A few years back I attended a speaking event at the Howard School. The students at that time were somewhat unruly and disruptive to the speaker. Laughing and talking during the speech.
Their dress was low baggy pants for the young men and provocative dress for the young ladies.
On September 18, 2012, I went back to Howard to hear Dr. Arun Gandhi give a wonderful, inspiring speech on the history of his grandfather and on Dr. Gandhi’s present efforts to obtain peace in the world and in our city.
I found out that at that time there was a new school dress code. The male students wore ties and the females were dressed in dresses or slacks.
During Dr. Gandhi’s address you could hear a pin drop. The students gave him a rousing standing ovation after his speech. Then the students started talking among themselves. Principal Smith approached the podium after Dr. Gandhi had sat down. The principal then said the words “the Howard School” and all immediately became quiet again.
What a terrific turnaround for Howard School.
Congratulations to the administration and its staff, to the teachers, parents, and students at Howard.
Discipline makes you appreciate and gain respect for one’s self.
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Thank you, Judge Bean. I'd like to add, Howard has always had terrific students. They were always little gems waiting to sparkle, given the chance.
One person didn't make the turn around at Howard. I said it way back when, and only got attacked for it, and I'll say it again: One person, along with many others, coming to believe in the greatness and potential of the students is what makes all the difference in whether a child succeeds, fails and how they act, act out and interact.
There has always been so much potential for greatness at Howard and many of these other struggling schools. They only got a bad rap because they're poor and minority. One of my relatives (white female) worked in the office at Howard elementary years ago, when the school still had an elementary. She'd worked at several schools in the city. She always stated she couldn't understand why the students were given such a bad rap by the public, the media and even some of the staff that worked at the school. She said out of all the schools she'd ever worked, those students were some of the sweetest and most well behaved she'd ever encountered. They always addressed her with respect and showed her kindness.
Howard is a school that has great potential. I remember a school that basically never closed. There were always lights on at the school and some event of some kind taking place. There were evening classes for parents to brush up on learning in order to better assist their children with homework, or to even work towards a high school education that many lacked in those days. There were evening craft classes that engaged both parents and the students. After school music classes.
Years ago, and under another principal, Chattanooga State Vocational wanted to partner with Howard and bring some of their classes, such as welding and other vocational skills training classes down to Howard, but was turned down for whatever reason. The classes, I believe, would have been taught during the evenings where parents looking to obtain skills for better jobs could attend. This the Howard the school once was back in the 1960s and '70s. A school that worked for and with the community. Over the years, with different leadership, it deviated away from that. Maybe with this new and invigorated leadership the school can go back and look at some of those things that not only help the students, but to help uplift an entire community as a whole.
My grandson attends a public school in another state. He's only six-years-old and is already reading, writing and figuring on a 3rd grade level. He's involved in many extracurricular activities. He belongs to a boxing team, and hasn't lost a match . He's on a track team, and is on his way to joining a swim team. Children weren't meant to just sit and listen all day. They have too much energy. Physically activity and mental activity compliment one another. They both need the other to survive and thrive. Children who are allowed to be active in extracurricular activities often concentrate on their works better. They also better retain what they've learned.
Having worked in the school system myself years ago, one of the things I came to realize is that children are the same no matter who they are, what social or economic background they come from. They all act out, test their limits and then come full circle to maturing. The only difference is how others react to their behavior and stigmatized children based on their class, race, social and economic standing.