The voices of students and families are the most important part of any dialogue on public education. So as the school year ended and the summer began, we interviewed Cassandra Tucker, who is the mother of two students at Martin Behrman Charter School and a member of the Algiers Charter Board of Trustees. We also interviewed her two sons, Langston and Liam, after their baseball practice one evening. They told us about what matters in and outside of the classroom, reminding us of the importance of a well-rounded, holistic education for every child.
Why did you and your husband choose Behrman Charter School for Langston and Liam?
We chose Behrman for Liam and Langston because it was close to home, so it felt like a community-based school. We liked the fact that they acknowledged the need and desire for parental involvement, so it lent itself to having an open door and transparency.
We really appreciated the fact that the staff was committed to the education and excellence of our children, and that they always wanted to know more. As a staff, they were pursuing higher education to provide even more rigor for these students.
The school has creative arts too, like band and dance, as well as sports—things that children can actually look forward to. There are staff there that really want to see your child succeed, staff that really care. They’re motivating and really love children sincerely.
Langston and Liam are playing baseball this summer. What is the role of sports in their lives?
During the summer, we believe that it’s important to have Liam and Langston in a lot of different activities. It gives them discipline and educates them on different sports. We’re a sports family. We don’t want to put them in a camp that drives their mind alone. We want to put them in things that keep their minds and bodies busy. They learn to play as a team, to shake hands and say “good game,” and all those things create values and character.
What did you like most about school this year?
I liked reading and doing my homework. You have to do your homework every day so that you can get smarter and smarter.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A baseball player.
Is there a baseball player you look up to?
Jackie Robinson. He’s my best player ever.
What did you do here tonight?
I played like Jackie Robinson. I play shortstop and first base and second base and mound and third.
What was pre-K like?
I learned letters and numbers and sounds and words. I liked building and playing because I love that the best.
What do you like about baseball?
I love hitting and throwing and playing shortstop and first base, second base, third base, and pitcher.
If you were a teacher, what would your classroom be like?
It would have twenty people and they would do homework when I said.
Cassandra, Langston, and Liam remind us that school, at its best, is both serious and joyful, full of challenges and opportunities to thrive. They also show us that learning happens both within and beyond academics, from baseball to the arts. Together as a city, we will continue to work toward making sure more students have experiences like Langston and Liam do, in the school building and on the baseball diamond. As we do so, we stand by the phenomenal children of our city and nurture them as future leaders—be they teachers, baseball stars, or anything else they desire.
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