Objectives

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Analyze primary documents from Ballou’s early years in order to determine the original vision for Ballou Senior High School.
  • Identify “forgotten” key figures in the past 30 years of Ballou Senior High School.
  • Theorize reasons for the transition between 1960 and Ballou’s identification as a “dropout factory.”

Standards

DCPS Content and Skills Standards:

United States History - 11th Grade 

  • 11.4. Students analyze the changing landscape, including the growth of cities and development of cities divided by race, ethnicity, and class.
D.C. History and Government - 12th Grade
  • 12.DC.10. Students compare the employment (e.g., skilled and unskilled trades, entrepreneurs) and educational opportunities (e.g., elementary through postsecondary training) for white and black Washingtonians.

Historical and Social Studies Skills

  • 9-12.HCI.1: Students compare the present with the past, evaluating the consequences of past events and decisions and determining the lessons that were learned.
  • 9-12.HCI.3: Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.
  • 9-12.HCI.4: Students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect.
  • 9-12.HCI.6: Students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than present-day norms and values.

Resources

Daily Handout

All questions and portions of the lesson are included in this handout.

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Primary Sources:

Bahrani, Yasmine. "Ballou High Wins Mock Trial," The Washington Post, 19 April, 1990, p. DC12.

Brown, DeNeen L. "Ballou High Gets Something Good to Shout About," The Washington Post, 3 November, 1995.

Colona, Wyman L. Jr. "Outes, Ballou: More History," The Washington Post, 18 December, 1988, p. D2.

Horwitz, Sari. "A Second Ballou High School Student Dies Suddenly: Band Member Has Fatal Seizure in Hallway Day After Senior Is Slain Near the Building," The Washington Post, 21 October, 1993, p. C4.

Huff, Donald. "Oates Realizes Ambition a Decade Late," The Washington Post, 2 October, 1980, p. D10.

Knight, Athelia, "At Ballou, It's Deion Sans Neon," The Washington Post, 22 February, 1995, p. C1.

Lewis, Nancy. "Girls' Shoving Match at School Turns Into Stabbing," The Washington Post, 15 October, 1993, p. B7.

Oates, Wanda. "The men are really having a difficult time losing to me in basketball.  If I start whipping them in football they might never recover," The Washington Post, 14 January, 1990, p. SM26.

Sargent, Edward D. "Outspoken Teacher Ordered Transferred from Ballou High: Instructor Says She's Being Punished," The Washington Post, 28 October, 1984.

Sanchez, Rene. "Lockridge Plans to Probe 'Crisis' at Ballou High School: Acting Principal Not Told of Investigation," The Washington Post, 10 September, 1988, p. B4.

Staff Writer, "Hope for Ward 8 Schools," The Washington Post, 20 October, 1990, p. A22.

Staff Writer, "Woman Seeking to Coach Prep Football Files Suit," Los Angeles Times, 20 December, 1985, p. C17.

Suskind, Ron. A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League, Ney York: Broadway Books, Second Edition, 2005, p. 378-380. 

Valente, Judith. "A Principal Goes to Bat for Ballou High," The Washington Post, 8 February, 1981, p. B1.

Valente, Judith. "At Ballou High, Good Becomes Best: Ballou's Program Turns Average Students Into Winners," The Washington Post, 20 March, 1980, p. A1.

Valente, Judith. "Off to MIT: Product of Southeast School Excelled in Math and Sports," The Washington Post, 15 Jun, 1982, p. C1.

Secondary Sources: 

None 

Warm Up

Warm-Up:  For today’s warm-up you will be reading the article “At Ballou High, Good Becomes Best.”  Be sure to keep practicing your document analysis skills.

 Before you read:  “At Ballou High, Good Becomes Best”

1.  What type of document is this?Who might the audience be?

2.  What are any distinguishing physical marks on the document? (For example, handwritten, typed, stamp, etc.)

3.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

After you Read:

4.  What was the “School of Mathematics and Science”?

5.  What were the differences between Ballou SHS and Ballou: Math and Science?

6.  What were the requirements for admission?

7.  How was Stephanie Carter’s experience at Ballou different than yours?

8.  What is “tracking”?

9.  Predict – What do you think happened to the School of Mathematics and Science?

At Ballou High, Good Becomes Best



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Creator: Valente, Judith
Source: The Washington Post
Date: March 20, 1980

New Material

New Material: As a class, we will read through the following article and discuss the issues of the school during the time. It should be noted that this article is around the same time as the Warm-Up article.  This is fairly heavy material, so be ready for students to have an emotional reaction to it.

The School of Mathematics and Science no longer operates at Ballou Senior High School and it would be fair to say the academic expectations of students is not, as a whole, to the level at which they were during the era of the school.  What happened?

The answer is complicated and incomplete.  Demographic and economic shifts in Washington, D.C. over the past 30 years have changed the cultural landscape.  Poverty and unemployment effect our community more than many others.

Today’s documents will be about the struggles and successes of Ballou Senior High School over that time.  This is in no way a comprehensive portrait of the school and community, but hopefully you will emerge with a clearer picture of many forgotten people that called themselves Ballou Knights.

Before you read: A Principal Goes to Bat for Ballou High

10.  What type of document is this?Who might the audience be?

11.  What are any distinguishing physical marks on the document? (For example, handwritten, typed, stamp, etc.)

12.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

After you read:

13.  Who was the principal at Ballou at this time?Describe him.

14.  Who were the “outsiders”?

15.  What was the biggest obstacle to success the principal identified?

16.  What are some of the causes of these issues?

17.  In what ways is this similar to the Ballou SHS we have today?

18.  In what ways is this different than the Ballou SHS we have today?

Embattled Principal Goes to Bat



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Creator: Valente, Judith
Source: The Washington Post
Date: February 8, 1981

Practice

Guided Practice:  We will be reading a short excerpt from the book A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind.  This bestseller is the story of one student’s struggles and transition from Ballou to the Ivy League.  In the afterward, the author describes the Old Ballou of ten years ago.

Before you read:

19.  What type of document is this?  Who might the audience be?

20.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

21.  What might have been the author’s motives for writing?

22.  Place a check mark over any parts of this passage that sound familiar.

23.  How many armed security guards have you seen today?

24. How long has our current principal been at the helm of Ballou?

25.  Where did Ballou raise the money for our current band uniforms?

26.  Is this excerpt a positive or negative portrait of Ballou Senior High School – the Old Ballou?  Which part most proves your point?

27.  Do you agree with this portrait of the school and community of Ballou?

Independent Practice:  For the independent portion of this assignment, students will pick three articles for analysis.  A portion of the analysis is to determine if each is a positive or negative portrait.  Included should be a discussion, formal or informal, about each source's context and the intent of hte authors.  The idea is to get students thinking about how the school is perceived.

Students should select headlines that interet them, but all should be covered. 

Source #1 Title:

Before you read:

28.  What type of document is this?Who might the audience be?

29.  What are any distinguishing physical marks on the document? (For example, handwritten, typed, stamp, etc.)

30.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

After you read:

31.  What new information about the history of the Old Ballou does this source reveal?

32.  Does this source give a positive or negative view of the school to the District community?

33.  What are two questions you have as a result of this source?

Source #2 Title:

Before you read:

34.  What type of document is this?Who might the audience be?

35.  What are any distinguishing physical marks on the document? (For example, handwritten, typed, stamp, etc.)

36.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

After you read:

37.  What new information about the history of the Old Ballou does this source reveal?

38.  Does this source give a positive or negative view of the school to the District community?

39.  What are two questions you have as a result of this source?

Source #3 Title:

Before you read:

40.  What type of document is this?Who might the audience be?

41.  What are any distinguishing physical marks on the document? (For example, handwritten, typed, stamp, etc.)

42.  Who wrote this?When?Where?

After you read:

43.  What new information about the history of the Old Ballou does this source reveal?

44.  Does this source give a positive or negative view of the school to the District community?

45.  What are two questions you have as a result of this source?

Wanda Oates as AD



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Creator: Huff, Donald
Source: The Washington Post
Date: October 2, 1980

Wanda Oates - History



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Creator: Colona, Wyman L. Jr.
Source: The Washington Post
Date: December 18, 1988

Wanda Oates III



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Creator: Oates, Wanda
Source: The Washington Post
Date: January 14, 1990

Student to MIT



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Creator: Valente, Judith
Source: The Washington Post
Date: June 15, 1982

Outspoken Teacher Transferred



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Creator: Sargent, Edward D.
Source: The Washington Post
Date: October 28, 1984

Wanda Oates IV



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Creator: Staff Writer
Source: Los Angeles Times
Date: December 20, 1985

Girls Shoving Match Turns Into Stabbing



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Creator: Lewis, Nancy
Source: The Washington Post
Date: October 15, 1993

Deion Sanders



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Creator: Knight, Athelia
Source: The Washington Post
Date: February 22, 1995

Crisis at Ballou



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Creator: Sanchez, Rene
Source: The Washington Post
Date: September 10, 1988

Ballou High Wins Mock Trial



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Creator: Bahrani, Yasmine
Source: The Washington Post
Date: April 19, 1990

Hope for Ward 8 Schools



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Creator: Staff Writer
Source: The Washington Post
Date: October 20, 1990

A Second Student Dies



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Creator: Horwitz, Sari
Source: The
Date: October 21, 1993

Ballou High Gets Something Good to Shout About



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Creator: Brown, DeNeen L.
Source: The Washington Post
Date: November 3, 1995

Assessment

Assessment: Answer the following questions to the best of your ability.

46.  Which source from today’s lesson best displays the Old Ballou of the era?Why?

47.  How would you describe the Old Ballou from 1980 to today?

Closure and Reflection

Exit Slip:  Answer the following question to the best of your ability.  Your answer must be at least a paragraph in length.  If you would like to write more, you may do so.

What is the biggest struggle the Ballou community has faced over the past 30 years?

Homework: Prepare at least three questions to ask of Ballou’s current principal regarding his vision for the New Ballou – building, culture, academics, etc.