Blaxodus: Branta Lockett, the 5280 Freedom School, Exit Interview 10
Branta Lockett moved through her educational odyssey at the highest levels. W.E.B. DuBois would have absolutely drafted her for his Talented Tenth All Star Team. Highly Gifted and Talented, International Baccalaureate, Brown University, she brought her sterling credentials to Denver, hoping to be the difference for all students, especially Black students.
Her first two years as a Denver teacher were, simply put, “great.” But by year three, things began to unravel. She witnessed disproportionate disciplinary actions taken against Black boys. Still new to the work, she became a voice of advocacy for students and community. Her evaluation scores took a jarring dip. She changed roles, and found no support in any of them. Between COVID-19 and anti-Black dynamics within the union, she took the leap.
The 5280 Freedom School, inspired by the Civil Rights era’s Mississippi Freedom Schools, launched first as a summer program. After having their charter initially rejected, they are poised to open their doors in “Harlem of the West,” the Five Points neighborhood.
This story is at once a cautionary tale and a call to action. Learn more at www.5280freedomschool.com; follow them on socials @5280freedomschool.
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