AP Reading List & Dates

openbookX300px

Here’s the PDF file for this year’s textbook reading list.  Basically, I’ve divided the entire textbook into sections that fit evenly into weeks by chapters.  Within each week, I’ve divided the sections by five day segments.  We’ll cover the entire textbook in the year before April vacation.  After that, we’ll review for the AP exam.  Keep up with each night’s reading assignment and remember to be prepared to discuss the pages you’ve read on the day listed in the calendar.  Thanks.

Debate Primer #1

Welcome to the beginning of the debate season!  Yes, I know it officially hasn’t started yet, but many of you who are extra-ambitious have already begun your work preparing for this season.  Are you ready for the resolution?

Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase social services for persons living in poverty in the United States.

OK.  Now that we know that, let’s talk about the steps you’re going to take to learn more about this topic.  Remember, before we can debate a topic, we need to know as much as possible about the content (poverty) and the method (debate theory).  Let’s get a look.

Step #1: Go to debate-central.org and read the Poverty Topic Overview providing historical context and statistics for the resolution.

Step #2: Again go to debate-central.org and read the Message to Debaters on the economics of the resolution.

I’ll add more in a little bit.  Let me know if you have any questions by posting them as comments here or emailing me.  Good hunting!

Anathem by Neal Stephenson

cvrsml_anathemAnathem, by Neal Stephenson, is an incredible book.  It examines an alternate world in which two societies have developed coexisting, but apart from, one another.  In one society – the Saecular – politics and culture is very similar to our own.  In the other – the Avout – live in seclusion and division from the mainstream society, but have devoted themselves to the perfection of thought by examining different philosophies, arts, technology and more.  The avout live in seclusion, divided by the order to which they belong.  The main character of the story is a young man named Fraa Erasmus.  Through a richly developed story, Erasmus becomes involved in saving his world from the arrival of aliens.  Rather than simply borrowing themes from previous science fiction classics, Stephenson develops his story around the changes brought to each society by their preexisting and currently altered philosophies of existence and reality.  Stephenson develops his own history, philosophy, sociology, and language (even of mathematics and logic) into his story.

According to Publisher’s Weekly:

In this follow-up to his historical Baroque Cycle trilogy, which fictionalized the early-18th century scientific revolution, Stephenson (Cryptonomicon) conjures a far-future Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves—have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. Their role is to nurture all knowledge while safeguarding it from the vagaries of the irrational saecular outside world. Among the monastic scholars is 19-year-old Raz, collected into the concent at age eight and now a decenarian, or tenner (someone allowed contact with the world beyond the stronghold walls only once a decade). But millennia-old rules are cataclysmically shattered when extraterrestrial catastrophe looms, and Raz and his teenage companions—engaging in intense intellectual debate one moment, wrestling like rambunctious adolescents the next—are summoned to save the world. Stephenson’s expansive storytelling echoes Walter Miller’s classic A Canticle for Leibowitz, the space operas of Larry Niven and the cultural meditations Douglas Hofstadter—a heady mix of antecedents that makes for long stretches of dazzling entertainment occasionally interrupted by pages of numbing colloquy.

Neal Stephenson’s webpage explains much of the thought that went into writing the book in his Acknowledgments section, but there is a movie trailer, video of the author reading the book, excerpts and more.  It’s definitely worth checking out.   There is also a wiki to the book as well.

Leadership Academy Summer Meetings

summerplanningXSmallSummary: The New Bedford High School Leadership Academy is an autonomous small learning community set within a comprehensive, urban high school.  Begun as an extension of the school’s larger restructuring efforts, the academy seeks to develop flexibility and autonomy in the areas of curriculum, budget, scheduling, staffing and other district policies as required by the DESE’s Readiness Schools initiative.  The academy demonstrates a thematic approach focused on leadership skills and values to improve learning for the school’s most ‘at risk’ students.  The design work completed this summer will be compiled into a written proposal submitted to the DESE by September 15th for approval.  Preparation for September 2010 implementation will begin in the 2009-2010 school year as capacity-building, stakeholder engagement, curriculum writing, scheduling, and more, takes place.

Meeting Minutes: July 1st, July 7th, July 8th, July 14th, July 15th, July 28th, July 29th, August 4th, August 5th

Meeting Agendas: July 1st, July 7th, July 8th, July 14th, July 15th, July 28th, July 29th, August 4th, August 5th

Notes/Recommendations:

  • Diagnosing the problem (Self-Study data, leadership deficit, lack of adaptability, etc.)
  • Vision (…to provide a holistic and innovative approach to learning, providing our community with scholars prepared to lead in the 21st century.)
  • Researching the autonomies and performance contract
  • Strategic Plan (governance, instructional leadership, SPED/ELL equity, discipline, stakeholder engagement, professional development, facilities and resource use, partnerships, schedule, budget, staffing, and curriculum)
  • Governance (governing council, communication protocols, specific roles and responsibilities, guidelines for effective meetings, instructional leadership, stakeholder engagement and ownership)
  • Instructional Leadership (NISL, common planning time, professional learning communities, lesson study, student empowerment, ethics, transparency, adaptability, distributive leadership, learning walks, etc.)
  • Facilities Use and Resources (technology focus, distinct school identity, multiple use classrooms, open and transparent guidelines/rules, bell-less schedule, remodeling, leasing laptops, etc.)
  • Partnerships (see Donna’s notes on forum, Bridgewater State College, CUSP, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, community organizations, businesses, full student internships, teacher internships, etc.)
  • Curriculum (constructivist learning process, power standards, teacher-as-facilitator, portfolio assessments, peer review, “inch wide, mile deep” approach, teacher-directed to student-directed learning continuum, leadership strands as ’majors’, rigorous learning, direct application of content, performance based assessments, etc.)
  • Staffing (creating the job descriptions first, values-based philosophy, open and transparent process, community, family and business engagement in the school, partnership with the union, etc.)
  • Thematic Focus (demonstrating and empowering leadership skills and values, ethical decision-making, pervasive atmosphere, leadership strands, advisor/mentor program, vertical peer leadership, curricular integration, leadership standards, acceleration options, etc.)
  • Discipline (proactive and preventative shift, therapeutic integration, no judgment focus, clear and transparent code of behavior, de-escalation, ‘hate the act, not the child’, meaningful acknowledgment, parental involvement, security-therapist-hall monitor, no exclusion policy, shared use of building – policy follows the child, data collection and analysis protocols on behavior, Choice Theory, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, etc., preparation)
  • Professional Development (values behind PD: student-impact, job-embedded, on-site decision making, shared vision, sustainable, data-driven, support systems, centered on effective instruction, faculty choice, mentoring, student development, grand rounds model: shared research, focus on learning, professional learning communities, common planning time, funding mechanisms: WIB, grants, stimulus funds, race to the top funds, Title I, business funds, focus on leadership development PD: 3-4 day retreat, prevention of vision drift, evaluation of PD: reflection, blogs, support groups, interdisciplinary supports, individual growth)
  • Stakeholder Engagement (proactive network-building, regular community meeting times, ownership vs. buy-in, Delphi Method, cultural competencies, language barrier, multicultural connections, Harwood Institute Principles for Civic Engagement, transparency and information sharing, feedback loops for mid-course adjustments)
  • Scheduling (flex time, leadership strands electives, research time, advisor meeting time, co-curricular connections, bell-less schedule, curriculum drives the schedule, portfolios (power standards) vs. credits)

Readiness Advantage School Requirements:

The initial plan should indicate:

  1. which school or schools the district intends to establish as or convert to a Readiness School;
  2. whether the school will be a Readiness Advantage or Readiness Alliance School;
  3. which external partners, if applicable, will be involved in the creation or conversion of the school;
  4. specific issues or challenges at the school that will be addressed or improved by providing more autonomy and flexibility;
  5. a preliminary assessment of how the school will incorporate the five areas of flexibility and autonomy into its design; and
  6. a preliminary description of the process that will be used to ensure that appropriate stakeholders are involved in the subsequent design of the school.

Funding priority will be given to districts that are able to demonstrate a commitment to the development of an initial plan for September 2009 submission.  After initial plans are developed, grantees should use these plans to support comprehensive design and early implementation activities over the course of the 2009-2010 school year.

The initial plan to be submitted by September 15, 2009 should include the following:

  1. the district’s vision and specific goals for establishing a Readiness Alliance or Readiness Advantage School or Schools.  Include the district’s rationale for considering conversion in each identified school or establishment of a new school, including specific issues, challenges, or needs that can be addressed or improved by establishing a Readiness School;
  2. a description of how the Readiness Schools initiative fits into the district’s larger plan for improving school performance and student achievement in the district;
  3. a statement signifying the district’s intent to convert one or more schools into a Readiness School(s), or create a new school or schools, and facilitate the implementation of the five identified areas of autonomy;
  4. a description of the school’s readiness and capacity to convert into a Readiness School, or in the case of a new school, the district’s readiness and capacity to establish a new Readiness School.  Include information about the school’s leadership and conditions that make it suited to use effectively additional autonomy.  Include any evidence or information available on staff, teacher, parent, and/or community interest in the Readiness Schools initiative;
  5. if applicable, a description of the proposed partnership that will serve as the foundation of the Readiness Alliance School.  If the partnership builds upon an existing relationship, include information about the nature of the relationship and the types of services and/or activities provided by the partner institution/organization;
  6. to the extent practicable, a description of the specific ways the proposed Readiness School will seek flexibility and autonomy with respect to curriculum, budget, staffing, school schedule and calendar, and school district policies.  Include information about any special academic themes the Readiness School will feature; additional programs, services, and training opportunities for students, teachers, and families; specific staffing policies the school will seek; flexibility regarding specific district programs or policies that the school will seek; and the budgetary flexibility needed to support these changes;
  7. a description of the goals and objectives of the school that the autonomies will help the school accomplish.  Include a description of potential barriers that the current school structure presents to meeting the goals.  Highlight specific areas of the school’s current improvement plan that would be addressed by increased autonomy with respect to curriculum, budget, staffing, school schedule and calendar, and school district policies; and
  8. to the extent practicable, a description of the process that will be used to promote subsequent design and implementation activities related to the establishment of the Readiness School. Include information on the people and groups that will be involved; primary areas of focus in the comprehensive design and implementation process; and a timeline of major activities expected during the 2009-2010 school year.

US History Introduction

Anyone can learn about events, issues and people in history by reading on their own. The true essence of studying history, however, comes not from gathering historical knowledge but from gaining understanding from that knowledge. US History II is a course that covers American history from the Reconstruction era to the 21st century. The course will not only cover the international and political developments of the United States during the 20th century. It will also focus on the common stories of immigrants, farmers, factory workers, children, women, the poor, and more. We are not a nation of leaders, but a diverse community of common people who often struggle to find love, purpose and our own identity in each day. That is American history.

Leadership Academy Summary

GW448H316The New Bedford High School Leadership Academy is an autonomous small learning community set within a comprehensive, urban high school.  Begun as an extension of the school’s larger restructuring efforts, the academy seeks to develop flexibility and autonomy in the areas of curriculum, budget, scheduling, staffing and other district policies as required by the DESE’s Readiness Schools initiative.  The academy demonstrates a thematic approach focused on leadership skills and values to improve learning for the school’s most ‘at risk’ students.  The design work completed this summer will be compiled into a written proposal submitted to the DESE by September 15th for approval.  Preparation for September 2010 implementation will begin in the 2009-2010 school year as capacity-building, stakeholder engagement, curriculum writing, scheduling, and more, takes place.

About

This is an example of a WordPress page, you could edit this to put information about yourself or your site so readers know where you are coming from. You can create as many pages like this one or sub-pages as you like and manage all of your content inside of WordPress.