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Art from Detroit students explores what it means to go to a neighborhood school

May 11, 2017

There has been a lot of discussion over the past five months about school closures in Michigan. In January, we explored what the history of school closings in Detroit have meant for both kids and neighborhoods in our documentary We Live Here.

The week before we aired the documentary, the state’s School Reform Office released a list of 38 schools that faced closure at the end of the school year because of persistently low test scores. 

Gompers Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood was one of the schools on that list.

Now, the state has offered Gompers and the other 37 schools on the closure list another chance to turn around their test scores by partnering with the state. Over the past four months, we’ve heard from policymakers, parents and educators about what they think of closures and school turnarounds.

But what does this all look like from the perspective of kids whose neighborhood school is at risk of closing?

State of Opportunity and Detroit artist Yvette Rock worked with Gompers students to explore the answer to that question and the connections between home, school, and neighborhood through photography, poetry, and mosaic art.

On April 27th, we held an event at Gompers to showcase the students' work, including the mosaics which will be installed permanently at the school. 

Click through the slideshow at the top of the post to see some of the students’ photography and the final mosaics. You can also click on the Soundcloud player to hear reflections from the students themselves about their school.