Radio Rookies: Education Motivation

Posted by Julia Rappaport on January 31, 2014

Facing History in New York, in partnership with WNYC Radio’s Radio Rookies program, helps public high school students develop digital storytelling skills through the Neighborhood to Neighborhood project. Each year, students in the program tackle complex questions about identity, race, education, and crime and violence in their communities. Using interviewing skills and multimedia tools, the students produce original visual and audio pieces. This post is the first in a five-part series introducing finished pieces from the Fall 2013 Rookies. Each post includes connection questions you can use in your classroom to discuss the works or to start your own project. This week: two students from West Brooklyn Community High School look at the unique approach of their school when it comes to student success. Check back next Friday when we hear from two teens who investigate drug references in rap music. Follow along!

Jairo_deskImagine a high school where students are on a first name-basis with their principal and teachers, have personal advocate counselors, and where a failing grade isn't a signal of trouble to come, but a sign that help is on the way. West Brooklyn Community High School is that kind of school. Opened in 2006, West Brooklyn is designed to give students a second chance at earning lost credits and graduating. In this report, students Eddie and Jairo turn the lens on themselves and share how they fell dangerously behind at their previous schools and got back on track at West Brooklyn.

Watch as Eddie and Jairo look at the challenges students face when it comes to success in schools, and how West Brooklyn Community High School's culture encourages young people to thrive:

Connection Questions:

  • What opinions did students express about school and education in this story? How do you feel about school? Is it necessary? Is it enjoyable?
  • JairoandEddie_tour radio rookiesWhat factors, according to Radio Rookies Jairo and Eddie, contribute to "dropping out?" Can you relate to any of these?
  • The mother of one of the Radio Rookies said, “If you don’t have education, you don’t have a good job. You don’t do nothing if you don’t have a good education.” How do you feel about this statement? How would you explain the value or role of a high school education?
  • The students interviewed for this story seemed to have very positive feelings about their current school, West Brooklyn Community High School. What reasons did they give for their positive feelings and success at West Brooklyn? In their words, how did their current school contrast with previous educational environments?
  • Inside of their school, Eddie and Jairo identified teachers, guidance counselors and principals as allies who were invested in helping them achieve their goals. Do you have allies who support your educational goals?
  • Are there other ways that individuals and groups in our society could better motivate students to complete their education? Provide examples.

Go Deeper: Explore Facing History's Resources for Creating Safe and Engaging Schools

The Neighborhood to Neighborhood Project was made possible by the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust and The MacArthur Foundation.

Radio rookies logos

Check out the rest of the “Neighborhood to Neighborhood” blog series!

Topics: Safe Schools, Video, School Culture, Media Skills, Neighborhood to Neighborhood, Facing Technology

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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