Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Robinson's Legacy Serves As Beacon For Brooklyn Elementary School

Great piece on mlb.com by Spencer Fordin, who profiled Principal Marion Wilson of Jackie Robinson Public School 375 in Brooklyn. If nothing else the messages she and the administration are trying to impart on its 550 young students are some lessons that even the Dodgers themselves can use as motivation:

"It's about teamwork and the nine values, and you'll see it in some of my students when they come down," said Wilson. "Even if they don't explicitly say it, everything that Jackie Robinson did is an inspiration. He did things differently, and we believe we have to do things differently, too. As a team. I have a solid team, and we have an interesting mix of kids, a transient population. But I think they see where I'm coming from, and even though I didn't have experience and I wasn't from the community, they saw my heart and what I was trying to do. Coming in with the slogan, 'Excellence is our only option,' that alone made a big difference. ... I had the credentials, but when I came here, I had to show them that despite the odds, I was going to make it. Like Jackie." [...]

Wilson, who is currently working on defending her dissertation as part of her pursuit of a doctorate, is a dynamic and energetic woman of substance. She constantly connects with the students roaming her halls, stopping some to check for a hall pass and others to share a brief personal greeting. Wilson even asks some of her passing students to recite the school creed, a nine-sentence inspirational motto tied to Robinson and stressing the importance of educational ambition.

The affable educator penned that creed herself, and she has the students recite it every morning after the Pledge of Allegiance. And given that fact, it's interesting to know that Wilson didn't always have this mission in mind. Wilson, a natural educator who characterizes herself as "a life-long learner," began her professional career in the marketing field, and she later taught for six years and worked for one at the Harlem Children's Zone before embarking on her current pursuits. [...]

Wilson's secret to improving test scores lies in making the school a more inclusive community. PS 375 holds a Spring BASH -- which stands for Believing, Achieving, Succeeding, High hopes -- and a PRIDE celebration that promotes respect of diversity. The faculty and the students, not to mention their parents, are one big family at Jackie Robinson.

Wilson said that the parents have gotten behind the school as the situation has improved, and she also said that everyone involved is determined to keep PS 375 at the same high level it's achieved. The school was recognized in the top 20 percent of the 1,700 New York City-based schools in 2009, and Wilson thinks that everyone deserves the credit.

I was intrigued by that creed--my own family has something like it which we recite to each other as well--and here's what I found:

The Jackie Robinson School Creed©

The late Jackie Robinson was an extraordinary man.
I live my life knowing that like him, I certainly can.
I can do all things, be all things, and create all things.
I will yearn each day for more and more knowledge.
My dreams will include going to college.
Today, I will respect myself, my teachers, and other boys and girls.
I will live up to my fullest potential to leave my mark in this world.
Success and being the best are the sources of my inspiration,
Because in my heart I know that Excellence is my only option!

We're pretty sarcastic and caustic on this site. But it's nice to see a story like this and remind oneself of the roots of the legendary Dodgers, and the impact their legacies still carry, decades later.

photo: MLB.com

11 comments:

Steve Sax said...

anyone else having trouble on GameDay for the OAK-CWS game?

Steve Sax said...

finally got GameDay to work for the OAK-CWS game.

badges i need badges

Paul said...

I think it is interesting on the Gameday mobile if you click on a game it shows who is at bat and shows their OPS and not their average.

Steve Sax said...

I noticed that too. Moneyball fans, unite!

karina said...

I just got a badge from CWS-OAK game!

Steve Sax said...

just joined you with the Alex Rios badge, my dear karina

karina said...

in a more serious note, I love this, it's refreshing using a athlete to inspire achievement than using sports as a vehicle for hatred and violence.

Long live Jackie Robinson!

karina said...

@Sax I think you and I are hooked on badges, great minds, my dear!

Steve Sax said...

yeah, they are strangely addicting

Steve Sax said...

@karina, did you pick up alex gordon (KC) as well? see NPUT for comment

Dusty Baker said...

On the Jackie subject, I wanted to relay something from Mrs Dusty. Each year, she goes to a school in Pasadena to read to kids on some sort of national we can read day or some such. The particular school is in northern Pasadena in the heart of where Pasadena's own Jackie Robinson lived. Mrs Dusty decided this year to read some new books the had bought on Jackie. The read went well and he was happy to report that the kids were already very well versed in the history of Jackie and the impact he had on the game and society. She said that as she read and asked questions the students were very enthusiastic in demonstrating their knowledge. Mrs Dusty was so proud that Jackie's legacy is alive and well in the neighborhood in which he grew up.

One final humorous note: at one point mrs Dusty was talking about how hard it was for Jackie when he first joined the team and how people were mean to him (she had to phrase it that way bc these were 8-9 years old and she didn't want to go into an all out racism discussion). Then one little boy piped up and said "Except for Pee Wee Reese - he was nice to Jackie!" in reference to lore of how Pee Wee embraced Jackie and had his back. We both thought that was both funny and touching the way the little lad thought that through and expressed it.