Lovely and interesting is Missoula. I have had the opportunity to visit and talk with education leaders at two schools here. I have spoken with faculty. I have visited classrooms and seen students in action, and have been able to talk with them a bit. I have interviewed people over a period of two days. The questions have evoked unique and rich conversations.
What I have learned so far is that school, memories of school, the right now experience of school, and the dream of what school can be,
these things…mean a great deal to people in varied yet profound ways.It’s deep.
The educators I have met are incredibly dedicated to not only their students, but to community. The public schools here are small compared to the huge LAUSD school district. There is no lottery. People can choose where they go to school.
The city is smaller, the schools are smaller, there is more choice…but the challenges are huge. Poverty has been pointed to as a significant factor in making school inaccessible for many families as well as for homeless young people who have no family, yet are invited to school. For many, the school is more than a place to learn…it is starkly a place where food can be found, where a clean and safe haven can be carved out..and where caring people take the time to listen…to help…to encourage.
I write quickly to get this down before a walk by the river. I need a walk.