High school students from Rockwood and several other St. Louis-area school districts participated in an educational freedom seminar Jan. 29 at the Cortex Building in St. Louis. The event, featuring author and educator Dr. Bettina Love, was titled "We Want to do More Than Survive."
It was co-sponsored by EdHub STL.
Drawing on personal stories, research and historical events, Love offerd her vision of education justice.
"I hope students gather ideas about who they are, why they are special and how they can be a part of change in social movements," said Love.
She was asked what Rockwood students and staff can do to further the cause of equity.
"Oftentimes we think to teach about race, we have to have black students," said Love. "That's not necessarily right. We all have to learn. We all benefit from the ideas of social justice and equity. It's about pulling everybody up to these ideals – white students, black students, Latino students. The idea has to be distributed regardless of the student demographic."
Rockwood Executive Director Student Services Dr. Terry Harris helped organize the event.
"I hope these students come to understand that their voice matters," said Harris. "They are free to express what they need and desire from education. More importantly, they need to know they are connected with other kids from other Rockwood high schools, as well as schools in St. Louis city and county, St. Charles County and East St. Louis."
Harris prompted students to exchange contact information with others at their tables.
"These students can build lasting relationships and partner together to make St. Louis a better region," he said. "They can take this back to their schools and continue the conversation. These young people can say they heard this great presentation about making sure they feel included, making sure education is innovative and creative, and have that conversation with their teachers and principals."