On January 8, the Leadership Frederick County Class of 2016 went back to school for Education Day, and found a lot has changed for the 21st century student. Here’s one participant’s perspective.
Left: Cyd Maubert • Right: Kim Seiss
Classroom instruction at Mount Saint Mary
Marketing Professor, Cyd Maubert, led us in a “flip classroom” exercise demonstrating one of the many new learning styles teachers and students are adapting to in the 21st Century. In this model, some or most of the direct instruction is delivered outside the group learning space using video or other modes of delivery. Class time is reserved for students to engage in hands-on learning, collaborate with their peers and evaluate their progress, rather than traditional direct instruction delivery. Instructors can provide one-on-one assistance, guidance, and inspiration. This facilitates a shift from an instructor-centered classroom to a student-centered learning environment.
Hillcrest Elementary School
At Hillcrest Elementary School Principal Kim Seiss, the Family Resource Team, and Pre-K Teacher, Erin Doolittle (LFC Class of 2014), led the group in a eye-opening conversation about the changing demographics of public education. In a school with a capacity of 500 students, HES has 1,019 students, who collectively speak 38 different languages. They also have a student body where 94% of students are considered FARM students (Free and Reduced Meals). Teaching this population of students comes with an additional set of challenges.
“Our mission is to keep children safe, healthy and strong so that they can learn. … eliminating barriers in regards to food, clothing, medical, dental, and housing. Many of our students are homeless or what we call “couch surfers. They come to us stressed out about where they will sleep that night” – Kim Seiss
Higher Education Panel at FCC
Misting and cold outside, the bus pulled up in front of Frederick Community College where we received a warm welcome from President Elizabeth Burmaster, Mount Saint Mary’s Provost David Rehm, and Hood College Vice President Bill Brown. The panel discussion about leadership in a time of transition quickly turned to the how the value of post-secondary education is perceived now compared to previous generations.
“Education is relational, there is reciprocity between teachers and students. They learn from each other.” -Elizabeth Burmaster
Lunch at Career and Technology Center
Next up, a tour and explanation of the Career and Technology Center, a program built into the FCPS curriculum and designed to give students intensive career specific skill training and job experience.
As we toured the facility, our guide casually said, “It’s not unusual to walk over a few dead bodies out in the parking lot as we come into work in the morning.” Apparently, the forensic and criminal justice program does crime scene investigation and these “dead bodies” are for practice scenarios. Their CSI program teaches everything from evidence collection to the court room, with a hands-on approach.
The cosmology class has a full salon, which offers hair care services, manicures, pedicures, and facials from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Wednesdays – Friday. More than a few of the LFC class members took brochures to make appointments.
But the highlight of CTC is the culinary students. Each year the students plan a complete lunch for the class and it is always one of the highest rated lunches on class surveys.
Candid Conversation with Dr. Theresa Alban, Superintendant of FCPS
Dr. Alban requested a 2 hour session next year with the leadership class (to which the class says, “Give it to her, Rick Weldon!”). When you start your discussion with a disclaimer that says “These views are my own views and are not shared with the Board of Education”, you know the conversation is going to be good. We were not disappointed. Dr. Alban opined from the political to the social-side of education, leaving no stone unturned. We had a very frank and open discussion regarding No Child Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core. We talked about budget deficits, teacher competencies, student learning strategies, and the importance of transparency. It was amazing.
Wrap up at Earth Space Science Lab (ESSL)
Just when you were so full of information, you thought you couldn’t process another thing, BAM! We walked into ESSL and there was an Iguana roaming the halls, (Alert) parakeets tweeting away, turtles resting on logs in their habitats, fresh and salt water fish swimming in tanks, and a planetarium demonstration on the constellations. It was an amazing experience and just the type of learning we could all embrace after a full day.
As we got on the bus to be dismissed we thought Friday – No homework!
Photos: David Rogers