Fatimah's "In The Struggle" Project

High School for the Recording Arts integrates academics and the music industry to re-capture the interest of high school youth who don't find the opportunities they're looking for in conventional settings. School leaders use a project-based learning program to closely tie academics to the music industry and vice versa. Students have opportunities to manage a school-based record label, Another Level Records. Students also run community-outreach programs that seek to educate their peers in the community on issues such as dating violence and HIV/AIDS prevention through music. Each student has his/her own workspace at the school and extensive access to computers and other music-related technology.

Visit the school's website at: http://www.hsra.org.


Open workspace for students at HSRA.
Professional recording studios for student use.

This video, conceived, filmed, and edited by High School for Recording Arts student Chrishan, is his take on the HSRA experience. Through interviews with founders, staff, graduated students, and current students he meshed the history of the school with current HSRA events to give the viewer an inside look at the school as a whole. To hear Chrishan talk about the making of the video, click here.

Tony talks about the program at HSRA and explains the "show what you know" model of assessment, where students demonstrate competency by giving presentations or conducting question-and-answer sessions. He tells how these measures of assessment build self-esteem in students, and that after building self esteem, the state standard tests are easy for them to pass. Tony considers passing tests a "minimum," and says that the HSRA "show what you know" assessments are a better measure of the true success of the school: educating students who will be responsible citizens.

Fatimah's Writing

Fatimah uses her writings to express her struggle with homelessness and the challenge of overcoming it. She has developed her own voice at HSRA which can be seen in the difference between her first and second drafts of her poem. She has also learned to adapt and incorporate specific and intricate uses of words, syntax, and flow commonly associated with spoken word poets and hip hop. This can be seen in her use of sentences that flow into each other, causing the reader to get caught up in the speed and rhythm of her writing.


(click for full poem as PDF)
First draft of poem.

(click for full poem as PDF)
Current draft of poem.

(click for PDF)
Example journal entry.

Fatimah has also found a passion for poetry and spoken word, here she reads her poem 'I Found My Way'. Her pace and rhythm indicate her awareness of word choice and flow.

The 12 validations (standards) Fatimah must earn to graduate

Click on the thumbnail of any validation below to open the full-sized PDF

Accessing Information
Accessing Information
Artistic Appreciation
Artistic Appreciation
Informed Citizenship
Informed Citizenship
Effective Communication
Effective Communication
Community Involvement
Community Involvement
Valuing Diversity
Valuing Diversity
Emotional Awareness
Emotional Awareness
Career Exploration
Career Exploration
Mathematics
Mathematics
Physical/Mental Well-being
Physical/Mental Well-being
Literary Analysis
Literary Analysis
Science & Technology
Science & Technology

About the teacher-advisor

Keith is in his second year as a High School for Recording Arts advisor after having taught at St Paul's Arlington High School as a secondary EBD teacher. Previously he taught math at Maxfield Magnet Elementary School in St Paul and general education at the Minnesota Internship Center, and social studies at Spencer Math and Science Academy in Chicago, IL.

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