A Starfish Story

The first time I met with this student, he would not look at me. We stood there in the hallway, and he looked at the wall, the ceiling, the floor. He nodded and shook his head. He answered in monosyllables.

This student is on my focus list for problems with behavior, academics, and attendance, so he had D’s, F’s, and suspensions last year. However, he is bright. He just has trouble keeping himself from goofing off with his friends.

Last week, report cards came out, and my student had all B’s and C’s. He had passed every class, and I was so proud and happy for him! As soon as I saw him, I went up to give congratulations. I told him that he should be proud of himself and that he had done a great job.

“No,” he said. I asked him what he meant.

“Those grades aren’t good enough,” he responded.

“Oh, what grades do you want?” I asked.

“A’s and B’s.”

I somehow managed to keep myself from jumping up and down, and we had a conversation about what he needs to do to get there. He gave me thoughtful answers, and we made a plan together.

The next period, he was back to smacking his friends and running around the classroom. But everything has changed, because now I know that he, himself, wants to get there.

– Cora Henry, first year corps member of the CSX Team at South High School


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