On the heels of leaving a wonderful presentation by Ms. Callan and Ms. Gilles on the seminars happening at Messalonskee High I wanted to provide some information for those outside our district on Seminars.
What is a Seminar?
The faculty at MHS created seminars as a way to provide students with shorter learning experiences that can provide choice, meet their interests, and allow for increased rigor in cross- content learning experiences. Listening to students, we found out that whether a student was taking full-year algebra or an AP course – their elective options were being limited. This approach allows students to take more learning experiences (basically mini courses) while in high school. This isimportant for a variety of reasons including… 1) it allows them to experience more content and develop a broader education base in high school, 2) it allows students to have a better understanding of what their educational interests are and hopefully assists them in making more informed post-secondary decisions, and 3) allows students additional locations to demonstrate proficiency in those standards they have not yet mastered. All-in-all, seminars are a really cool way to experience a variety of learning opportunities without locking down a large portion of a student’s schedule.
– Seminars are designed to be fun and engaging
– Seminars are built from and focused on curricular learning targets (goals)
– For the purpose of a transcript, seminars are either pass-fail or 0-100 per student request to be determined within the first five days of a seminar.
– Seminars are cross-disciplinary learning experiences that include work toward learning targets from multiple content areas.
– Seminars are scored based on effort, engagement, and progress toward meeting learning targets. Student scores will be determined by a student’s individual learning plan.
– 3 Seminars slots will be offered per-period, per-semester. A student must sign up for 2, to be considered enrolled in a course for that period (eligibility).
The key here is two-fold, having student interest and choice match up with what students need to learn and be able to do in High School. As we move forward at MHS our teachers are working to take these seminars and student interests and create learning experiences that can meet “core” requirements for graduation. This means that what started purely interest based will become learning structure that allows students far more choice in creating learning pathways that move them through their learning to graduation. Our hope is that this allows learners up and down the spectrum of abilities to access learning experiences that broaden their knowledge base, provide greater variety (to ultimately help inform their post-secondary plans, interests…), and leverage interest and readiness to provide for a truly robust high school experience.
To find info on our 2014-15 Seminar offerings check out:
For our planning tool:
For resources from Ms. Gilles’s presentation: (email q’s to firstname.lastname@example.org )
If you have further questions do not hesitate to email our presenters or contact me directly at email@example.com or call me at school 207-465-7381!