Real-world Experiences Open a World of Opportunity for Students
Twice a week, the 16 self-named Freedom Writers of Little Rock’s Henderson Middle School trade their backpacks for boom mikes, producing a podcast at the local radio station for their school community.
“It’s all about them. It’s their deal,” says educator Jeremy Williams, faculty-in-charge of the class and himself a product of the Little Rock School District.
“They’ve produced episodes on the cafeteria food, the new principal, breast cancer awareness, issues going on in their community. It’s whatever they research and come up with.”
The seventh and eighth graders are part of a new program supported jointly by the Walton Family Foundation and the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and implemented by ForwARd Arkansas—a public-private partnership seeking to enhance equity and improve student achievement across the state. The effort aims to make deep connections at an earlier age between classroom learning and real-world career paths.