Reopening: Moving Toward More Equitable Schools
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MELS Seniors Celebrate 100 Percent Graduation Rate

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    Alexis Margolin

Six years after opening its doors, EL Education Mentor and Credentialed School MELS has a lot to celebrate. The New York City Outward Bound Schools school based in Queens, NY, not only honored its very first class of graduating seniors this year, MELS' class of 2016 achieved an impressive 100% graduation rate, to boot!

In an interview with Chalkbeat, principal Damon McCord discussed how he and co-principal Pat Finley graduated all 115 of the school's seniors.

Chalkbeat: Are there specific things you can point to that really excite students and make them want to be there?

Damon McCord: I think having a curriculum that focuses on relevance for teenagers and getting them to realize that they can make an impact on their world and that their choices do matter – we don’t take a cynical view of teenagers as not caring about things. So when we get students involved with different social activists in eighth grade and they write activist profiles, when they go out on the street and interview people in immigrant-rich communities about the immigrant experience and then write a book about that – a lot of these things resonate with kids. They realize it’s not just words on a page I’m looking at, I can have an impact on the experience that an immigrant family has if that’s what I want to pursue in college. I can make healthier choices about the food I eat that will impact my global environment.

For more on Crew, curriculum, graduation, and college acceptance from McCord, read the full interview on Chalkbeat and this story in the New York Post.