My first month as the director of SAIL (Student Apprenticeships and Individualized Learning) was spent in many meetings. When I wasn't in meeting, I was painting and putting together furniture, trying to create a space of learning for our future students (but I digress). In one of those early meetings, a gentleman with far more experience than I said, "Write down everything. Every conversation. Every lesson learned. Everything. Keep a tight record for yourself and others. This could potentially be something very big." I took his advice, kind of. I have around 3,000 post-its, four or five notebooks, and one really remarkable Remarkable device full of notes and messages - all documenting our successes and mistakes (it's always a toss up which one is winning).
As I gathered some notes in the past week or so, I started trying to put the last year of into context. We have learned an immense amount and we have made some big strides. Each meeting or conference I attend now is spent explaining this program to others - many of which who are eager to duplicate. They are anxious to learn what we have learned, to recreate the successes and avoid the mistakes. There is value in what's being done here and the conversations are being had locally within our small (but mighty) community, statewide, and even nationally. This blog may be a great way to communicate that to fellow educators.
Beyond that, this blog will act as a way for us to educate the public - the students, parents, community members, employers, and more - on just what we are doing here. What's the difference between apprenticeships and work-based learning? What's non-CTE work-based learning and CTE work-based learning? What is alternative education (and what's with the negative connotation hidden within it?)? What is the value of an apprenticeship for a student or an employer? Is an online education "the easy way out" (I won't make you wait for that answer, it's no.)?
If we are all friends here, and I think we are, it has been quite difficult at times in the last year and a half. There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings with a new program, most of which are hard to explain away in just a five second meeting or a Facebook post or even a website. So maybe this is the way to do it!
I'll be writing these as frequently as I am able in between shaking up things here. My hope is for a week, but to be honest - these few paragraphs have taken all day in between phone calls, student questions and the little things that pop up.
These posts will be informal but informational. I will be sharing some experiences here, educating, and building something for our community and others. When we say, "SAIL is a progressive look at the high school experience" - we aren't lying. We are building something worth the conversation here. So let's have it.