RiseUp Community School
We want students to know they have the power to effect change on a micro level (within themselves) and on a macro level (within their communities).
FACTS & FIGURES
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For adults and children alike, a dramatic change in our environment requires an adjustment period. Whether we change jobs, move into a new home, or enroll in a new learning environment, familiarity must set in before we can thrive. The learner-centered leaders at RiseUp Community School in Denver, Colorado take this reality to heart.
RiseUp serves a community of learners who are asked to leave their “home” learning environment due to myriad issues, including poor academic performance, absenteeism, or unruly behavior. RiseUp leaders know every child who walks through their doors deserves time and space to build trust within their new community. The adults at RiseUp recognize it is unlikely the young learners will trust them from day one.
When one young learner came through their doors, she had her skepticism meter on high alert. A victim of harsh bullying at her old environment, she walked into RiseUp in defense mode—unwilling to befriend her peers and often lashing out at her educators. In the beginning, the days where she didn’t “explode” we’re deemed a success. But, RiseUp leaders knew better days were ahead. At RiseUp, when trust is established, a truly personalized, relevant, and contextualized learning experience can be cultivated. If such trust takes one month or one year to cultivate, these learner-centered leaders will not give up on their young learners.
The young learner took nearly an entire academic year to show signs of acceptance and trust. Once she did, though, there was no stopping her. When she showed up for her second year at RiseUp, she declared “I’m ready to learn this year.” She stuck around after classes to talk with her educators. She took advantage of RiseUp’s open-walled opportunities, developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to earn her CNA before graduating. And, she became a mentor to younger learners. As a teen mom, she became particularly motivated to help other young women who were about to take on similar responsibilities.
This is the cycle of growth and development seen at RiseUp Community School. Young learners are met where they are, and issues that have built up over the course of their childhoods are used as lessons for learning and growth—leading to the unique and wondrous capabilities of every child shining through.
The leaders at RiseUp will be the first to tell you their transformational work has required an immense amount of hard work and dedication from their educators and young learners alike. However, they will also tell you it’s worth it. It’s worth seeing children who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional system see themselves as people who can contribute great things to themselves, their families, and their communities.
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