SEL Awardee

Shawana Ridley

Burnside Scholastic Academy
Chicago Public Schools
Chicago, IL
“Burnside is located on southside of Chicago, our communities can be violent and a lot of energy, money and resources are used to create programs for our middle school boys and girls that have demonstrated behaviors that could contribute to the violence or whom are negatively impacted by the violence. Although those programs are extremely important, there were no focus on our middle-school girls that were not exhibiting any behavior or mental issues. Middle school girl was sitting in silence doing everything they were told to do and being overlooked. Chicago Public Schools eliminated funding for many of our sports programs that girls found interesting and the school lost funding for afterschool activities geared towards girls. Brown Girl Magic changed the entire dynamics of the school's environment. Our girl empowerment program allowed girls to have a way to express themselves positively and take leadership roles. We spend part of our grant funds putting of showcases that demonstrate our girls' talents and other students get to be involved and participate. We celebrate every end of year with a girl retreat in Wisconsin Dells where the girls get to celebrate their accomplishments. Brown Girl magic has inspired the girls in our school to make positive choices and we now have middle school boy programs that are modeling our ideology. Our goal is to maintain our positive and inviting environment and expand our program to other schools in order to change young girls through the City of Chicago.”
Tags: Girls & Young Women of Color, Middle School, Teacher, Traditional Public School, Urban