Fresh Catch Tuesday 10 September 2013
* Students, Life, and HCA by Scott Ruppert
* Common Core from a Different Perspective
Students, Life, and HCA by Scott Ruppert – In a few weeks the old folks will turn Fresh Catch over to the students and give them a shot at publishing their own blog. For most of them it will present a brand new set of experiences; meeting a deadline, coming up with relevant content, editing the work of their peers, finding graphics to go with posts, working with HTML protocol, and many other details. But isn’t this what life is all about? – handling the details en route to completing a task.
Our intent is to give them all the tools, tricks, and guidance, allow them to mess it all up (as we do on occasion), and then find ways to fix the problem. Once again, isn’t this what life is all about? So often in life you are measured not necessarily by the depth of the hole in which you find yourself – but how you dig yourself out.
Just like the recent field trip to Stover’s Cove and the concept that undergirds project-based learning – there is no substitute for “doing,” being immersed in a task, and having to deal with the expected and unexpected events along the way. HCA Head of School John D’Anieri wrote about it in our recent online Newsletter. If you missed it, you can sign up on the home page of our website to receive it.
We’re only in the first couple weeks of operation at HCA but my sense is that the parents of our students can detect a difference in attitudes, energy, and direction when their kids come home each day. Sure, they’ll have some days when it will seem like the same old thing and they lose a little steam … but once again, isn’t that what life presents on a routine basis?
One of the reasons HCA will always have a small student population is so that the learning experience becomes more personal; to detect when students hit bumps in the road, become overwhelmed or bored and slowly lose steam. These issues are so difficult to detect on an individual level when a school population is large. In that situation it becomes inevitable that some of these students will simply endure going to school or even worse, fall through the cracks.
The leadership within the HCA enterprise concedes that our endeavor engenders controversy with those that espouse a traditional learning environment. We have openly welcomed a dialogue to find our common ground. As Harpswell Coastal Academy matures, I am betting that whatever the controversy, it will ebb and the public charter/MSAD relationship (already off to a good start) will become a welcomed and essential partnership in the future of Maine public education.
Common Core from a Different Perspective – A recent article in the Wall Street Journal about the Common Core strategy in public education is approached from a different perspective; that of someone in the business world that routinely looks for new, young, qualified employees. In How to Stop the Drop in American Education, Exxon Mobil CEO writes about high paid, unfilled positions due to a lack of proficiency in basic knowledge skills. His exclamation that: “Your math teacher was right: Algebra matters” is a message that students need to hear. As a pilot, I also work in a industry where math and engineering matter.
It’s no secret very few students sit down at breakfast to a cup of coffee and the Wall Street Journal Commentary page but Rex Tillerson’s short article is worth a read by parents that have questions about the importance and relevance of Common Core.
Friday Fresh Catch blogger is Ronnie Weston