An Update From Watsonville

Our staff loved hearing about Janet Jeffries’ class of young student activists so much that we decided to send three of our staff members to visit their classroom in Freedom, Calif., on April 17.

We were eager to ask the students about the letter they wrote to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. They were still awaiting a response from the government at the time, but we soon received some fantastic news: just four days after our visit, the class received a letter from Evan Gerberding, the department’s Deputy Director of External Affairs. (click to enlarge)

Reponse from Office of Migrant housing- p1response p2

Gerberding assured the students that his department takes the migrant student issue very seriously, and that the regulations are under review. Our favorite part is the P.S.: “It’s good to challenge rules you don’t believe in! Keep it up!”

We’re thrilled to hear that these students got their voices heard and were able to learn something more about why the 50-mile rule was in place. Their civic campaign was also covered in the Register-Pajaronian and the Modesto Bee.

While we were catching up with Ms. Jeffries and her activist students, we also witnessed a creative new way to use Newsela in the classroom. Be sure to check in next week for more on that.

Have your students had strong reactions to stories they’ve read on Newsela? If so, which articles spurred them to action? Let us know on Twitter.