Lessons From ‘Butterfly Gardens’
As we prepare to release the fourth installment of Ed Trust’s Echoes from the Gap series, I am excited to introduce readers to five extraordinary young men and women I had the pleasure to spend time with, as well as the dedicated educators in the three alternative settings in which I met them. Since releasing “Butterflies in the Hallway,” charting one young man’s all-too-familiar path to school disengagement, I’ve spent much of the last year following students who are re-engaging in their education in settings that enroll concentrations of previously school-disconnected youth.
Contrary to the popular narratives that say that young people who disengage from school “don’t care” about their education and future, the many young people I met — including the five profiled in this new piece — care, and care deeply. And they are full of potential and smarts, ability and resilience, grit and aspiration.
And contrary to the general assumptions made about the schools that serve previously disengaged and disconnected students, the schools I met them in — one an alternative school, another a comprehensive GED program, and the final, a school in a secure juvenile facility — are the incubators of many a student turnaround and transformation and have much to teach the field about supporting struggling students to success.
This week, you will hear the powerful stories of these students and educators — in their words — in the fourth installment, “Catching Butterflies.” We’ll take you into the butterfly gardens, where struggling students land and educators support their students from struggle to flight.