EDMONTON — One positive moment; that’s what teacher Dan Scratch hopes to document each and every day of this school year.

Scratch teaches at Inner City High School in Edmonton. The school, which sits north of the city’s downtown, is a not-for-profit that provides educational programming outside a traditional high school environment to high-risk youth, or, as Scratch describes them, “at-promise youth.”

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“It started off with a conversation I had with a few other educators who teach in similar environments in different cities,” said Scratch, a social studies teacher. “We talked about how we’re constantly talking about the negative stereotypes our schools receive in the public, what an inner city school is traditionally like.

“We wanted to kind of break that narrative and talk about some of the more positive things students do here.

“What are some stories of individual students doing great things in their lives? Overcoming the barriers they’re overcoming and just what we do here at Inner City that makes us unique compared to most traditional schools.”

“Just coming to school, for a lot of students, is a huge success,” added Scratch. “They value education, they want to come to school to better improve their lives and give a positive life for themselves. I wanted to honour that with our students and show the greater public, if we could, that these students have so much to offer the community.”

So, Scratch started an Instagram account to do just that.

“I wanted to tell a story through pictures because I think it has more of an emotional appeal to people when they see a picture of a student working hard in class, or they see a picture of staff coming together to put on this program for students.”

The @innercityhigh Instagram account will feature one positive moment in the class or school every school day this year. The students have total creative control over the photos. They even get to edit the caption and choose the filter used.

“They’re getting really into it,” said Scratch. “Each day, they’re asking, ‘how many likes did it get?’ that kind of thing.

“It’s a nice thing to see. When people comment on the photo, I tell them the positive feedback there. It’s a little uplifting, and it’s nice for them to hear those kinds of stories.”

He has also created a project on Make Something Edmonton called ‘One Positive Moment.’ He hopes the project will encourage more people to check out the Instagram account, follow the class’ progress, and include the students in any community events or initiatives they think would be a good match.

In a blog post, Scratch explained further why he decided to start the Instagram account.

“I want to show people that my students are not just victims of a society that has neglected and abandoned them, but that they are positive community members, philosophers, artists, gardeners, and some of the most caring and compassionate students I’ve ever worked with,” he wrote.

Check out the Inner City High Instagram account here.

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