Today one of the topics that was discussed in one of the groups I was in was the idea of bringing hip hop and rap into classrooms and relating it to literature, current events, etc. I previously attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT and in my sociology class, we had a guest lecture by another QU professor who teaches a very similar class in his free time at a New Haven high school. For those of you who do not know, New Haven is a city with a lot of violence and poverty, not much different from Rochester, and it is also the home of Yale (fun fact). I just added a few news links for whoever is interested in reading a little about it. The program is called Crossroads Collective. I couldn’t find the information online but during his lecture he brought in graduation numbers and the numbers of “at risk” students at the school for several years. The trend had been decreasing and then the first year of the program there was a sudden spike in the number of graduating students with a decrease in “at risk” kids. The numbers show that this program is effective, at least in this school, even though it has only been around since 2014. It’s very interesting to think how one program can have such an impact on so many students simply by implementing music in the classroom, more specifically rap and hip hop. It really shows the power of words and being able to find an expressive outlet to share feelings and thoughts.
Also interesting that this article points out that every student who has taken his class has graduated and no one has dropped out. There is now a waiting list to join:
http://wnpr.org/post/new-haven-hip-hop-program-brings-hope-high-schoolers (this one has a rap done by one of the students)
https://donsawyer3.com/photos/ this is his website where you can read more about the program and watch trailers about the program and hear some of the work done by the students.
He is most known at Quinnipiac for teaching a course called Sociology of Hip Hop which I’ve heard is very hard to get into.