Wednesday was a GREAT day at Puente! After meeting Abby for breakfast at Duarte’s, I participated in a Community Outreach meeting and got some assignments to pursue before next week’s meeting regarding Puente’s second annual 5K walk/run. I then met more of the Puente staff as a large group and with the Academic Director of Puente one-on-one. Obviously things concerning students and schools is my area of expertise, so I began dialoguing and listening to the concerns of Suzanne, the Academic Director, who is not an educator by trade but who serves as the liaison between students and teachers and the Pescadero schools.
Throughout our conversation, which was much too short and definitely to be continued, I learned that Pescadero schools are some of the lowest schools in San Mateo County, a fairly affluent county. I heard concerns about the students being unofficially tracked by ability, having a high school experience treated much like a checklist, lack of creativity in the classrooms and an overreliance on textbooks, etc. These are the concerns from one individual who works closely with the schools but is not a school official, so I am careful to consider the source. However, I am not fully surprised by these concerns as they are very similar to issues I observed working in alternative education prior to teaching at NHS.
As I was listening and taking in the issues and concerns of the Puente Academic Director, my mind was racing 100 mph thinking through things I would want to tell the students if they were mine, professional development I would like to offer the Pescadero High School teachers, and professional values I would like to hone for myself as an educator. I came up with a workshop idea that I may get to offer the student leaders who I met at the camp on Monday and with whom I got to spend more time on Wednesday afternoon. The workshop is called TEA, which is an acronym for Transparency, Empowerment, and Advocacy. I suspect I will write more about this next week as I begin thinking through what the workshop will look like with the high school students, but I am already considering how it might look for educators as well. (Bill Hiatt: we will be having conversations about this when I return!) If I understand correctly, I will get an opportunity to try some things with the youth and Suzanne next week at Puente! Hooray!
At the conclusion of my meeting with Suzanne, I went to a local ranch with Abby where the student leaders were going through more orientation workshops. When we arrived, two representatives from Wells Fargo were there talking to the students about checking and savings accounts and the differences between them. The students asked fantastic financial literacy questions of these two representatives. There is more work to be done here, but Puente is doing a fabulous job of pursuing this area of concern for the students. Then, Abby led two activities about the interconnectivity of the environment and ecosystems; she talked with the students about recycling and environmentalism as part of their orientation.
Abby and I concluded the day with dinner at the local taqueria in Pescadero, which happens to be located in a gas station. Hands down the best Mexican food I have had. I, of course, had the chile relleno and Abby had 2 vegetarian tacos. It was delicious, and I am quite certain I will eat there at least twice a week. Then, Abby stayed with me a Costanoa where we shared delicious organic chocolate and quality best friend time together. (WARNING: The next statement may contain more information than you wanted to know about me. Please use your discretion when reading.) Because Abby is must more granola than I am, we also made it a special point to pee in the great outdoors instead of 100 yards away with the luxury of indoor plumbing. And I didn’t even have my she-wee! For more information about she-wees, please visit: REI’s website OR shewee.com .
That is all.