As my senior project comes to an end, my list of assignments has dwindled. In the past 2 days, I’ve mostly just hung out with Melissa and talked to her about life. I did get to call a couple of independent schools about giving us information about our seniors. I felt so grown up talking to receptionist and getting patched through to other offices in the schools. For the most part though I’ve just been sitting around doing any odd job that the Alliance team can throw at me. I am so happy to have worked with them this year. I don’t really know what I’m going to do with my time now that I won’t be working here anymore. I’m happy to have been given the opportunity to work with such a nice, inclusive group! I brought them donuts today and Herson ate his first donut in 10 years! We’re reaching milestones together. I really hope I can work here over the summer my dudes.
On Friday, Kaela and I went to visit a charter school in Culver City who were interested in partnering with us. The man that we had been in contact with was super excited to have us come to and present in front of his coworkers, so we came in expecting the same type of attitude…. we were wrong. The principal and 7th and 8th grade teacher representatives were less than excited to see us and were very critical of ISA. Kaela and I were a bit nervous because we only had a 20 minute slot to talk to the 7th grade teacher rep and she was the one with the most importance to us (the application process for ISA takes up to a year!). On the drive back to the office, Kaela and I discussed how we thought the meeting went along with unpacking why this meeting made us feel so uncomfortable. We couldn’t help but notice that the people we met with were almost all white men making decisions for the majority Latino population in the school. Hopefully they prove us wrong and decide to partner with Alliance in order to give that population the oppportunity for an independent school education. The meeting was very, as Kaela put it, “gate-keeper”-y with the idea that they would decide whether or not parents would be able to handle the application process. When we got back, we had a team meeting and discussed how it went along with something else entirely. I proposed we start a program that would be like a process group for students of color (not just ISA students). A process group is like a venting group for people and ours would focus on racial discrimination/racism in their schools. I am currently working on the project proposal and I’m extremely excited for this program!
I finished my project proposal because I realized time was running out and I didn’t want to call people anymore. I am still calling people to inform them about events that ISA is putting on this summer! I spent almost the entire day making phone calls and working on my project proposal. Kaela wasn’t here today so I couldn’t run it by her. Maybe I’ll do so on Wednesday.
Today’s post will be a combination of two days. Yesterday, I got to work a bit late (ugh traffic) and started working on Kaela’s research project for me. I find that it’s incredibly hard for me to research, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do in the future. I was told to research community partners that would help ISA get in touch with different parts of the Los Angeles County. ISA has seen a drop in Latino applicants, so my focus was on Latino communities. I did that for most of my day. I was now just pushing myself to finish up at 4 so I could complete my hours. Then the water bottle fiasco (there was water EVERYWHERE) happened and it was time to go!
Today I got to work earlier than usual and was put to organize all of the enrolled students information into a spreadsheet. I spent about 2 hours doing that because there were over 100 students! Afterwards, I began to call all the families to inform them about some events ISA is hosting. I was most excited about calling — typing for 2 hours is no fun and I craved human contact. I obviously couldn’t get through the 100 families today, so I will most likely continue tomorrow. I’m hoping to be able to impress ISA with my work skills so I could get hired on as a paid intern over the summer. Let’s hope it works! Working with ISA these past couple weeks has helped me connect with the company that completely changed my life and I’m hoping to continue to be involved even after my senior project.
So, today was a whole lot of…..nothing. I came earlier than I had before, 12 instead of 12:30 (I’m really enjoying sleeping in) and hoped I’d be working with Melissa again because I didn’t want to confront the inevitable. However, today was filled with just working with Kaela so I was forced to research. My project as Kaela’s intern is to research organizations like Alliance that provide a pathway to private school education for low-income students of color and come up with a comprehensive list of programs those organizations have. I spent about 2 hours researching the organizations she had already listed off for me when I hit a wall. I ran out of organizations! I didn’t really know where to go from there so I doubled back and started scrounging the resource pages of some of the organization’s websites. Even then, I felt I hadn’t done enough so I asked my good pals Aalia and Rewena to help me research. They came up with the great idea of using New York Times articles about education segregation to find more organizations. In all I found 44 programs and impressed Kaela, so yay! Now I’m finally done working on that mind numbingly dull excel worksheet and I can write my own program analyses! Let’s hope they turn out well and that they’re useful to ISA.
I didn’t go to work today until 12:30 because I needed to drop my mom off at work. The office is a lot farther than I thought it’d be, but I think I’ll get used to it. I arrived to a pretty much empty office — the rest of the office was off at en event. Kaela, who I’ll be working with for the majority of my senior project, gave me a quick rundown of what she thinks the next three weeks will be like. Then, she gave me a tour of the office which was pretty small. On the wall they have pictures of students who had gone through their programs and one of the students was Amandla Stenberg, which I thought was awesome! Kaela and I continued to talk about what I want to get out of the experience as well as what she needs from me. We decided that I would mostly be working on programming ideas and organizing events for the summer. I spent the majority of my time researching other organizations like ISA to help stimulate ideas for possible program ideas for the next round of Alliance students. I was supposed to meet with Herson (yes, Mr. Mojica!) and Melissa, another woman I’ll be working with, but they didn’t come back after the event. I’m hoping to meet with them tomorrow!
Also: The Independent School Alliance is a non profit organization that focuses in private school admissions counseling and placement for low-income families of color. I applied and enrolled into Vistamar through this organization back in middle school.