This week, our Locke High School students explain how they developed their presentation for the Digital Media and Learning Conference in San Francisco.

Process

Going through the process of developing a presentation and practicing slides was very stressful and tiring. We felt that we were not going to be prepared for the presentation in time because being youth researchers along with being high school students and community organizers; we had a lot of work to do. Even though we would have liked to have been more prepared, everyone still managed to memorize their slides and we were  able to “bring it” during our presentation. Overall, there was a lot of time and energy put into working on creating the presentation and we were happy with the way it turned out.

 

The Presentation

Our presentation gave people something to take back to their homes. We gave them something that they can share with people. We showed them an example that anybody can handle college level work and that we are capable of producing great outcomes through hard work and the dedication of students and teachers collaborating. The biggest thing we think people took away, besides the understanding of the digital divide in our school, is the inspiration to go and get involved in something to help improve in their communities.

Our presentation took time and effort to put everything together.  We saw that the people in the audience at our presentation seem to be engaged because when we were finished they came up to us and wanted to talk to us about our work. It felt like people left the conference with the urge to take some kind of action within their school. Overall, our presentation was important because we’re not doing it for ourselves, we are doing it for generations to come.

 

Prezi

We first decided to use Prezi because we wanted our presentation to be different and we remembered seeing a fourteen year old use Prezi and he left the crowd captivated. The process of deciding what the Prezi would be about was hard. Thinking about culturally relevant curriculum we realized that a culturally relevant tool that we as the Locke group used was Facebook. After deciding that Facebook was going to be the topic of our prezi, we used snap shots of Facebook to mold the Prezi the way that we wanted it to look. For the most part, we liked the way the Prezi turned out.

 

Impact

At first, we think the audience underestimated us because we are youth but after we presented we think we exceeded their expectations. We think we showed people through our presentation that young people can do research. After our video at the end of our presentation the audience was left with a challenge on how they can go back to their communities to implement technology in their classrooms because it’s part of modern day culture.

What’s Next?

We want to present our presentation, “re-face the book”, to our community but more specifically the administration of our school. For example, our principals, teachers, counselors, deans, the green dot peoples, etc. We want to show them that technology is powerful, as well as to prove to them what youth like us are capable of accomplishing through doing research in our community. Along with presenting to them we will present to A.R.E. members, our partner organization for the Council of Youth Research, in order to inform teachers in other schools about the importance of connecting with students wherever they are at, even if it’s on Facebook.

Sometimes after our presentations we are asked what are we going to do to make changes in our community. We as individuals go out in our community everyday and participate in other organizations and bring the knowledge we gain from places like the Council back to our communities. We engage daily with other youth who have the same struggles in our community and we work to organize on our campus. We are engaged in organizing spaces on and off campus with organization such as: Watts Youth Collective, W.A.T.T.S. Youth Voices, Heart and Soul, Association of Raza Educators, Strategy Center, LA Youth and the Council of Youth Research. As we stated earlier, we are busy students. But we are busy because we are constantly fighting for justice. Now we ask you, “What are you going to do to change society for the better?!?”
<3,
“A Tribe Called Locke”
Council of Youth Research – Locke High School
[*this document was written collaboratively on googledocs]

Check out the video below of our presentation at the Digital Media and Learning Conference. Plus, here is the link to our Prezi: Locke HS Prezi

 

Council of Youth Research students pose for pictures after their presentation at DML 2012

This week, Council members from Roosevelt High School reflect on their experience in San Francisco.

Josey Garcia, 12th grade

When Mr. Lopez, the Roosevelt High School Representative for CYR, told us we were going to San Francisco to present, wow! I was excited! How often do inner city youth get a chance to speak out for their community at a conference? First arriving to San Francisco on a Wednesday night, we went straight to bed. From morning to evening, we spent all of Thursday polishing up our PowerPoint presentation. It was exhausting! But we got it down. Once we were satisfied with our finished product, we did run-throughs with our teacher and Nicole. Once they were satisfied, we went to bed. It was hard for me to fall asleep because I was so nervous. Friday finally came, and we were ready! All of the schools were confident and supportive of each other. The inspirational talk from all of the teachers before presenting motivated me even more. We went in there and gave it our all. I felt a part of every presentation because these are issues not only occurring in their schools but in mine and in many other schools around the country, as well. I and every other student went into the room with confidence and left with having an impact on everyone in that room.

I am thankful that this program not only gave me the opportunity to speak about the issues prevalent in my school and community but also gave me the opportunity to visit colleges that I’ve never visited before – San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley and Stanford University. I fell in love with UC Berkeley! I would definitely consider going there. Overall, the experience was great, and I’m glad that I participated in the Digital Media Conference and visited San Francisco.

Stephanie Sanchez, 11th grade

Wednesday February 29, 2012. The CYR groups from the five separate high schools unite as we board the huge bus that will take us to San Francisco for our presentation at the Digital Media and Learning Conference. And there we are, sitting on a crowded bus full of strangers and friends, on our way to San Francisco. The drive is long – eight hours. We work on our presentations for a while; along the way, I fall asleep.  I awaken to the growing murmurs of those around me. I’m too tired to remember how nervous I am. I forget all about the presentation, mesmerized by the beauty of San Francisco. The lights. We’re crossing the famous Golden Gate Bridge, and everyone is impressed. Our hotel is nearby, so I stay awake. It’s overwhelming, as I simply can’t believe I’ve made it all this way  – that I’ve survived an eight hour bus ride, that I’m in San Francisco! We make it to our hotel. All I can feel is the coldness of the air and the heaviness of sleep. I’m exhausted. I walk up to my room on the third floor, get ready to sleep, and sink into bed.

Thursday March 1, 2012. I wake up to the rhythmic beeping of my phone’s alarm, disoriented. I don’t know where I am. Only one thought rushes into my head: “Where am I, and what am I doing here?” Surveying my surroundings, I slowly begin to realize where I am – I’m in a hotel in San Francisco! My heart leaps for joy at the realization that the previous day was not a dream. We really are here, and soon, we will present. My group and I spend the day working on our PowerPoint presentation, practicing and revising it in the evening. Near midnight, we finalize it and try to fall asleep, anxious about our presentation only a few hours away.

Friday March 2, 2012. The day has finally come. The numerous hours spent working hard to create our PowerPoint and to outline our presentation has finally paid off. We all dress up, ready to present. The teachers give us a pep talk that boosts my confidence and lifts my spirits. We enter the conference room. Sitting amongst the audience, my group and I wait for our turn. We are second to last. It is time. My heart begins to pound, my knees tremble; it is my first time presenting before an audience of adults. I take a deep breath and walk to the front of the room. We present. Applauded by the audience, we exit the room and walk into the hallway, where we’re congratulated, patted on the back, high-fived by the other students. I feel the love and support in the room. I feel at ease, but shocked that I had the courage to present. We take our seats, and the last group presents. Everyone does amazing. To celebrate our job well done, we visit San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley – two great schools with stunning campuses!

Saturday March 3, 2012. On the last day, I awake with mixed feelings: I’m sad that we’re leaving the Bay Area, but thrilled to visit Stanford, my dream school, and to go back home to my family and friends. Heading to L.A., sitting on a bus with my new family, I reflect on the trip and on how much I’ve grown through CYR. I’ve evolved – morphed from a timid girl frightened to present even in front of my own friends to a confident, powerful young lady able to present in front of a huge crowd of strangers. I know now that I am capable. I have the potential to make a change in the community. This experience is a step closer to my ultimate goal – to change the world. It has opened my eyes to the many issues prevailing in my community and has encouraged me to take action and demand change.  Furthermore, having the rare opportunity as an inner city kid to visit three college campuses in San Francisco has inspired me to consider these colleges as well as many others far away from home. After high school, I will pursue a higher education and take with me this experience to better the world.

Irma Galicia, 12th grade

The trip to San Francisco was amazing. I had never been there so I was amazed. I got to meet a lot of new and interesting people. But most of all I got to meet new and amazing intellectual students who undergo the same issues that we Roosevelt students endure on a daily basis. It was empowering to know that we as students are not alone in this fight toward the betterment of our schools. Thus we are students from all over California, yet we are a united front and we are unified to attain not only self-improvement within our selves but also our community and especially our schools. I learned that we as students are not alone in our fight – we have numerous adults who support us and will help us strive towards success.

The presentation was nerve wracking – I was so embarrassed and nervous. The thing that really helped was that the adults were so understanding and supportive of our cause and us. Therefore it made it easier for us to speak and express our opinion even stronger. I believe I did okay – I was extremely nervous, and to my dismay I began to shake. I know that I could have done better, but I was content with my performance.

Mark Olvera, 11th grade

My time with the Council Of Youth Research in San Francisco was a much-appreciated experience.  During the long ride I couldn’t believe this was possible because our funds were not guaranteed & at one point I wouldn’t have thought this could happen.  The first days we spent in SF were full of hard work for every school because we were all preparing for our presentations.  We communicated well by giving each other feedback and advice.  I also like that we became close and comfortable with each other toward the end of our trip.

Before our presentations I felt nervous because I needed to know my lines.  Once we finished presenting I loved the feedback that all the adults gave us because it was encouraging.  While being asked a few questions after our presentation, everyone was emotional as we were all grouped.  The adults gave us a lot of attention and it motivated me even more to do good at home. This trip was life changing for me by showing me how much students are capable of and what I am capable of.

Cinthia Gonzalez, 12th grade

I never thought I would have fun doing something that I love, which is to teach people about the issues we face in our schools. This opportunity came before me when I joined the Council of Youth Research. I learned how to be a researcher and this experience has helped me become a better person and to understand the complexities of the issues we face. So when we took the trip to San Francisco and presented to the Digital Media and Learning Conference about the issues we face with technology in our schools, it was a new experience for me.

Going San Francisco was really a great experience. I not only had the opportunity to visit college campuses, but I made the decision that San Francisco State University would be the school that I would attend after high school. Although I applied to other schools and still have a decision to make, I know that San Francisco is the city I want to live in. This trip really encouraged me to make a decision to be on my own.

But what made this whole trip worth it was the fact that we were the only youth presenting in the conference. To me that was amazing because we were able to represent the youth from our schools and give them a voice through our presentation. As a Roosevelt student I was proud of my peers for all the work we did to present our research about discipline policies and how they can discourage students from attending college. I learned that youth face problems with discipline policies that stop the growth of students. With all this knowledge that I gained from the trip it made me realize that we have to continue to do research, organize and create a better education for students. It made me realize that we do need technology in our schools because that can help us tell our stories and become tech savvy. I left San Francisco with fresh new eyes and now realize that this is what we must overcome to have a brighter tomorrow.

Our Manual Arts students are the first to share their reflections. 

Katherine Bermudez

The trip to San Francisco was pretty darn scary. I didn’t know any of the other students and I had no idea what the environment would be like. Preparing the actual presentation was probably the hardest, most frustrating part of it all. The long days and frustrating moments paid off, though.  Coming into this so fast made things even more frightening, but now I think that’s just part of the process.  During the actual presentation I felt like I would pass out right in front of everyone but I managed to get through it. The compliments and congratulations at the end felt wrong because it didn’t feel like I did anything at all. All I did was give a presentation to a room full of people. I don’t know why it took so long, but I realized what we did back there could really make a difference…even if it starts off small.

Sitting back and observing what other students of the Council had to say was kind of eye-opening. I’ve never seen students put so much heart in what they believe in and sticking to it even when adults didn’t necessarily agree. Sharing and learning felt pretty good and I’m excited to do more of that in the years to come.

 

Lexus Cruz

Since our trip to San Francisco, I feel that I have gained more confidence in myself. Getting to meet more students from LAUSD high schools was a wonderful experience, especially since they were so welcoming and friendly. I know that without the support of my peers, the Council, and the Black Male Youth Academy (BMYA), I would have had a full-on panic attack. During the presentation I was so scared, but since the presentation, my public speaking has improved greatly. I look forward to working with the Council and the BMYA in the future.

 

Patricia Odilon

What can be done when people are leaving the Council little by little? That’s the one thing that came to my mind when I felt disappointed about four of my group members getting out of the Council.  Out of 6 students—4 seniors and 2 freshmen—only 1 senior and both freshman stayed at the end. Me being the only senior, I knew that I had to set an example for my fellow freshmen members. Knowing that I was the only senior, I kept two things in mind: 1. I had to move forward no matter what obstacles came in front of me. 2. I would work very hard with the freshmen and not let them down. The process was hard, but we made it through. Putting ideas together and gaining thoughts from each other made us communicate better. Working through the struggles we faced actually made us stronger because we all had faith in each other. I learned a lot from working with these freshmen. I can’t be any prouder of them because they showed everything they are capable of. I know that when I leave the Council this year I will leave Manual Arts in great hands. I love these freshmen and I will take them inside of me forever.

 

 

We Need Your Help!

Posted: January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Please visit our Kickstarter fundraising page and help the Council of Youth Research travel to San Francisco to present at an educational conference. We will be creating a documentary film about our work!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1985362043/young-critical-minds-fighting-for-educational-just?ref=email

 

ABOUT OUR FILM

We have been invited to present our research at the upcoming Digital Media and Learning Conference in San Francisco, CA (http://dml2012.dmlcentral.net/). This conference brings scholars, educators, and students together to explore how digital technology can be used to support student learning. We will be sharing how we use technology to conduct and share our research in order to improve our schools and communities.

We think that this presentation gives us the perfect opportunity to document how we do our research, what it means to us, and how people respond to what we have to say. We plan to take viewers on a journey to show them the history of our program and all the work that it takes for us to prepare for our presentations. We want to show everyone the power that young people have when they raise their voices and demand changes in their education. We also want to show how we support each other as we work towards graduation and going to college. It’s going to be great!

WHAT WE NEED

We need money! Our teachers and supporters regularly contribute their own money to help us with supplies and travel, but we can’t do it alone. We will use the money you contribute to help us with travel costs to and from San Francisco. We will also use these funds to purchase the supplies we need to make the documentary.

We would be so grateful if you would help us fulfill our dream.

Students from the Wilson group present at UCLA

Happy new year! We’re kicking it off by sharing reflections from Wilson High School students about their research. They are partnering with the Asisan Pacific American Legal Center to inform their community about healthy food options and getting involved in the El Sereno Community Garden at their school.

 

Anna Cordova

This research is important to me because I want to help the people in my community be more knowledgeable about their food options and how they can eat more nutritiously. I don’t think it’s right that the people in my community don’t have the same options of healthy and organic foods as people in more affluent neighborhoods. I truly believe that my groups research and our partnership with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) can help broaden people’s definition of healthy organic food, make people think about what they’re actually putting into their bodies, and through all that make our community just a little more close-knit.

 

Andrew Gordo

This research is significant to me because this is my community and I am able to see the resources we have compared to other richer places. I see there is a gap between the two areas. I feel as though we are seen as being ‘less than’ due to our community and because of this, we lack healthy food sources (organic foods) and green spaces. It all adds up and ultimately many people in the community have health problems, including my grandmother. I hope that through this research, we can change the perception of the way we are viewed and can have more healthy resources and green space. Along with this I hope to get the community involved in working on a project together that will inform and help to grow and give each other a voice.

 

Denise Gonzalez

This topic is personally important to me because I feel as if we are working towards a healthier community.  We can make changes if we are dedicated to them.  Some personal things I plan to achieve through this research of promoting healthier food choices, is to get myself healthier.  I want to be a role model in my community.  I believe that together we can make a change and become a healthier community.

 

Perla Angulo

The topic of promoting healthy eating in the communities of El Sereno and City Terrace is important because it is the first step in creating a change.  Looking at the garden grow and noticing students getting involved and also parents is a wake up call that we can become a healthy community.  This topic is also important because it creates unity amongst our community including children and parents.  What I hope to achieve by partnering up with APALC is to promote healthy eating and having a healthier lifestyle in general.

 

Yamileth Morales

The topic of promoting healthy eating in the community of El Sereno and City Terrace is important to me because I feel we can lower the obesity rate in those communities.  Nowadays more and more children are becoming unhealthy by eating at fast food places and not eating enough nutritional foods.  What I hope to achieve while partnering with APALC is to teach our younger generation and parents to know what healthy eating is and why it is so important to not eat at fast food places.  Instead, they should shop at stores where they provide healthy fresh food.  With motivation and support we hope to achieve that our community provides healthy fresh food for everyone.

Roosevelt students presenting their research at UCLA this summer

This week, Cinthia Gonzalez from our Roosevelt group explains the research that students are conducting about discipline policies at their school and their campaign to get their peers to college.

 

Don’t be outside talking.

Stop chewing gum.

Don’t listen to music.

Pay attention or I’ll call the dean.

Students in different schools have heard this, but in LAUSD schools, it seems like a daily routine, a repeating tune stuck in our heads. The way students are being disciplined for not following rules is perceived as just a way to keep things in order. But for us it is more than just discipline or order. For Irma Galicia, a member of the Council of Youth Research, discipline policies turned into a truancy ticket. “As a freshman in high school I received a truancy ticket while walking alongside my school campus. That image will forever be engraved in my head, the humiliation, sheer terror and utter astonishment that I, a Roosevelt High School student, was being treated as a mere criminal and not a student. Time passed by and I didn’t pay much attention to it, until junior year when my school conducted a conference devoted to our school system in which our whole class was to research and conduct a lesson plan to teach underclass men what it means to be in unjust system”.

“For me it is a serious situation, it is part of my daily life and has been when I first enrolled in a LAUSD school at the age of 5. As I grew up I learned that the discipline policies at schools play a key role in our education as Latino students. I went more depth with this issue during this past summer, where I attended a program called the Council of Youth Research (CYR) at UCLA. What this program did was transform me from being an organizer to a researcher. I learned to analyze and dissect the issues we face in our communities,” says Galicia.

The purpose of disciplining people is for them to learn from their mistakes and start anew. It does not mean a suspension, which can lead to bigger things like tickets then the court system. That is why the CYR has chosen a campaign in which we can make changes for Roosevelt High School. The organization we are working with to address these issues is called Inner City Struggle (ICS). ICS has been working with students from East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights and parts of Lincoln Heights to educate, organize and inform everyone, on the obstacles we see in our schools for years. “School Prep, Not Prison Prep” is a campaign ICS is launching. The main purpose is for students to gain a higher education, and not end up in prisons cells like many past students have done. This means that the campaign is here to work with students, administration, teachers, and parents to change what the discipline policies look like at Roosevelt. The work they are currently doing can create a better environment to ultimately have more students in schools than in prisons.

The Roosevelt group has decided to tackle the school to prison pipeline. Alongside Inner City Struggle, we will work on a campaign called “School Prep, Not Prison Prep” that is devoted to embedding a positive mentality to encourage students to stay in school and thrive. I love knowing that our research, hard work, and dedication will be the start of depriving those naysayers that my school is a drop out factory. Hence, I cannot wait to see all that we are soon to accomplish, for we are about to undermine stereotypes. I would one day like to see Latino students receiving a proper education, instead of being channeled into the prison pipeline. Thus I will look back and know that I played a small part in the reconstruction of this hegemonic system. I was never aware of the situation that was going on inside and outside my school. After researching about the school to prison pipeline and how students are getting pushed into prisons rather than college I felt as if I had a voice, a voice to inform my peers. By working together we will continue to turn every page to change what is going on in our school and community

Now our group plans to interview, conduct surveys and listen to the voices of the school to really understand what discipline policies mean to students, parents and the community. We will also analyze how discipline and law plays a role in in the overall society. Our data analysis will give us a bigger idea on how to empower students and give them the power to say what they need to say about discipline policies.  Stay tuned for the work that we will be doing throughout the year!

 

Students from the Locke group presenting at the Council of Youth Research's summer seminar at UCLA

We’re back! The students of the Council of Youth Research are continuing their research (after working on their college applications). This year, the students are partnering with local community organizations and conducting research that informs and extends their work.

In our first post, the students from our Locke group explain their research on culturally relevant teaching. Each week we will update you on what our students are researching.

 

“Walking down Locke’s hall feelin’ like you’re in jail,

for eight full hours ain’t got no culture* to pay the bail.

Eurocentric values are all you can show and tell.

When the curriculum is against you, you might as well be in hell

Continuing the cycle to drop out and fail”

*Culture meaning intellectual wealth

The poem above articulates the ongoing struggle on our campus as it relates to the lack of culturally relevant curriculum.

Our Locke group represents high school students from a divided campus (Locke 1, 3, Locke Tech) as well as students from other high schools (Narbonne and King Drew), and even middle schools (Gompers and Curtiss), who meet weekly to conduct critical research on the problems that impact the quality of our education.  Our current research focuses on the quality of education through Culturally Relevant Education.  Through this research we are trying to figure out why quality education is not a norm in classrooms and schools throughout the urban community.

A quality education does not just mean being taught in the 5 basic subjects, but teaching students things that would not only better themselves, but would help them find themselves.  It also helps them take those skills and apply them to life. As a group we decided to work alongside the Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E) organization because we both believe that students should be taught a quality education through cultural relevant curriculum, which isn’t currently happening. We wanted to plug in and support A.R.E by attending their Freedom Schools, going to some of their meetings, and helping them by conducting research.

We believe that the research part is especially important because we feel that A.R.E has been fighting to promote quality education for students for years, and research will help them understand the core of the problem.  From there, we came up with these questions:

  1. To what extent is culturally relevant curriculum being taught in school in Los Angeles?
  2. What barriers do teachers face in providing a culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy to their students?
  3. What impact can curriculum that is relevant have on students?
  4. What other spaces that teach cultural pride ? What are their impacts? How is this done?

We want to ask teachers these questions, and survey students to get their opinions on this so we can better understand what’s going on in the classrooms and what needs to be changed. More updates soon!