Family Focus: Course fuses hip-hop with traditional curriculum

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two Charlotte teachers are spending the summer trying to reach students through hip-hop.
In Friday's Family Focus, anchor Natalie Pasquarella learned how those teachers are helping teens learn about the hip-hop culture while also improving in English and math.
All key parts are a new approach to summer courses for Charlotte students.
"When we bring music into the school classroom, it makes you more interested because it's a topic in which students are interested in," one student said.
Teacher Albert Carter said he wanted to find a new way to get students more interested in learning.
"What we have is something that's very unique and very educational," Carter said. "Being as though hip-hop is one of the youth's most powerful tools right now, we decided to incorporate that (the curriculum) with hip-hop."
He and fellow teacher Reginald Laroche started the nonprofit Hip-Hop University.
The four-week program housed at Phillip O. Berry High School fuses hip-hop into math and English lessons.
They break down the lyrics to teach metaphors, similes and creative writing.
The math aspect involves the financial side like calculating record deals and other costs in the music industry.

The students get to hear from local pros in the industry including D.J. Buttafingaz from Power 98.
"Always grow, don't ever get stuck in one spot," D.J. Buttafingaz. "Anytime that I can just spread knowledge about what I do or any type to uplift kids -- to make them go in the right direction."
Because it's the first year for the program, the teachers plan to look at the students' standardized test scores once school starts to see if the coursework made an impact.
"From music to how we dress to art. It just all comes together," said student Taneshia Ricks.
The classes run through Aug. 8. The teachers plan to have courses again next summer. For more information, visit their website here.

Comments on this article