Equity & Diversity Photo Essay

A Photographer’s View of Ron Brown College Prep

By Education Week Photo Staff — November 14, 2017 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Photographer Jared Soares discusses his experiences, and shares his favorite images from documenting faculty and students at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C. The photographs were part of a joint audio reporting project by Education Week and National Public Radio that tracked the first year at the school.

“When I received the assignment to make photographs at Ron Brown Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C., I had no prior knowledge of the school or its mission. Typically, when I begin an assignment, I prefer to keep an open mind, so I don’t have a fixed idea about the story. I’ll do some brief background research in order to understand context. This approach allows me to be present while experiencing the place and people.

Upon arriving at Ron Brown, I was greeted by Principal Benjamin Williams, and then was quickly paired with a student escort for the day, who shuttled me off to the morning circle. The circle is a daily gathering event led by teachers and students, and it combines morning announcements with notes of encouragement. Most of the students are getting their ties straight and their books in order, preparing for the day ahead.

After morning circle, I zigzagged around campus with Zion Williams, my student escort. I saw students helping each other with their ties, teachers preparing for class in the morning, and impromptu study sessions taking place in the weight room. Passing periods and lunchtime were filled with louder moments. Classrooms felt intimate, and students seemed comfortable sharing and participating.

Squeezing a year-long reporting project into a day of photography was a challenge. Understanding the subtle nuances of each student and faculty member is an even greater one. The moments and set of portraits hopefully allow for an entry point into the project.

Below are some of my favorite images from this assignment.”

All the students are known as “kings” at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in Washington, D.C.
The capital city’s first all-male traditional public school, Ron Brown College Prep is designed specifically to meet the needs of its young black male students.
Students greet each other during the daily morning circle.
“I tell the guys here: You’re gonna get love and there’s really nothing you can do about it.” — Dawaine Cosey, director of culture, empowerment, and restorative justice.
They feel like it’s a place where they can take chances, where they can grow.” — Benjamin Williams, principal.
“If I’m tough on them, it’s because I have high expectations for them.” English teacher Schalette Gudger.
“School has to come first. … If you leave high school and you still make a 600 on the SAT, nobody cares how much you were loved.” — Shaka Greene, Math teacher.
“When we look at these young people, we’re looking at them from a place of godliness, of kingliness, of royalty.” — Charles Curtis, school psychologist.
Matt Lawrence, Algebra and Geometry teacher.
Troy Jordan is the lead security guard at Ron Brown College Prep.
“There’s something individually about every single person inside this school that sets them aside from everybody else.” — Stephon, student.
Elijah, a student at Ron Brown College Prep.
Elijah, another student, studies in the school’s gym.
Single-gender education has long been a pillar in the private-school sector, but schools exclusively for young men like D.C.’s Ron Brown College Prep are relatively rare in traditional public school districts.

A version of this article first appeared in the Full Frame blog.

Events

School & District Management Webinar How Pensions Work: Why It Matters for K-12 Education
Panelists explain the fundamentals of teacher pension finances — how they are paid for, what drives their costs, and their impact on K-12 education.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Equity & Diversity States That Require Period Products for Free in Schools
More and more states are either requiring K-12 schools to stock pads and tampons, or provide funding for schools to do so.
1 min read
A menstrual product dispenser inside a women's restroom in Purdue University Stewart Center on Feb. 6, 2020, in West Lafayette, Ind. More than half of the states have legislation on the books either requiring products be stocked in schools, or provide funding to purchase them.
A menstrual product dispenser inside a women's restroom in Purdue University Stewart Center on Feb. 6, 2020, in West Lafayette, Ind. Legislation in a number of states seeks to provide more access to pads and tampons for students in K-12 schools.
Nikos Frazier/Journal & Courier via AP
Equity & Diversity More Schools Stock Tampons and Pads, But Access Is Still a Problem
Period products are becoming more commonplace in schools. But there are gaps in funding—and in access, a barrier for lower-income students.
7 min read
Photograph of hygienic tampons and a sanitary pad on a blue background.
iStock/Getty
Equity & Diversity A School Board Reinstated Confederate School Names. Could It Happen Elsewhere?
Shenandoah County's school board voted in May to reinstate two Confederate names. Researchers wonder if others will, too.
7 min read
A statue of confederate general Stonewall Jackson is removed on July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Shenandoah County, Virginia's school board voted 5-1 early Friday, May 10, 2024, to rename Mountain View High School as Stonewall Jackson High School and Honey Run Elementary as Ashby Lee Elementary four years after the names had been removed.
A statue of confederate general Stonewall Jackson is removed on July 1, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The Shenandoah County, Va. school board voted 5-1 on May 10, 2024, to restore the names of Confederate leaders and soldiers to two schools, four years after the names had been removed.
Steve Helber/AP
Equity & Diversity How 9 Leaders Think About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Their Schools
District and school leaders share their take on DEI and what it means for all students to experience inclusion and belonging.
6 min read
An illustration of six speech bubbles that are different in size and of varying shades of blue.
iStock/Getty