You are here

Highlights from the Shabazz Family Newsletter during the 2019/20 school year. See all newsletters here for more photos and details.


grace-middleton-tall.jpgSharing Cultural Differences in Safe Spaces: One Shabazz student's story

Grace Middleton was in seventh grade at Wright Middle School when her older brother took her to a rally to protest the shooting of Tony Robinson, an unarmed teen killed by a Madison police officer. She’d been to protest rallies before, but this was different. That rally back in 2015 transformed Grace into a social justice activist. Now 17, Grace is a senior who divides her school days between Shabazz and West High Schools, where she feels the former allows her academic flexibility and the ability to have a voice, as where the latter places her in her comfort zone—with other black and brown students. We are proud to have Grace at Shabazz. You can read her full story here.


climate_pic.jpgShabazz Students Strike for Climate Change

Here are just a few of the Shabazz students who created posters and marched for clean energy, environmental justice, and climate action during the September 20 Global Climate Strike at the Capitol. Madison was just one of the youth-led strikes that occurred throughout the world. We are proud of our committed students!

Students See Results of PGT Work

We had some excited "Green" students walking the property last month getting to see the results of their work with Aaron Project Green Teen (PGT). This was a result of the first phases of planting rain gardens on the property over the past two years. The pollinators have made a home here. This on top of hearing our local Sandhill Cranes (Malcolm and Betty) yesterday morning make their return trip to the neighborhood.

Shabazz Teachers Are Continual Learners

This summer social studies teacher Nathan Vos attended a week-long Native American Symposium that focused on the Ho-Chunk Nation. the purpose of the symposium was to Learn about Ho-Chunk history and culture and develop lesson plans on “Ho-Chunks in the DeJope Area”, and Wisconsin Indian History. "We had the opportunity to learn from Ho-Chunk community members such as Bill Quackenbush and Eli Youngthunder, along with many other Native American professional educators. It was an amazing experience that included tremendous collaboration, a trip to Black River Falls, and invaluable input from authentic voices." Nate is currently teaching the course Native American Culture, which focuses on the culture and life of Native Americans, especially the Ho Chunk and Lakota.

Aaron Kaio attended the Wisconsin DPI workshop, Play Make Learn 2019, which provided a hands-on workshop that engaged participants in cutting-edge learning science ideas and experiences. One workshop showed how to gamify history by turning the class into participants, running through a protocol during which students offered what they think people should have done. This was done using the Mongol Invasion of Russia. In addition to the workshop, Aaron attended the Solidarity for Racial Justice book study, a summer book study that supported teachers in their ongoing anti-racism work. He also attended the DPI workshop Incomplete Integration - the Road to Equity Through Education which discussed racial disparities in Madison and throughout Wisconsin. Aaron is teaching courses on social justice and civil rights this quarter.


Green Students Learn Through Hard Work

As students enrolled in “Green” this quarter have continued to explore themes of freshwater stream ecology and environmental sustainability, they have also taken on a number of projects in the field. Students have worked on restoration efforts and service learning projects, have collected native seeds at Lake View Hill Park to distribute in the Dane County Park System, and have installed a bat house to help create a balanced ecosystem. At school they are creating a more informed and sustainable waste management system by working to create education around garbage and recycling cans and rebuilding a compost bin while educating how to best utilize it. Finally, they helped mobilize Shabazz students to bring awareness around global climate issues by attending the global climate strike in downtown Madison. Green Reflection: Two students’ experiences in first quarter Ecology class

Road to Pine Ridge Trip

road-students_jumping.jpgLast month six Shabazz students along with Math teacher Grant Goettl and other friends of Shabazz, traveled to South Dakota and spent a week on the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. While there, the students learned about the culture of the Lakota tribes, had the opportunity to view the world from a different perspective, and provide service (like weatherizing homes, building wheelchair ramps, installing outhouses, or building a gardening program to provide fresh produce to the local population). We also got to experience multiple other attractions during our drive including the Badlands, the Black Hills, Needles Highways, and the Crazy Horse Monument that is under construction. 

Phenology and Photography Class

photog_and_phen_group.jpgPhenology and Photography have been off to a great start this quarter, making accurate observations of the environment around them. They have been capturing those observations through photographs in order to educate, inspire and advocate around engagement with the environment. Students have visited Aldo Leopold Nature Center in Monona to learn about Aldo Leopold’s legacy as an ecology and environmental pioneer. They have also visiting Olbrich Gardens to capture unique plant species and explore how nature can be a powerful and beautiful force in urban environments. Finally they have explored the UW-Arboretum to witness the impact of what nearly 100 years of restoration efforts can have on plant and animal species now calling this habitat home. Students thus far have been captivated by the fall flowers in bloom in addition to the insects still busily taking advantage of the fall life before winter sets in. 

Buckthorn Removal at Lake View Hill Park

Robert's Advanced Ecology class took a field trip to Lake View Hill Park last month to do some serious buckthorn removal. . . well, maybe not all serious! Good job everyone!


Celebrating Time Together at Madison Senior Center

Shabazz students in the Explore Stories class celebrated the end of an oral history project which they did with the Madison Senior Center. The class visited the Center four times, recording interviews to build a website which will be connected to the Shabazz homepage. In the picture here, taken on the final day, students were showing their elders the websites and celebrating their time together. Teacher Aaron Kaio expects that the website will be up in a week. Madison Senior Center Oral History Project

mary_for_newsletter.jpgStudents Celebrated Community with Day of Thanks

On Tuesday, November 26 students and staff celebrated our Shabazz community before heading to Thanksgiving break. Regular classes were held in the morning, followed by a Thanksgiving themed potluck lunch, games, karaoke, basketball, board games, and dessert. Many thanks to Brian Counselman (below) for spearheading the day and to generous donations (both food and cash to purchase the food) from our wonderful Shabazz families and staff. Day of Thanks 2019

Community Cooking Class is a Rich Learning Experience

cooking_pic.jpgThis quarter students in the Community Cooking class are learning about how to prepare food, where it comes from, and how it impacts us. Cooking is such a rich learning experience in which to explore all sorts of interesting themes around We're excited about the partnership we've developed this quarter with  REAP Food Group  and AmeriCorps in bringing guest instructors in to talk about how food is richly intertwined with the environment, culture and health. Most recently, students engaged in a lesson around  bio-piracy  and how some of our foods may have a harmful legacy of colonialism and racism that are important to understand and acknowledge as we make choices around our food. On top of all that, we've put on some terrific Community Lunches for the Shabazz Community including a Chili Cook Off and Turkey Day. Nothing like food to bring people together!  nutrition, sustainability, and health. In addition to that, cooking is a process that brings people together on the cooking and meal side of things to build stronger communities and make us happier and healthier humans. Not to mention, eating food is fun for everyone involved!

Shabazz/Sherman BB Connection

Last Friday Leadership student Kareem Moore worked with Annemarie Engdahl, principal of Sherman Middle School, to organize a basketball game between our two schools. This was a way for us to get to know each other and meet some potential Shabazz students. We hope to see a repeat!


winter_play_1.jpgTheatre Production Class Presents "The Forty-Two"

In January, Colleen's Theatre Production class presented "The Forty-Two", written by student Cory Wimmer (during Playwriting class last quarter). The play took place on a city bus and featured Iona McGregor, Bridget Fair, Cyrus Dasho, Jacy Swallop, Alex Jewell, Cassandra Frey, and Colleen. A free dress rehearsal was performed for friends and family and all classes were able to attend after that. During the Q&A, students commented on what a great job everyone did. Congratulations all! These plays are a highlight of the semester.

Career Fair and Celebration of Learning

Many thanks to our community members who took time out of their busy schedule to come and talk to students about their career choices last month. Thank you to Leah Evans, textile artist; Emily Bischoff, child care expert; Katie Ainslee-Wallace, counselor; Katie Vermillion Kalmon, UW Madison; Jocelyn Lepinski, teacher trainer; Nate Clark, film and animation; Steve Gay, construction; Robert Richmond, veteran; Sandy Thistle, MATC; Adam Alves, arborist; Sarah Driscoll, zoo staff; Angie Bobzien, photographer; Thomas Shiffler, MD; Mark Rickenbach wildlife ecology; Nick Zouski, DNR specialist; and Amy Krachey, physical therapist. After a community lunch our afternoon Celebration of Learning included several examples of students' work this first semester. Thank you to all who attended, and everyone who worked hard to make the day a success.

kindness_retreat.jpgShabazz Joins Mendota Elementary for Kindness Retreat

This past December Shabazz's Leadership class students were invited to Mendota Elementary School's all-day Kindness Retreat, where they served as role models while building community, bullying prevention, and developing ally skills. The students spent the day learning together and from one another. Our students also had the opportunity to lead and participate in small group discussions, activities, and reflections with the 4th grade students throughout the day. All students walked away with a deepened sense of community and belonging as well as huge smiles on their faces!

We Welcome New Students Second Semester

During our New Student Orientation, twenty new students participated in several small and large group activities where they got to meet staff, and one another while learning all about Shabazz and our Universal Expectations for all students. It was an upbeat day and staff was impressed with our new students. We wish you all a successful and meaningful semester!