The influence of colleges seems to be apparent everywhere in ARTech lately. This shouldn’t be a surprise for a charter school that has the good fortune to share a town with two excellent liberal arts colleges.
Connections with the local colleges happen in many ways. At the moment, James, a student in the education department at Carleton college is visiting our school a couple of times a week to shadow Joe, and gain an appreciation of how social studies is integrated into the education program. We forget sometimes that having a student teacher in our building brings a fresh energy and enthusiasm that we should welcome and encourage. Cathy Tower Oehmke, currently James’ professor of education at Carleton, is going to take a lead role in the evaluation team that serves as part of the contract renewal process for our school later this month. I truly hope that we can grow this mutually beneficial relationship with the colleges and bring more student teachers into our school.
Dom, our artist in residence, has been steadily building relationships with both Hamline and Carleton. He has worked with Dr. Walter Enloe at Hamline on the 20/20 project , and Dr. Cherif Keita from Carleton on a series of documentaries that will feature in the FESPACO Pan African Film Festival. Dom is gearing up to head out to South Africa to attend the festival with Dr. Keita.
Bob has established a strong connection with the theater folks up on the hill at St. Olaf. After the great collaboration with St. Olaf theater students last fall, Bob is now planning to take a group of students to visit St. Olaf after school on Tuesday, Feb. 10, tour Kelsey theater with their college friends, see the set for St. Olaf‘s production of A New Brain, and play some theater games.
There are countless opportunities to get ARTech students on college campuses. The Greenhouse Project which is now gathering steam as a student led project, was given a boost by a visit to the St. Olaf greenhouse atop the new science building. Aside from the enhancement of our curriculum, these visits give our kids an early feel for what life might look like on a college campus.
Of course, we also have a fairly constant stream of college representatives visiting our school and presenting to students. Today, we were visited by an Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) representative who shared a video presentation and engaged in a question and answer session with students. Sarah organizes many of these visits for our school and is always seeking new ways to support ARTech students with college planning. She is currently leading a Beyond ARTech seminar. Here’s the course description:
This is a chance to work will all sorts of different ideas of what you want to do when you grow up and head on out of ARTech. Will you go to culinary school? Art school? Business school? And how do you get into these schools anyways? And what the heck does liberal arts mean? And what does FAFSA stand for? How on earth can I afford to go to college? We will go on college visits, do some career assessments, and practice writing essays.
All of these college connections are making a difference to our students. It seems almost daily that I hear news of college plans or acceptance (congratulations to Breanna, accepted at the U of Montana and Alissa at Hamline). Last year, 83% of ARTech graduates were accepted into a 2 or 4 year college.