Mr. Eric Hoops,who is both a 4th grade teacher and a high school football coach, is one of our best students. His project involves connecting at risk elementary students with high school athletes who can serve as friends and mentors, with the goal of creating positive change on both sides. The biggest struggle he has had in our program was finding the right expert who could assist him in developing the particular curriculum for his project, someone who shared his love for the kids he works with.
In our program students create their own electives based on actual needs. Because the projects are individualized, it often happens that subject experts and advocates from outside the program must be found and brought on board. Of all my advisees, Eric has struggled the most to find the right person to assist him, until we met yesterday evening with Kelli Johnson, the Suicide Prevention Program Manager for the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command in Wichita.
Within five minutes of meeting, Eric and Kelli knew that they wanted to work together on Eric’s project, and that, as Eric said later, each shared a similar vision of what education should do. In one meeting, Eric went from stuck to having all sorts of new ideas available to explore that stand a good chance of transforming his teaching. It was great to see the process work so well.
One of the signature aspects of this program that has emerged is team teaching. It has never really made sense to me that we would teach subjects in complete isolation from the other learning we are offering to our students. Doesn’t that just lead to a scattered educational experience that lacks an overriding purpose? [ Read more... ]
P3 initiative: Recently I was contacted by two McPherson Middle School employees about developing a mentor project between our very best students and emotionally disturbed students at the Middle School. I am thrilled with the way the McPherson College community has embraced this opportunity, with a special shout out given to our Director of Service Projects Tom Hurst, who has taken a very appropriate and appreciated leadership role in this initiative. [ Read more... ]
Gail, the kids and I travelled to Oklahoma this week. While we were gone, strong storms hit the McPherson area. The same night I received an email from a fellow faculty member, Steve Crain, who is also fairly new to the McPherson area and to McPherson College. Steve informed me that our across the street neighbors had noticed that one of our garage doors was open and were concerned. Our neighbors took it upon themselves to contact Steve, who lives a block over and see if he would check it out. Steve came by and rang the doorbell, determined that we were not home, and while doing so noticed a package that had been left on our door. Steve moved the package into the garage, made sure the house was secure and got the garage door closed.
Gail and I are regularly amazed at the quality of life in this town, and the level of relationships that can develop. It makes me think that towns, schools, neighborhoods could all benefit from becoming smaller, both in size and in approach to relationships.
We are currently recruiting students for the second cohort of our Master Program, and I am just as nervous as I was last time. Why is that?
Last year we had no real idea if anyone would sign up at all. We had a non-accredited program. We had nothing but a vision. This year we have an accredited program filled with students who are excited to be doing the good work that leads to a graduate degree. We have partnerships with local school districts that embrace and support our vision. We have brochures,and commercials, and websites.
And….I am a nervous wreck. Is it going to be like this every time?