Welcome to the Boggs School By Halima Cassells, Parent


Welcome to the Boggs School
By Halima Cassells, Parent

BEC_logo_2Stepping in, larger-than-life portraits of young faces greet me- red, orange, blue, green- smiling as if they have a secret that they are ready to share. Looking up, I see whimsical cloud kites adorning the ceiling.

Welcome to the James and Grace Lee Boggs School!!

My first impression as a prospective parent was that this school is pretty cool. I had no idea the amount of awesomeness in store for our family this past school year.

Tucked in a neighborhood on Detroit’s east side, at 4141 Mitchell, this space is dedicated to growing solutionary leaders.

The first week I asked about homework, and my daughter responded: “Boggs school isn’t about homework; it’s about figuring out how we want to treat each other. We’ve been creating our class social contract.”

Inspired by the work of James and Grace Lee Boggs, Julia Putnam, at 16 one of Grace’s very first teenage volunteers and now principal, decided that there should be a school dedicated to teaching the skills of leadership, creative problem-solving, and social responsibility. She and her team worked for five years to bring this vision into the world.

But how can social justice and responsibility be so much fun? With its awesome administrative team, Boggs School not only visited 20 community spaces for field trips last year. At each space the young people helped, added to, or co-created something while there, experiencing connected learning at its best.

Students visited galleries, gardens, museums, and even other schools. At Detroit School of the Arts, students created a collaborative video project that talks about our “alikeness” and features original animated drawings, spoken word and song.

photo credit: Leah Duncan

“My favorite field trip was to the Heidelberg project. We got to meet Mr. Guyton, and we got to see his art, and it was cool because it’s what other people thought was trash,” says third grader Yusef.

This spring on a stage in the middle of Mitchell Street
with an audience of over 150 people, Boggs School hosted an event at the school that invited family, friends, and neighbors to get together and interact authentically.

There were several other celebrations throughout the year: like a harvest fest, a “walk-in” movie original, and tumbling, poetry, and comedy- not to mention a feature performance by Passalacqua who instructed the audience to move in slow motion.

When I asked most folks what they like best about the Boggs School, 99% simply said “the people.” 4th grader Jayla, replied: I liked the teachers and the activities we did because we had good times.”

Summer vacation is here, but we are all anticipating stepping back into the Boggs School in the fall.

photo credit: Leah Duncan

Halima Cassells
DBCFSN Co-op Grocery Store
Community Outreach Coordinator
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