Community and Identity at Frida Kahlo High School

Monday, November 22, 2010 at 7:16 am

Photo by Daisy, a Frida Kahlo Student

2 Ways in Life — A Frida Kahlo Student’s Blog Entry


  • “Well I have two communities.
  • The first is in South Central Los Angeles. There is no name to my community — just two streets: San Pedro and Adams. Well the people who make my community are gangs. There are no positive role models, just negative. There are killings, taggings, drug dealing, and other things that describe where I come from. My community just made me into a bad person.
  • The second is Frida Kahlo High School in South Central. The people who make my community is the teachers, students, and staff. Everyone in the school care for you — they make sure you succeed. They’re always there when you need them in good and bad times. This community has helped me become a better person and see other things differently than before. In Frida Kahlo there's positive role models.”


Day in the Life Digital Narrative Project
Students at Frida Kahlo High School met regularly for a semester last spring as part of a personalized digital media program called “Day in the Life.” For the program, students engaged in (1) identifying a defining place in their community, (2) developing a series of digital artifacts that told the story of this place, (3) maintaining a digital portfolio on the New Learning Institute social network, and (4) creating a Community Map with these location-based audio and video artifacts. At the culmination of the program, students completed and presented their own “Day in the Life” media series that told the story of the community through their eyes, according to their personal experiences.

My Community & Teenage Struggles (by Marlene)

My Community and Teenage Struggles from Sarah Davis on Vimeo.


In this video, a Frida Kahlo student discusses her community, how the youth try to “fit in,” her second chance, and her resulting belief that she will achieve her goals.

Frida Kahlo High School
Frida Kahlo High School is part of the Big Picture Learning Schools. Big Picture Learning Schools believe that the key to achievement lies in fostering students’ individual interests and encouraging their active participation in the learning process. These schools emphasize school culture and mentorship.

  • “There is a culture of trust, respect, and equality between students and adults, as well among themselves. Students are encouraged to take leadership roles in the school, and student voice is valued in decision-making processes.”

Frida Kahlo High School’s mission is to prepare “One Student at a Time” for college and the workforce through active “real world” learning, academic rigor, and community involvement. The Day in the Life project complemented this mission. The narratives students created explored how their community plays a role in shaping youth identity. Students then shared their messages with a wider audience of Frida Kahlo High School students, faculty, and parents.

Next week, I will introduce the upcoming Digital Youth Leaders Program, which affords Frida Kahlo students the opportunity to further develop their skills in a real world context and creates a space for them to share their knowledge and expertise with other youth in the community.

Additional Resources on Big Picture Learning and Social Media Learning Networks:
• Big Picture Learning
• Digital Youth Network


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