Eastern Senior High School

Washington, D.C.
Dates Of Project: 

What can students teach teachers?

Our students at Eastern SHS’s Envision program show that young people are experts on best practices in teaching. They know instinctively that teachers and students should be held to mutual respect, and that teachers are more effective when they share their personal background with students. 

Students learned photography techniques and discussed empowering and disempowering educational experiences. For their campaign, students wrote about their experiences with teachers at Eastern, documented students taking control of their education, and learned about how racism, classism, and adultism play into their educational environment. They presented their work to the Envision program director, Ricardo Neal, and Principal Rachel Skerritt, during a series of meetings.

The mainstream narrative tells us that if only all of our schools had young, motivated teachers, we could achieve educational justice. Our students at Eastern show that relationships between students and teachers are more complex than this. Teachers, especially transplants from other communities, can strengthen their craft by taking time time to learn from their students and creating a culture of mutual respect.


Critical Exposure recently finished up a program working with both 9th and 10th graders in an after-school program at Eastern SHS. The students went through the process of selecting an issue, gathering evidence through their photos, and presenting their demand to the principal, which was to secure a librarian at their school next year. Their principal is definitely on board with this and has already taken strides in making sure that this happens. We are currently working with another group of students in an advisory period at Eastern where the students are exploring different ways to convey who they are and the communities in which they are a part, through photography.