By Jillian H.
Time and Tides will not give up its quest for support. Last advisory, the entire junior class packed the presentation hall to learn about the hopeful program. Interest was high, but many students left the meeting with a still shaky understanding of the program.
Echoing the sentiments of several fellow students, junior Jeffrey S. said, “I’d have liked more information about how it factors into your GPA, the work required, and how stuff is graded.” However, junior Grace P., who is involved in the program, said, “I have had a lot of students come up to me asking questions and showing interest in Time and Tides since the presentation, and to me that means we achieved our goal which was really just to get people talking about it.”
In terms of funding, Time and Tides still needs grants. Although the first grant fell through, supporters are not losing faith and await the results of other grant applications. Nevertheless, if the program is not ready for this year’s juniors, it is possible that it will be presented instead to the current sophomore class.
Time and Tides is an interdisciplinary course, described as a “Montessori school within a school” by Grace P. The subjects math, science, literature, language, art, and history are related to bigger questions and fall under thematic units. Participants would remain in the program for most of the day, and on even an average Monday might be found making off-site visits or revisiting their stewardship projects within the community. Grades would be comprised of Unit Synthesis Assignments in which students would teach portions of a unit to their classmates.
Over the past couple of months, students and teachers have been developing the curriculum outline for next year given that the program has the proper funding and support. Together, students and teachers will forge connections between themselves and the world with the chosen themes Roots, Bridges, Channels, and Times.
At first, Time and Tides would be marketed as a half-year class only available to seniors, but it hopes to expand from there. The block schedule as it is would have to be redesigned, but many administrators are excited about the possible induction of the program. Superintendent Dr. Tantillo said in September, “I like the program, because I believe that education is too compartmentalized…the world doesn’t operate in this manner. Seniors need more freedom to choose how they will be educated.”
The presentation appealed to students as a way to set themselves apart in the pools of college applicants, arguing that they would be proved risk-takers and pioneers. Junior Peter N. explained in the presentation that Time and Tides offers something for everyone, whether they be athletes, star students, or even just regular kids looking for a departure from the typical learning style.
Chemistry teacher Mr. O’Connell reinforced the latter, claiming that when he asked his students what they would change about school given the opportunity, several said they would place a greater focus on learning as opposed to memorizing material just to get an A.
The program was modeled after a course at Concord-Carlisle High School called Rivers and Revolutions. Over the summer, teachers Mrs. Marino, Mr. O’Connell, Ms. Hart, Mrs. Coleman, and Mrs. Murray and about twenty students volunteered one week out of their summers. Those involved continue to be passionate about the idea, hoping to convince students to enroll in the course.
Because the curriculum is flexible, students have the opportunity to explore what interests them most and redefine the traditional definition of learning. Encouraging students to take the course, Mrs. Marino said, “It shifts learning from something that’s done to you to something that’s done by you.”
Photos Courtesy of Mrs. Murray and Mr. O’Connell