Sunday, June 2, 2013

School Time-Capsule Project is 9 years old!

Students must set their own goals for themselves, then follow up on them and constantly update. Nobody can do this for students, but some schools are more directly encouraging and supporting the process.

This week we celebrated the 9th year of a student motivation project called the School Time-Capsule Project, also known as the School Archive Project.  Our first students from 2005 will return within 18 months to pick up their letters from 2005, and speak with current students!

Last month the 400+ 8th graders from Quintanilla Middle School placed their completed letters onto the 2013 shelf for their class inside the vault. Next year the 2014 shelf will be filled. The vault will then be filled with over 3,500 letters. The 10-year reunions will begin!

In November of 2014 we will have the reunion of the 8th grade class from 2005 who wrote their letters almost a decade ago! What wisdom will they share as they speak of their recommendations for success to the students at Quintanilla in November of 2014?   How will they answer the questions: "What would you do differently if you were 13 again?"   It will be fascinating! 

This will be another major step in overcoming the vision deficit common in children from poverty. They rarely see what life can be like with education, the goal of this project.  The returning students, speaking of their lives and recommendations, will send that message loud and clear.  It is the message sent since this project started in 2005.

Here is a link to a more detailed report on what has happened to Quintanilla Middle School students since 2005.  It can also be more briefly stated as follows:
  1. One state-wide ranking of middle schools this year listed Quintanilla at the top of all 19 non-magnet middle schools on the south side of Dallas!
  2. The 2012/13 first semester number of discipline reports are down to less than 1/3 of what it was in 2009.
  3. The student pregnancy rate has dropped to a tiny fraction of what it was in 2005, only one pregnancy in the 2012/13 school year!
  4. Most of Quintanilla students have always gone to Sunset High School, where the graduation rate (percent of full 9th grade enrollment reflected in final graduation class) was 33% in 2006 and rose constantly to the 2013 graduation rate of over 68%!   Sunset enrollment in April 2013 was 579 freshmen and 522 seniors, or a senior class that was 90% of the freshman class, the best balance for any non-magnet high school over 1,500 students in DISD!
This progress happened for multiple reasons, not only this Time-Capsule Project, but due to many projects and professionals working on a common goal.  It also happened in spite of Quintanilla having one of the highest poverty rates (95.7%) and LEP (49%) rankings in all of DISD.

The power of a constantly stronger, ever more realistic, focus on the future by students is obvious.  They more actively work toward their own future when they can see it, and when they can see how to get there!  They do the work!  See project details at

There are now vaults installed, and School Time-capsule Projects going, in three DISD high schools, Pinkston, Sunset, and South Oak Cliff, and in almost all middle schools in these three feeder patterns, for a total of 10 schools.