Fresh Catch - Friday 16 August 2013
* Being Relevant
If you were distracted this week by a buzz in the air, it probably wasn’t the cicadas in the trees… more likely you were hearing the audible whirr of activity coming from the dedicated teaching team at Harpswell Coastal Academy! The mood has been lively, productive, and enthusiastic at the former West Harpswell School, and I feel honored to be a part of such an inspirational team. I know you’re all eager to know what’s going on, and I wanted to give you a little view into some of what we’ve been working on so far. We’ve been…
…planning our yearlong investigations into food systems and mapping. Each teacher has brought enormous creativity and unique perspective to the curriculum, and I speak for all of us when I say, I can’t wait for school to start!
…creating a daily wellness program that engages students in caring for their physical, mental, and emotional health as teenagers.
…determining how to best use school technology to promote student learning while ensuring that students are safe, focused, and accountable for their actions.
…envisioning a school culture that is positive, encouraging, engaged, and compassionate, and crafting the orientations, activities, and policies that will create and support that culture.
There’s a whole lot more going on behind the scenes… but I wouldn’t want to spoil all of the surprises. Know that your HCA team is working hard to bring your students the best education possible—and we’re doing it with smiles on our faces.
Look forward to seeing you all at Parent night, the Shore Dinner tomorrow at Mitchell Field, and in a few short weeks… the grand opening of HCA.
Being Relevant – Micah Depper’s post reminds me of a conversation I had a few weeks ago when I was asked a question about HCA by a local retiree. She informed me that she had tried to follow our progress through the papers, but had some issues. Her first question was a show stopper: “Is this charter school some kind of hippie school?” I actually chuckled as I thought she was kidding with me; she wasn’t. When I asked what gave her such an impression she touched on the project-based, place based foundation, and community partnerships which, in her mind, would be totally replacing the mandated classroom curriculum and teacher directed learning.
I thanked her for her interest and replied that while the concerns were fair, they were misguided. The answer to such a question tends to be a little complex so I decided to focus on the idea of relevance; remaining relevant in our approach to teaching, relevant to our students as they face the realities of the 21st century, and relevant in the way the knowledge they attain at HCA will be used. She was correct in that HCA didn’t sound like anything she had become familiar with in Maine. She was also correct in that it won’t look or feel like the traditional schools she, I or most of our students have ever attended. Long standing research and development has provided new methods that have proven successful in reaching and teaching teens. Innovative schools like HCA that seize opportunities to exercise these documented best practices will lead the way to providing great results in our schools.
And oh, by the way we’re still in the business of teaching the old stand-by subjects; reading, writing and arithmetic. But in ways that are relevant for today’s students.
Tuesday Fresh Catch blogger is Joe Grady