It is hard to believe that we have just two short weeks left in our EIR program this winter. Time has certainly been flying by. It feels like just yesterday I stepped into the halls of King Middle School to do my site visit in November. I have had the pleasure of working primarily with Rhonda Janelle, the physical education teacher, this winter. I have had the chance to build stronger connections with the seventh grade students that came to Kieve in the fall as well as meet, get to know, and teach many Knights over the past few months.
My role at King varies based on the day. The school is broken up into two houses: York and Windsor. The teachers in York 6 are especially supportive of The Leadership School. Each week, one of the teachers gives up their classes for the entire day to allow me to teach our curriculum. These students are getting a jump start for their visit to TLS next fall. This week I am going to have each of them write a letter to themselves about what they have learned this winter, that I will deliver to them when they come to Kieve next year.
The Windsor 6 teachers have given me the opportunity to work with students one on one in the classroom. I have tutored students in all different subjects, primarily working with ELL students and students with learning disabilities. It allows me to build stronger connections with them while simultaneously providing academic support.
As a school that recognizes the importance of expeditionary learning, every student is part of a “Crew” that meets four times each week. I have been working closely with a York 7 crew full of students that were at Kieve this fall. We have been able to review what they learned at TLS, attempt new team building challenges and introduce other parts of our curriculum. In addition to crew, we are together for academic crew and targeted learning time, where I provide academic support to whoever needs it.
King has introduced four new academic mindsets into their school this year. The eighth grade asked me to create and teach them initiatives that they could run with their students for the remainder of the school year with a goal for the students to fully understand what each of the mindsets means. Every eighth grader will have to give a presentation at the end of the year on the mindsets. So far, this endeavor has been off to a great start.
On top of seeing the students in the classroom, I am able to work with them daily in the gym with Rhonda. King is fortunate enough to have some climbing as a unit, including a climbing wall, a traversing wall and some high elements. With some snow day delays, we have finally put our students through belay school and have them climbing as much as possible. The sixth graders are especially excited for this opportunity and are even more excited to get on our course at TLS.
Being at King has allowed me to become integrated into the Portland community. I have been helping coach the track team at King, which really gives me the opportunity to build stronger relationships with the students and get to connect with them on a deeper level. I have also been volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House. In addition to doing a general shift each week, Kieve has agreed to fund TLS staff being guest chefs at RMH once a month –where we can go in and cook dinner for the families staying there.
Beyond being at King, I have had the chance to visit other schools this winter through “Kieve days.” Of special importance to me, I had the pleasure of teaching at MSK. I got to teach the group of students that I taught in the fall at TLS. It was great to see how much they remembered and how easily they apply what they learned. The Kieve day at Loranger Middle School reunited me with one of my favorite cabin of girls from the fall. During February vacation, we worked Adventure Camp at Kieve, where I met a lot of local students. Kelsea and I were in charge of the 4th, 5th and 6th graders. We had a blast playing in the snow, making pretzels inside, and climbing on the indoor course.
In addition to all of this, I have had the opportunity to learn more as an educator. This past weekend, Kelsea, Hanne, Cam, Will and I attended the High 5 Symposium in Brattleboro, VT. We each got to attend different workshops that taught us new activities, introduced us to other incredible educators in our field and learned a lot overall. I also got to take a ME Guide Course this winter. I passed and am now a registered recreational guide, which makes me feel even more ready to work at Wavus this summer.
I look forward to getting the most out of my final weeks at King. I will continue to work with the students in the classroom, providing academic support and teaching our curriculum. We will try to give them as much climbing time as possible before I am back at TLS. And I am excited to continue working with the members of the track team. I plan to return for their championship meet in April. In addition, King holds a talent sho w each spring to raise money for their students to come to Kieve in the fall. I plan on recruiting some co-workers and performing in it to support the students and their fundraising efforts.