Friday, April 30, 2010

I Can Think of Worse Ways to Spend an Afternoon .....

... than the way students at our Early College High School were passing time and pursuing studies, yesterday on the Midland College campus - reclining on the grass, in the shade of trees, reading one of the great works of American literature.

The students are high school freshmen - the inaugural freshman class at ECHS. Next year, they advance, and are joined by a new freshman class, then another and another, until we have a full, four-year high school campus on the grounds of MC. For the students' first two years, the ECHS curriculum is largely high school classes, with college-level courses being introduced the second two years. The goal - by the time the students receive their high school diploma, they will also have an associate’s degree from Midland College under their belt. The curriculum is rigorous, shored up by additional counseling, mentoring and advising to help these students succeed.

A new and different venture for education here, in the Tall City. But there's also some of the same old challenges you find on our other campuses, like the TAKS (the
Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) tests which are under way this week. Readers of this blog residing in the Lone Star State will know what THAT entails, and the stress that accompanies the tests.

And what better way to relieve that stress than to take your English class outdoors, let the kids select their own spots in the grass, shaded by trees from the glaring sun and high temps of West Texas, and read - quietly, to themselves - "
To Kill a Mockingbird," the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee. Those of you who have read the book may not be surprised that there was no chatter among the students, none of the goofing-around that sometimes accompanies a foray outside the classroom ... those kids were engrossed.

Me? I can think of worse ways to spend an afternoon.


Anonymous said...

Teaching at ECHS is one of the greatest joys of my life! Working with this group of students is simply awesome...I wish I could take the kids outside every day for reading time. You may see us again before the year is up! :)

Jeff said...

Annonymous, thanks for 'thinking outside the box,' so to speak, and taking your kiddos with you!