The James Baldwin School provides a haven for students who have previously experienced school as unresponsive to their needs as individuals. They strive for all students to find their voice and to speak knowledgeably and thoughtfully on issues that concern their school, their world. The school aids students in this endeavor by personalizing learning situations, by democratizing and humanizing the school environment, and by creating a “talking culture,” an atmosphere of informal intellectual discourse among students and faculty.
The "I Am" Project works with students from The James Baldwin School in collaboration with Integral Yoga Institute NYC's Yoga At School™ program. Students choose to attend the collaborative semester-long elective, and attend three weekly workshops. One workshop per week is an "I Am" workshop focusing on themes of Forgiveness, Patience, Identity, Self-Care, and Personal Responsibility.
The students begin each session by journaling about how they feel, noting instances of self-care, and checking in with shifts they have noticed. They then explore each theme through individual reflection, group discussion, meditation, movement, and creative class activities.
The "I Am" Project at James Baldwin:
2013 - 2014: 1 semester of workshops.
2014 - 2015: 2 semesters of workshops.
THE JAMES BALDWIN SCHOOL
Year started with The "I Am" Project: 2014
Neighborhood: Chelsea, Manhattan, NYC
Principal: Brady Smith
Participating Teachers: Rehana Ali, Sean Willis
The James Baldwin School
"I used to get really really angry - like when angry Katie was around, there was no going back. Now, I started using the breathing and the counting tool - I'm not boxing around -but I do it in my head, and it really really helps. I get less angry, or not angry at all." ~ Katie, 17
"I'm more calm now, I don't react as much to the [stuff] that used to [bother me], to get me out of my character" - Adante, 16
"I use the breathing techniques when I'm stressed and overwhelmed with things in my head. It works, I feel less stressed" - S, 17
"I found a new person I could be, and I learned to start looking for the balance between who I used to be and this new, calmer, more focused guy" - Baraka,18
"I find myself listening to my body more. Many of the 'hobbies' available to teenagers now are kind of harmful. Now, I find myself saying no because I want to practice yoga the next morning and I don't want my lungs to hurt" - Sadie, 17