Over the past few weeks, as students, professional community members and visitors made their way around the Upper School, it’s been impossible not to notice the striking display of captivating posters hanging in hallways, stairwells and even bathrooms.
These posters, each of which explores a pressing aspect of immigration, were created by the students in “FOCUS Now: What’s in the News and Why,” a fascinating FOCUS (For Ongoing Creativity, Understanding and Scholarship) elective that examines a wide array of current events, bringing to the forefront political, economic and social issues impacting our country and the world.
The idea for the poster project stemmed from a recent presentation by Amy Bach ’86, an alumna active in criminal justice reform. In giving the 2019 Nicky Chapin Lecture, Ms. Bach discussed her organization, Measures for Justice, which collects, assesses and compares data in the U.S. criminal justice system, from arrest to post-conviction.
Following the lecture, Director of Academic Program Ilana Pergam ’86, who teaches FOCUS Now (and is Ms. Bach’s classmate), was inspired to develop a unit, titled “Immigrants, Migrants, and Refugees,” that would challenge her students to use data to illuminate an area of research around immigrants to and in the United States. As Ms. Bach emphasized to her Upper School audience during her talk, “No data, no change!”
Thus, supported by this data-driven framework, the Class 10 and 11 students chose topics that piqued their curiosity. In addition to being informed by data, the resulting posters sought to educate members of the School community and deepen their understanding through what Ms. Pergam described as a “public demonstration of learning.”
With far-reaching and thoughtfully researched content, the students investigated such timely topics as “The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program,” “Let’s Talk About DACA,” “What on Earth is a Green Card?” and “The Brain Waste of U.S. Immigrants,” among other important and interesting themes.
The students also participated in “peer assessments” of two or more of their classmates’ work. The feedback centered on the projects’ key questions and offered both commendations and recommendations in categories like organization, subject knowledge, aesthetics and graphics.
Positioned in high-traffic areas throughout the Upper School spaces, these eye-catching posters encourage those passing to pause, absorb, discuss and take away new or enhanced facts, details and data about immigration.
“I like that we put the posters in common areas. They are already sparking conversations,” commented one student in the class. Another added, “Our posters provide educational conversations. I hope they prompt people to learn even more.”
Please join the dialogue by seeking out these fine works by the scholars in FOCUS Now. Their posters are on view in the following locations:
-2nd floor “nook” (1 poster)
-3rd floor hallway (3 posters)
-Main staircase landing between 3rd and 4th floors (2 posters)
-4th floor hallway (4 posters)
-5th floor hallway opposite the elevators (1 poster)
-5th floor hallway leading from the Choral Room to the Library (2 posters)
-Bathroom stalls on 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors (1 poster)