Weekly Wrap-up (9.5.14)

1. We met with Mark Hines via video chat on Wednesday – he’s the director of the eXploratory program at the Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, HI. They’ve been doing a project-based school within a school for four years now – theirs is 9th and 10th graders – and they’re watching their former students apply and get accepted to an impressive list of schools. Many of the projects they work on affect their campus, their school system, or the community in some way. He comments that a huge part of their essays and application materials include experiences from their time in the eXploratory program. We were glad to have a GHS guidance counselor sit in on the session as well and hear about how Mark’s school handles transcripts. Mark shared some student blog reflections and their work is really really self-reflective. We’ll be meeting with Mark again very soon and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Some more detailed notes – their school’s goal is to have students choose into a program where they develop 21st century skills and competency, have a truly community-based curriculum, and emphasize performance assessment versus excessive testing. What they end up doing is quite impressive. Their students’ classes are organized into humanities and STEM. However, their transcript ends up looking pretty much the same to a student in the traditional school program there. If you’re interested in more info, ask us!

2. This conversation with Mark spurred a debate about transcripts that will be ongoing this year. What do they look like? What should they look like? Will ours be different or the same and which is the right decision? Which parts of that are our of our hands? We don’t have all the answers, but the discussion is certainly an important one to keep going with.

3. We are still pushing through and working on an initial unit as well. Reorganization of topics is proving to be one of the biggest challenges for a variety of reasons. Time to turn the creativity up a notch.

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