Present training at Foothills Community School: McDowell County


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  • A school that “dares to be different”. From school pigs to cryptids and to pickling cucumbers, @TheDrShaver @STEMFCS @ McDowell590 has built a school that gives students opportunities by providing a true learning experience.

  • In @STEMFCS, @mrmarkgarrett says the relevance is inherent in. Defined as a promising practice by @ncpublicschools, it says, “It can be repeated.”

As soon as you enter the front door Foothills Community School – middle classes, project-based learning, STEM-oriented magnetic school McDowell County – The pig runs up to say hello. That’s right, a real, live pig. “Chris P. Bacon” is the name of this therapeutic pet that wanders around the school and seems to be an integral part of school culture.

Two students, Maggie Shaver and Gonzalo Castillo, followed the greeting and stayed with me until the end of the school visit. By the end of the day, I wasn’t sitting with the director. It is a school where learning is student-centered and student-centered, where students have the right to vote and choose, where students learn together with other students as well as with teachers.

Four projects formalize the school experience:

The Picture of Us: Students study characters, introduce themselves, and then create a collective work of art that represents their family.

Supervisors in Sustainability: Students develop sustainability guidelines and then evaluate new building and ways we can reduce the carbon footprint.

Theater: Students write, design scenery, direct, design costumes, market and perform in their own full-length play.

Passion Project: Students identify what they learned this year, what they want to delve deeper into next year.

“I’ve never been to a school where students have more choices and opportunities,” says Lori Potit, a math teacher.

It’s not quiet. Music is played in the classrooms, and 30-second dance evenings seem to just happen.

Learning also happens aloud. “You can hear it in the noise,” says superintendent Mark Garrett. “They are responsible for their own training.”

You can also see how the learning is going.

The school recently celebrated Pi Day, and starting from the front hallway and continuing all the way down the hallway, around the corner, and onwards, wall to wall, there were ratio figures.

The Model City of the Future is in the same hallway with the award for best use of waste solutions during National Engineers Week, honoring the innovative thinking of students who used the following words to manage their project: rethinking, repairing, rebuilding, reusing, recycling, recycling reuse, recovery and reduction.

In a science lesson where a chameleon watches what happens, students conduct a lab tracking the evolution of various animals and organisms. When they get to chemistry, exploding sticky bears are a class favorite.

In the classroom down the hall, students do an autopsy of pickles.

In another class, students study Sarah Tisdale’s poem “Soft Rains Will Come” to reflect on the inseparable beauty of nature.

One student told me, “Here, my education coincides with my dream of a workforce.” She wants to be a neonatologist.

The school focuses on hands-on learning, says Emily Carpenter, a science teacher. She says she wants the students to get up and walk away from their desks.

Christian McLeod, a social studies teacher, says the guiding question is when teachers reflect on the learning experience: do students think and learn? “That’s the thing for us,” he says.

“They’ll surprise you,” says principal Melanie Shaver of students who were given the opportunity to participate in learning, share their thinking, and demonstrate how they can apply their knowledge. She has created a school culture that enables students.

Superintendent Gareth says, “The urgency is inherent. It can be lost. “

Dare to be different

“Dare to be different combat atoms,” is written on this mural of the school mascot at the entrance to the community school Foothills. Students learn differently, but teachers teach differently.

“As a result,” says superintendent Gareth, “it’s different.”

“I think people in their head,” he says, “think, well, that’s different.”

“No,” he emphasizes, “it’s different. This is another way of learning. For you, as a teacher, this is another question. “

Meet Susan Ergler, English teacher. She says you need to teach from the inside.

She says it all starts with: who are you?

“I mean: who are are you Are you a morning person? Night man? A coffee man? A person who doesn’t talk to me until 8 a.m.? Do you eat salad? Beets? So pizza? Play the ukulele? Do you have a talisman for good luck? ”

“Tell me,” she says, “do you draw?”

“Tell me,” she says, “what do you dream of?”

“Tell me,” she says, “what’s funny in your world?”

“What do you find beautiful, poignantly absurd?

What is real? ”

Learning, says Ergler, begins with learning from this true “you” place.

Here she writes about how to create a community in a virtual classroom. And by the way, she too writes novels and short stories.

Other faculty members at Foothills Community School do the same. Sandra Gunther – Fr. rocket scientist. McLeod is Fr. cryptid hunter and maybe seen on TV shows such as “Into the Unknown” when he’s not in class.

Here is a class schedule that is also different. Note the “family” time, which in other schools could be called cool.

Promising DPI practices

Earlier this year, the Department of Public Education launched a promising practice initiative, including online dashboard lighting schools and neighborhoods throughout North Carolina.

One of the promising practices highlighted on the dashboard is authentic student learning. Here is a DPI infographic about Foothills Community School, so you can learn more about research in the learning environment, about how they use standard assessment and how they hire faculty.

Explore the school with this an interactive, exciting experience.

Mebane Rash

Meban Rush is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of EducationNC.

Present training at Foothills Community School: McDowell County

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