Sunday, March 22, 2009

Week 27: CAMPing @ BHS

Why Are We Going CAMPing?

Background Knowledge: Carn
egie Units, Advisement and School Hour Changes
The 2009-2010 school calendar will change significantly from previous years. First semester will begin August 19th and end December 22nd. This is a tremendous advantage for our high school students allowing a smart and logical break in educational units of time – for final exams as well as for transfers and transcripting purposes – with the end of the semester occurring before they leave for the winter holiday break.

Meeting Carnegie Unit Requirements
Our courses are offered on a time unit called a Carnegie Unit which requires 120 hours of instruction to earn one unit of high school credit (or 60 hours for ½ credit) for a course. By ending the semester prior to the winter break, the semester would have been 10 days shorter in the first semester of 2009-2010 school year, so it accommodated by starting earlier than the previous year. With that in place, there was still a time shortage for each class that totals to five minutes per class. Last fall, Dr. Dial asked all the high school principals to provide a potential schedule to accommodate the additional five minutes per class. I posted an option on Virtual Southside and sent an email to all staff to read it and comment. I made the appropriate changes and submitted the following schedule which added only five minutes to our school day:

1/2 7:40 – 9:08
3/4 9:12 – 10:40
5/6 10:44 – 1:08 (Announcements 10:45-10:50)
7/8 1:12 – 2:40

Note: Several suggestions were made to just simply add 20 minutes to the school day. All high school principals stood in favor of teacher time and plan time to maintain current hours of operation, and all three high schools added less than 10 minutes to the daily schedules therefore not effecting after school activities, bus schedules and teacher after hour work times.

New Schedule; New Challenges
So, with the new schedule comes a few challenges. As the schedule shows, we will offer only four blocks a day and with the addition of five minutes per class comes the sacrifice of the allotted time for our academic lab period. Currently, a few very good programs are in operation during that time – several innovative teachers and counselors have spent academic lab time increasing student learning in their own content area, on ACT skills, or in specialty student needs groups. FMPs spend time with the freshmen tutoring and building relationships. So what do we do with these programs? How do we continue with ideas that we know are working for our students in a day when the schedule no longer provides the minutes? I’m so glad you asked.

SGMS Advisement Success
Last week I was talking about how well advisement had worked with the Spring Garden 8th graders who will come to us this fall. Their plan began last year with all instructional personnel at SGMS being assigned 8-10 students each to advise and mentor. Jeff, Luke and I, along with all our counselors, went to Spring Garden and saw advisement in action. It was amazing. I talked to several parents about the advisement process, and although they were not totally clear on the program, they did think it was impressive that one teacher took the time to maintain a vested interest in their child. The program will come to Benton starting next year. In order to put it into place, we must begin planning now.

Cardinal Advisement & Mentoring Program (CAMP): Commencing 8.19.09
Yep, we’re going to CAMP! It’s going to be fun! We are going to get close to our kids. We will keep them with us until they graduate. We will present a more formalized program proposal to the Leadership Team on April 22nd during the team retreat, but I would like for you to talk with your department chairs and give them ideas or concerns to bring with them to the retreat. To do that, I need to share the basics.
1. We will “save” time from out 5th/6th hour to create a bubble of time to meet with our CAMP kids. We will meet two times monthly with our CAMPers
2. We will create a CAMP schedule which allows you to meet with our CAMP kids; the schedule will offer CAMP time during 3/4 block then in two weeks in 5/6 block in order to allow at least one meeting per month with Hillyard students.
3. We will allow each adult (secretaries, maintenance, and nutrition will not be assigned students) to select students – sort of in a draft style – with every adult having 2 students from each grade. Each adult will also have at least TWO ornaments on their team – you can even keep your one from this year!

Feedback Time
Feel free to pose questions. Feel free to add to the idea. Feel free to be critical. We need to look at this from every single, solitary perspective possible. Give the information to your department chair to bring the LT retreat. You can also email it to Jeff, Luke or me – but please don’t expect answers. This is up to the Leadership Team and they will decide based on what you tell them! I’m excited. I love CAMPing!

P.S. Luke is an Eagle Scout. You know he will be good at this!


CoachZ said...

I love the CAMP (Cardinal Advisement & Mentoring Pogram) concept. However, I would like to pose one question to anyone reading this post. As an Activities Director and a believer in preserving instructional time for teachers and students, I ask for input as to when we schedule assemblies for varies deserving activities. All forms of activities at BHS deserve recognized in front of their peers and I believe that we have shown an interest for many groups that the importance of such assemblies has value in the oveall spirit of our school. Just the other day, I received a comment from, I believe, a substitute teacher, that she thought it was exceptional when we had an assembly for our Play and Drama department. I believe to create an energy in our school that shows our students that we are more than just educators and do have another side of our persona, that many times we need to let them know we appreciate those students that go above and beyond the call of duty thru various forms of assemblies. In the past we used 5 period. With our future format Feedback is needed.
Mike Ziesel

Shepcity said...

We had "advisor groups" the first two years I worked at LeBlond. I really liked the multi-aged concept of each group having students from each grade. That way the old timers (juniors/seniors) could participate in the mentoring of the underclassmen. It also worked when doing pre-registration, or when there needed to be a general discussion of issues. If anything, LeBlond didn't use the program as much as it could have been. As with all programs, there were some faculty who were less than excited about preparing for a successful advisor period. The advisor group did allow the teacher to create meaningful relationships with students they might not otherwise see until they were juniors or seniors. But I do think the most valuable part might be getting students from different grades together.

The Artistic Diva said...

Looks great to me. I love the idea of advisement--I mean that was my full time job at MWSU at one time! and I loved it with my middle school kids. I'm glad to see that the school day didn't change too much. One thing that I'd like to add, though, is that when we have pep assemblies (loved the drama assembly) can we make sure they don't always land in the same class period? Same with fire drills, etc. I'd like to see them shifted around the school day so that we don't have one class period that is interupted more than any other. I know that fifth hour was the "perfect" time for assemblies, but even trying to lead ACT prep was incredibly hard when we'd have an early out one day and then an assembly another. Also, when it's time for homecoming can we make the assembly a time when the kids don't have to miss class to get dressed up? I had several kids who missed 3rd hour to get ready for a 5th assembly and then they took off the rest of the day to hang out with each other.