get students to their best fit schools and options after high school. 

11:00am: I head on over to Senior Seminar classes where we are holding academic check-ins with students. A few students are struggling to pass classes they need to graduate so my Senior Seminar teacher and I take the time to touch base with these students one-on-one to make sure they can assess where they are in these classes and develop a plan to improve. Other check-ins today focus on discussing another student’s acceptance letter to one of their top choice schools--it’s always exciting to have that one-on-one time with students to see how their plans are developing. 

12:30pm: It’s time for a quick check-in with the Senior Seminar teacher. We need to develop our plan for classes over the next few weeks. We’ve noticed that students need a bit more time to think about what types of loans are out there for them for college, so we want to re-order the next few lessons to make sure we can talk about student loans and college award letters in the same week. 

1:30pm: It’s time to finish out the school day with Freshmen Seminar. I’m back in front of the class supporting my Freshman/Sophomore Seminar teacher in running a lesson. We’re focused today on being “Solutionaries,” which is our Umoja way of asking students to think about where they can exercise their power, and develop plans and solutions to problems in front of them. Today, the students are trying to figure out how to cross a metaphorical river using limited supplies. It’s interesting to see how they plan out how they might make it across, and the teamwork is fantastic--they successfully helped each other get across! 

3:30pm: The bell rings and the day is over. Before I head out for the day, I check-in with the college coach. We’re tracking down seniors who need a little more support in figuring out their best match, for next year and we make a plan for how we can touch base with those students later this week.