By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News
Scarlett Middle School students begin every school day with a 20-minute Creating Community through Advisory (CCA) session, during which the CCA teachers engage students on a variety of relevant topics.
“The whole point with that is to not only make sure that, hey, we’re letting you know what’s going on schoolwide but also to facilitate a community of learners,” said Scarlett ELA teacher Muneer Khalid, who co-sponsors the Black Student Union with school counselor Madeline Micou.
CCA topics range from historical to current events, to ongoing concerns of students.
“That’s why for the most part, you have classes of about 12 to 15 students, which is smaller than your traditional classes,” he said. “And we’ll do a range of variety of topics to really talk about some of the ongoing issues that students face here.”
Principal Gerald Vazquez says these CCA sessions build upon a key theme at Scarlett: community.
“The bottom line is that students benefit from a loving and caring faculty who want them to engage in their learning and feel like they own stock in this school,” he says, “And also having a platform to be able to showcase that stock.”
Fridays are extra special because the sessions are student-driven. During February’s Black History Month, students in the Black Student Union put together slide presentations of such as the Black Panther movement and the influence of Black music, which were presented by CCA teachers throughout the school.
“One really big thing the students have told me multiple times is the importance of highlighting different members and allies throughout Black history that oftentimes never made it to the history books or on the news,” said Khalid, noting that the BSU has partnered with the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student group in planning CCA slide shows.
Spanish teacher Anna Gonzalez says her CCA students really enjoyed and engaged with Friday’s focus on Black music.
“They really wanted to share what they love to listen to, and how they interact with the music itself, which I think is great,” she said. “Mr. Khalid does an amazing job centering students’ voices and really drawing out great ideas from the kids.”
Gonzalez said her Spanish class is starting a new unit on afroLatinidad, taking content from what they’ve learned during CCA, and applying it in a Spanish class setting.