YESS at Shaw Heights

YESS at Shaw Heights

Parent Conferences & Self-Portrait Presentations

Julianna Romero expressed the inner turmoil she feels while Ava Martinez wanted to show all of the issues she has overcome in the during the past two years in YESS.

What an exciting week we had in our YESS program at Shaw Heights! We spent the last week before Spring Break presenting our self-portrait projects, going over grades and preparing for conferences, and writing accountability letters. Our scholars did a wonderful job on their projects and showed such confidence during our presentations. I was also quite proud of the accountability letters our scholars wrote and the way in which mentors helped support this process.

Tyler Parks’ self-portrait from 6th hour.

I was so excited to do our gallery walk and presentations for the self-portraits this week as our scholars have been working so hard on these projects. Unlike many of our projects, mentors and mentees did not work together but rather had to complete their own individual projects. While many of our mentees felt “stuck” at first, it wasn’t long before they were hunched over and hard at work after they took some time to flip through projects from last year and gather their thoughts. Many of our scholars were afraid to be honest in their drawings and depictions but after a few supportive conversations they had the courage necessary to be 100% honest. We ended up with a lot of projects that show how the individual thinks others perceive them and how they perceive themselves–the comparisons were rich with detail and offer a lot of insight, and I am so proud of the bravery shown in these images.

A compare and contrast self-protrait project from 3rd hour.
Dayanara reads her “I am Poem” to her mother during conferences.

After we went over the projects we moved on to preparing for parent conferences by completing scripts and going over them together. Each scholar was required to evaluate their grades from our fall conferences and to state how they thought they were doing now; I then met individually with each and every one of our YESS scholars to discuss their progress. During this time I had everyone working on writing an “accountability letter” to either a teacher or staff member at Shaw Heights. They had to pick someone with whom they had had an issue at some point during the year (even if that issue were a simple as not sharing out ideas or participating in a certain classroom). They then had to apologize for the issue and/or behavior and state how they plan to change in the future to ensure the same issue does not reoccur. The letters were well written and genuine, and I am excited to hand them out to teachers and staff when we return from break.

I was so happy to have so many parents come out for conferences this past week. We got a chance to show parents some of the amazing art projects we have done, and I loved seeing the pride on our YESS scholars’ faces as they read their poems or presented their projects to their family members. Thank you to all who made time to drop by my classroom to speak with me!