Ashia Bomani Ojore is one of three May Teachers of the Month!
This month we’re excited to release our Young Authors’ Book Project, our biggest publishing project of the year, in partnership with Civic Center Secondary School, Willie Brown Jr. Middle School, Mission High School, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Our History is Deeper Than What They Tell Us features the collected voices of Black students as they tell the stories of their most resilient selves and their brightest dreams. To celebrate, we’re honoring our three partner teachers with the Teacher of the Month Award!
Ashia Bomani Ojore
Sister Ashia’s classes at Civic Center Secondary School begin with a check in question. They cover a wide range of topics from what would you bring with you on a deserted island to what would you change about how your school functions? The students and tutors for the Young Authors Book Project all take turns answering these questions in depth.
These check in questions are usually led by class social worker KP, but Sister Ashia has seen the benefit in this community builder for a long time. She refers to it as a kind of restorative circle. “When I was with younger kids we really did sit in a circle,” she says. “We really did have a talking stick. It would be various things…In high school, Civic is just kind of its own animal, so I tailored it to a way that would work for that class.”
Sister Ashia’s main goal in this practice is community building. Through regular check in questions at the beginning of class, her students are able to get to know each other a bit more. She says, “It feels informal, it feels like it’s a little safe, sometimes it feels a little silly, and sometimes the students are like oh this is really deep. I do think that has really helped to build community and it has allowed for students to shape the way class moves. If students respond a lot about one particular thing, then we can look at that thing more. And that way class can kind of be tailored to their interests.”
This commitment to understanding her students has especially shined during distance learning. While she dislikes distance learning, she also notes that it’s helped students who previously had difficulties attending school, whether for safety reasons or a lack of resources: “I understand that we have to do this forever. We have to have hybrid learning, we have to have distance learning in this format forever until we have a way to make sure that all students can come to school safely, or come to school with all the things that they need…We were just able to service students that we weren’t able to service before.”
Thank you for your commitment to making class a safe space for your students to grow, Sister Ashia. We are honored to have you as our Teacher of the Month!We warmly thank our friends at KKR for making our Teacher of the Month Program possible this year with a KKR COVID Response Fund. Learn more at KKR.com/grants.