Brookland Middle School in Washington, D.C  serves children in grades sixth through eighth. It is located in Ward 5. This is one of the largest wards in the city, with more than 90,000 residents. It contains two railroad lines, and several major city streets go through this ward. Thus it has a large concentration of “industrial use” land. There are over 20 distinct neighborhoods of which its residents feel a lot of pride.

Brookland Middle School is newly affiliated with our organization. In addition to its academic curriculum, the school offers programs in educational enrichment (including STEM and a Socratic Seminar); wellness and fitness (including Girls on the Run and Man Up); and Art and Culture (instrumental and choral music, dance, art and design).

The school demographics are 83% black, 17% Hispanic/Latino and 1% white. 12% are English language learners and 57% are identified as at risk due to their poverty. Most qualify for TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Some of the students are homeless or are in foster care.

The children’s test scores are low, but they are making progress. More are taking Algebra I, and those who are taking the class are passing it. This is a uniform school. Sixth graders wear orange shirts, seventh graders wear teal, and eighth graders wear purple shirts.

There are 21 children enrolled on our sponsorship program, with four unsponsored. Although I wasn’t able to visit Brookland Middle on my last trip to Washington, D.C. our volunteer coordinator, LaTroy, wrote to me to express her appreciation why sponsors are so important to students at her school, who are struggling to have their basic needs met throughout the year. 

In LaTroy’s Words

Brookland Middle School is a wonderful school of about 327 students in ward 5 of Washington, DC. The principal, school administration and partners are the true backbone of the school. They work to ensure that all students feel loved, challenged, and prepared.

This year, we have increased our focus on making sure our students feel “loved.” After conducting a Panorama Survey at the end of school year 2021-22, the results indicated that only 44% of our students reported “feeling loved at school.” Therefore, this year we are ensuring that whenever able we are exhibiting messages of love toward our students. Whether through hugs, verbal affirmation, signage or our consistent presence, we want them to know-how much we love them here at Brookland.

 This pouring of love could not have been more needed. In the New Year, our student body experienced a tremendous sudden loss from the murder of one of our scholars on January 7th. This was followed by the sudden death of a former student on January 21st. Upon immediate notice, our principal assembled a team of grief counselors and community support to be present. On January 25, 2023, we hosted a Memorial Breakfast in honor of the two students. During that breakfast, we announced that there would be a garden dedicated to those students in spring 2023, on school grounds.

 Currently, our primary challenge is attendance. During the winter months we’ve been experiencing a spike in unexcused absences. Since then, the school Attendance Team has identified those students and families with over five unexcused absences and began to call parents and talk to students to identify any barriers. The most common finding has been basic needs. Students and parents have shared that they lack the essential winter clothing to combat the winter elements. We are also experiencing more and more students that require food over the weekend. With Washington, D.C. being a Sanctuary City, many immigrant families are currently enrolled here at Brookland and are food insecure.

I think Children Incorporated is just the right organization to help the Communities In Schools coordinator purchase bulk winter coats, hats and gloves, for our families in dire need, as well as help us with the items needed for our Weekend Food Pantry. Children Incorporated sponsors also help our students with school uniforms, which are required here at Brookland Middle.

***

 

How do I sponsor a child with Children Incorporated?

You can sponsor a child in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in that is available for sponsorship.

Education, Stories of Hope

written by Shelley Callahan

Shelley is the Director of Development for Children Incorporated. She is also the lead social correspondent, regularly contributing insights through the Stories of Hope blog series. Sign up for Stories of Hope to receive weekly email updates about how your donations are changing the lives of children in need.

» more of Shelley's stories