In this edition of Education Disruption, we’re hearing from Map Academy students right before they graduate from high school. As they reached this milestone, they were tasked with reflecting on their journeys as part of a storytelling capstone assignment.
In high school, Jennie kept finding herself in trouble. There was a lot going on at home and school, and she would be involved in drama, get into fights, and fall behind on her schoolwork. She knew she needed a change — that’s when she found her way to Map Academy. At first, Jennie still struggled with distractions, including conflict with other students. But at Map, students like Jennie are given the support and tools they need to navigate their emotions, practice self-control, own their behavior, and feel empowered to make better choices. “Having to leave school and not be able to learn because of fighting made me realize that I can woman up and not fight in school,” she says. Now, Jennie is a high school graduate, and she says she’s reached a new level of maturity.
Jennie: I’m kind of nervous…
Nick: I’m welcome back to Education Disruption. In this season we’re talking to soon-to-be graduates of Map Academy, a high school in Plymouth, Massachusetts that puts students at the center and does things differently. As a part of the graduation requirements for Map Academy, students are asked as part of their capstone assignment to write a reflection on their journey towards high school graduation. Today we’ll be hearing from Jennie.
Jennie: I am Jennie. I’m 19 and I’m a Map Academy graduate.
Nick: In her reflection, Jennie talks about how she’s become more mature over the [00:00:30] course of her high school experience and how changing schools and coming to Map Academy impacted that journey.
Jennie: A moment in my life I’ve been the most proud of myself is my maturity. You wouldn’t think that I’ve been through a lot, but I have — with family issues, friends, people, just everything. I hung around the so-called popular people and still dealt with drama. I don’t know why, but everyone hated me. I was always in drama with someone, even some of the people I hung out with. People were so fake. It got to the point where I needed a change. [00:01:00] I ended up going into alternative classes, but it honestly wasn’t changing.
Nick: We asked Jennie what made her realize that she needed that change.
Jennie: When I was like falling back on schoolwork and stuff, trying to hang out with people instead of doing schoolwork, fighting, being in drama, hanging around the people that weren’t the good group.
I heard about Map Academy. I started going to Map and I loved it. Even though it was different, I still ended up dealing with drama. The first few months were cool, but then one [00:01:30] day I looked at her, she looked at me, now we’re fighting. Honestly, I just have a mean face, but I ended up getting into a fight.
The difference is that at my old school, I’d probably be expelled and put back in school suspension when I get back, but at Map, I just couldn’t come back for a few days. Now, every time there’s drama or something, I try to stay out of it. Even if I’m in it, it’s different because I’m at school to learn not fight. That doesn’t mean I don’t fight anymore. It means I’d rather not fight in school. Having to leave school, and not be able to learn because of fighting made me [00:02:00] realize I can woman up and not fight in school.
Nick: While there are still consequences for getting into fights at Map, Jennie says those consequences are a lot different than what she experienced at her previous school.
Jennie: I would say they’re disappointed that I got into a fight at school, but they would just keep me in the section. They’ll keep the person in the other section and then if I had to be sent home, I’ll be sent home. At that point, it’s whatever because I understand what happened and my consequences and everything.
Nick: Jennie is one of Map’s founding students, meaning [00:02:30] she’s been at the school since its opening. We asked her how the school has changed since then.
Jennie: Oh, a lot of people here are matured, it’s different. Everybody was in everybody’s business. We was always in the stalls doing what we do best, always in the bathroom, but now everybody’s into doing their schoolwork. I don’t really see that much drama here anymore.
Nick: She says that Josh and Rachel, Map’s Co-Directors and Co-Founders, have supported her along the way.
Jennie: Josh and Rachel, they had a big impact on my time being at Map, getting into fights and stuff,[00:03:00] Josh would always be there and he believes in me. I can see that he believes in me because now that I’m where I’m at, he’s happy. Honestly, he noticed when I just started coming to school and going right to class. He would tell me like, “I’m impressed, good work.”
Nick: We asked Jennie if there were other influential people in her life, pushing her to get back on track towards graduation.
Jennie: My mom kind of I guess, she just wants me to graduate honestly. When I was in Florida for the two months, she was like, “I just want you to graduate and [00:03:30] just come back, come graduate,” and I’m here, I’m going to graduate.
Nick: After achieving this milestone, what’s next for Jennie?
Jennie: I want to do cosmetology. Either I’m going to do it out here or I’m going to go back to Florida and do it.
All in all, I believe I’m a whole different person. Maturity takes a lot to realize and overcome.
Nick: We want to thank Jennie for taking the time to share her journey [00:04:00] with us and wish her the best of luck on her journey through cosmetology. Thank you for listening through this episode of Education Disruption. If you did enjoy it, please leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice, and make sure you’re following the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes. It’s also helpful if you share episodes with colleagues or people that are also interested in this world of education and doing education differently.
You can find more information, students’ stories, and resources at educationdisruption.org, and you can learn about Map Academy at [00:04:30] themapacademy.org. My name is Nick Tetrault. Our editor is Susie Blair. Our Executive Producer is Kristen Hughes and this is a Hairpin Production.