Our mission is to support low-income students, particularly youth of color, to: (1) become thoughtful, capable leaders for today as well as tomorrow; (2) “rethink” the public school experience and push for school-specific as well as system‐wide change; (3) build a new generation of leaders who practice “power among” their peers rather than “power over” them.
In June 2006, twenty middle school students entered the first Rethink summer program. They were returning from a hard year that included Hurricane Katrina, losing their houses, leaving the city, and going to new schools away from home.
The students – who began calling themselves “Rethinkers” – met with community organizers, artists, architects, media experts and educators. They dreamed big about the changes they wanted in their schools and shared their vision at a news conference.
The Rethinkers continued to meet during the school year to make sure that student voices were at the forefront as New Orleans made plans to rebuild its school system.
Since that first year, Rethink has grown to include a six-week summer program, year-round committees, and Rethink Clubs in six public schools.
Rethinkers have led campaigns to change school bathrooms, food and cafeterias, and discipline policies.
They have held eight news conferences, written four reports, and forged major agreements with school officials.