Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"The Village Project"

My job is hard. But without some time for a passion project, my job would be even harder. There's no right time for it, but feeding your professional passion helps make the "everyday" work seem that much more exciting.

I have a passion for helping kids. 

In my current role, I am not afforded as much contact with kids as I was in the classroom- so I try to manufacture as much contact with our kids as I can. This year, we are dreaming big.

Just over two years ago, one of my goals for the school year was to have all of my AP students pass the AP exam with a 4 or 5. We did it. It was not easy, but we did it and we did it together.

In building on my passion for the AP exam, we are putting a team together and forming the "Village Project." The goal of the Village Project is to take 5-10 lower level Juniors enrolled in English classes and have them pass the AP test at the end of the year. They are not AP students and will not be taking the actual AP course. But, we are going to build in support along the way, help the students establish "AP habits of mind," and we are going to be relentless in our pursuit pushing these students beyond what they think they can do. Every kid can pass an AP exam, whether they believe it or not, and we are out to prove it.

Will we actually find students who want to do this? Can we give them four collective hours of extra support per week?  Aren't we just wasting our time when some of our regular AP students can't pass the exam? And what if they don't pass at the end of the year?

Yes. I hope. Absolutely not. And...so what?

My partner in crime is the students' English teacher who also happens to teach AP Literature. We are pulling in social studies teachers, a department chair, a writing coach an administrator, and hopefully others. It takes a village to raise an AP child, and I am confident that with the right supports, we can do it.

If we don't reach our goal, we are going to have a ton of fun along the way. Our students will hopefully gain an appreciation for a more rigorous and collective college-level effort, and with any luck, will be more inclined to try college when all is said and done.

We are going to film everything, blog about it, present it at the AP conference next year and learn from our mistakes. Hopefully this pilot can be taken to scale and affect even more students at our school and students at other schools too.

Living in beta. Playing with house money. Going where others' doubt. The Village Project.

We would love your support along the way and appreciate any advice you may have!

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