Pirate Night

School open houses – many of us have been to them. It’s a time to talk to your children’s teachers and to be reassured that your kids are in good hands. Many parents don’t show up. Typically, the parents who come tend to be more affluent, better educated, more socially successful. Their kids tend to do better in school.

It’s not that other parents don’t care. For many of these parents, school was not a place filled with fond memories – it was a place where they didn’t feel successful. A place, for far too many, of shame.

Jami hoped the evening would open the door to a new way of thinking about school.

She had a big story to tell and wanted everyone to hear it. Postcards were printed and sent out to the community. Students canvassed neighborhoods. Come to Pirate Night, they beckoned. We are Pirate Nation – we all need to be there.

On the night of the event, tables were set up in the gym where students could share stories of projects that they had done that excited them.

Jami and Grace, a middle school student, stood at the top of the gym stands watching people come in the door. Grace had been part of the initiative from the beginning as a member of Dayton's Innovation Council.

The people kept coming in. The stands filled up. People who couldn’t find a seat were standing along the edges or in the hallway outside – more than three hundred people. Jami and Grace looked at each other. They each knew what the other was thinking. Something magical was happening.

It was now time for Jami to tell the story to her community. It was the story of a new beginning, a story about creativity, possibility, the i3 Center and reimagining education. A story of Dayton’s future.

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