When I began high school 20 years ago in September 1999, I was not frightened about the impending workload. I had a clear idea of what was expected of me.
I had just completed a summer enrichment program for selected incoming freshmen. About 100 of us completed daily assignments in math, science and English. We read several books, such as “Gifted Hands” by Dr. Ben Carson. We learned about the school’s robotics team.
Our teachers constantly reminded us of their high expectations: Get to class on time, complete every assignment, pass every test with an “A,” graduate on time and get accepted into college.
I did not attend one of the elite specialized high schools, but Science Skills Center HS in downtown Brooklyn — one of several hundred city schools that don’t use the SHSAT exam to admit kids.
Whether or not the controversial SHSAT exam is kept or abolished, the other schools must raise the bar.
Science Skills Center seemed to have all the makings of a low-performing, inner-city school. The population was majority African American and Hispanic — like 70 percent of today’s public-school students. Many qualified for free or reduced-price lunch.
Despite those factors, we passed our Regents exams with flying colors and 90 percent graduated in four years. Our college acceptance letters were brightly wallpapered in the school lobby to encourage us to soar.
Each morning, Principal Michael A. Johnson shook each student’s hand and told us, “Make it a great day.” On Wednesdays, students took part in “Dress for Success” to get used to wearing career attire.
We boasted graduates in every profession imaginable — from cops and city employees to educators, entrepreneurs, and computer programmers, plus at least one journalist.
I know that creating a solid, rigorous education for all black and brown kids in NYC public schools can be achieved. I lived it.
Shari Logan is a New York Post metro reporter
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