The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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Volunteering at the Special Olympics State Office was a very inspiring experience. While I only performed clerical work, I quickly learned how Special Olympics plays an integral role in the athletes' lives: inspiring confidence and teamwork.
When reading through feedback questionnaires from the athletes, one of the questions asked was: "What is your favorite part about playing sports with the Special Olympics?" The athletes' responses unanimously said they enjoyed playing and meeting other people. Many of them mentioned that they were alleviated of social anxiety when playing team sports.
Considering the benefits Special Olympics (SO) events had on the athletes, I was inspired to provide them more opportunities for memorable experiences. As a member of multiple WPS (Windermere Preparatory School) athletic teams, I knew about the extensive athletic resources and experienced coaches we have. I thought this would be an excellent way to use WPS resources. Furthermore, my peers would also get a chance to train and teach while playing a sport they loved. Thus, I conceived the idea to create clinics which integrated Special Olympics athletes with WPS athletes.
The first Special Olympics-WPS camp was with the WPS Basketball program. On the morning of November 18, 2017, WPS hosted its first Special Olympics-WPS athletics clinic, with 25 special olympic athletes and 44 WPS High School basketball players (3 teams of players). I did not expect such a large turnout. Each of the Special Olympic Athletes were paired off with 2 WPS Athletes. They worked together to complete drills and at the end participated in a scrimmage.
I witnessed not only the Special Olympics athletes laughing and having fun, but also my fellow WPS classmates. The WPS players were lifting kids up and teaching them how to slam dunk. They also took the opportunity to teach all the athletes the most important part of a game: the celebration dance. The coaches turned on music and the players formed a circle to watch. They took turns dancing and showed each other how to do different dance moves. As I watched this, I saw how the camps had the ability to create awareness and an inclusive environment.
As a school privileged with many skilled coaches, WPS was able to share its resources and help improve the skills of the SO players. While there were many differences between the Special Olympics players and the WPS players, their love for the same sport brought them together and created a lasting bond.
This camp created a welcoming atmosphere and allowed both groups to share a sport they love. After the camp, Coach Ben Wilson came up to me and said, "This was one of the coolest things I have been a part of and I want the Special Olympic athletes to be a part of our team at a game." Many athletes saw it takes one small connection to form a friendship. With more awareness and exposure to special needs athletes, I hope our WPS community will become more inclusive. I believe it starts with camps such as these.
If you would like to get more involved in the Special Olympics community, reach out to your county chapter and sign up as a coach or an assistant coach. In addition, the state office is always looking for volunteers. The Special Olympics are a great way to spread your passion for a sport while helping a good cause.
Life is a pathway of choices, and the one who makes those choices is you. Whether you make the choice, someone else influences your choice, something influences your choices, the final result will be produced from you. There are times where you can turn your choices back, but most of the time, you cannot turn your choices back. Your one choice could lead to profitable and good results, but that one choice could lead to a series of mistakes and even a disaster. According to research, decision making suddenly changes when you reach puberty, and change slowly when you enter the twenties. I believe that the most choices made during the high school life is whether you should drink and do drugs, and I believe that the choice you make in the situation stated before will affect your future. Do not look for a situation that is only a step ahead. LOOK at a few more steps and imagine what your future could look like due to your one choice! I really hope for you to not make the decisions that may affect your future in a bad way.
I would like to share some tips for tackling AP European History. My first tip to you would be to pay attention in class. Always take effective and efficient notes during Mrs. Hilaman's lectures, as everything she says could be used on any tests. My second tip for you would be to do the formative practices. Mrs. Hilaman gives a lot of practice DBQs (document-based questions), LEQs (long essay questions), and short answer questions. Doing her formative work will help you develop the writing styles that the AP graders want from you at the end of the year, which will help you get the score you want on the exam. In addition, if you listen to her feedback on the formative work, you can use that feedback to get good grades on her assessments. The last tip, and probably the most important, do not over study. I found that many of my peers studied frantically the night before assessments, and they stressed themselves out by trying to cram all the knowledge into their brain. Pay attention in class, and study what you don't know, and if you are having a really difficult time grasping this, it won't help to study more, so just move on. These tips will hopefully help you get a good grade in AP European History with Mrs. Hilaman, and get you a good score on the AP Exam.
I unfortunately was not old enough to work at our local shelter. So I decided instead to come up with a drive to support animals. I spoke to my local community, handed out flyers and people brought toys and sealed bags of food to donate to ASPCA. We gathered round 30 bags of food and a hundred different toys to donate! When I dropped off these items, the staff told me how the dogs love the toys and the food helps them keep every animal who comes in fed. Next year I hope to be a Bark Buddy and help take care of the pets at the shelter. If you enjoy being around animals come and join me in helping the ASPCA!
1. Evaluate the last quarter.
How much effort did you put into the last quarter? Did you do all formative work, and all of the summative work? Did you study? These are questions that you can be asking yourself. If you find something that you could do better, like trading an hour of video games for studying, or getting to school on time, or even just getting eight hours of sleep, you can create easy ways to achieve this to make this an easier and better term for you.
2. Write down what you have learned.
Although it was just the beginning, there was a lot of subject material that you have learned. It may not seem important, but these topics will be on the midterm exams, though you learn them so long ago. This leaves many people reviewing in the last week and forgetting what to study. A way to resolve this would be writing down key themes from each of your subjects. This would be the most important things to know, and it doesn't have to be very detailed, just a sentence or two to help you remember. For example, in US history I would write "The Colonies" and "The Great Depression", and important figures during that time.
3. Look at the Syllabus!
What better way to prepare for the new quarter by seeing what you are going to learn? If you know the subject material, not only will you not be lost in class, but you will know what is coming up. This means you can also prepare beforehand, by reading or researching the main themes and facts.
4. Talk to your teachers
There may be things you are doing wrong or should be doing that you do not even know about. Ask your teachers on how you did in the quarter and what you can do to improve, from homework standards to classroom etiquette.
5. Make some goals!
Thanks to Skyward and Canvas, our grades are always there to see. You may not have reached a grade level you wanted to, or there may be a grade you want to achieve by the end of the year. A semester grade consists of the two quarters plus the midterm exam, which means if you know what your grade is this quarter, you can find out what grade you have to get the next quarter and in the exam to achieve the grade you want. This end grade will be a goal, and you can have certain goals leading up to it, like studying every night or getting or completing all of the reviews, and getting A's on the formative assignments.
In conclusion, don't waste time before the quarter, or think there is nothing you can do. Make sure you do what you need to do to have the best year ever!
Transitioning from the Middle School Student Government Association to High School SGA is a big change. I was a member in middle school and when I became a high school member I was able to see the increased amount of responsibility and commitment that was needed. In high school, even as a freshman, you play an integral role in all parts of SGA. While the transition is difficult, there are a lot of ways to continue your leadership and make sure your voice is heard.
1. Speak up
a. When you have an idea on how to make an event better speak up and make sure your voice is heard. It can be something as small as where tickets are sold to a change in venue. All of SGA appreciates ideas. If you really want to make sure your idea is considered, take some time and think through the logistics, and how things would work and then suggest the full idea. This will showcase your communicative abilities and make sure your ideas are approved.
2. Show Up
a. Be present at all events and make sure you encourage your friends to come. The more you show up and show you are dedicated the more SGA will notice.
a. Take the time to communicate properly. If you can't be present at an event make sure you email at least twenty-four hours in advance of your absence. Also making sure your thoughts and rationale are clear in meetings and emails, this is a sure way to succeed in SGA.
a. In High School SGA, you have to take on a lot of responsibility. This can mean everything from picking up supplies to helping lead events. To complete all your tasks make sure you do not take on too much. If you take responsibility for your job and your actions, you will succeed in SGA.
The change this past year from Middle School to High School SGA was difficult but don't be afraid to face the challenge as it will help turn you into the best leader you can be.
I have played everything from tennis to lacrosse. However, the sport that truly changed my life was softball. As an 8th grader varsity player I had little experience, was scared to play, and was unfamiliar with our new coach. "This is a new experience for a majority of us but let's start by taking it one game at a time," said my coach, JD Wood. Although he had experience coaching sports, he was inexperienced coaching female athletes. His leadership and time in the Army taught him how to lead us and unite us as a team, which was his goal for the season and ultimately inspired me.
This year, I started as the catcher. I had no experience in the position, but it fueled me to work harder and grow as a player. Even though I didn't particularly enjoy catching, I refused to give up and took my position behind the plate as I knew everyone had to play a role for the team to succeed. I was determined to help turn our losing team into a winning one; however, it was not to be. Despite being 0-12 and receiving a mercy-ruling every game, our team's spirit, energy, and unity never wavered. Coach kept our spirits up and rallied the team to continue to work towards improvement game after game.
Although this season was not our desired outcome, it taught me about being a leader and a teammate. Being a leader means demanding the best out of others and yourself. Through our year in WPS Softball, I also learned many valuable things from my teammates: selflessness, trust, confidence, respect and communication. Being a leader or a teammate on a WPS athletics team does not mean you necessarily are the best player but it means you consistently show determination and give your best effort through all of the ups and downs. If you are interested in being a member of the WPS Softball team, please be sure to come out to tryouts next season. We are accepting anyone who wants to learn and be a part of the family we are creating.
At Windermere Prep, we're lucky to have such a well-developing, ambitious, and growing Arts Program available to students of all ages, no matter their level of skill. One of these many programs is the Dance Program, taught by Gilliane Hadley and Alison Barron. Many students, new or returning, may have questions or hesitations about the Dance Program at our school, which is why I sat down with high school dance instructor, Ms. Hadley, to provide some answers to any of your questions.
What do you like the most about the dance program at Windermere Prep?
H: What I like most about the dance program is that you get to dance everyday and I get to see you grow throughout the year. I've had students since they were freshman and now they're about to graduate as seniors. I also love that the fact that the dancers have different levels they can dance in and then they have a choice to take IB Dance or stick with elective dance or do both, which is amazing. I love that they get the opportunity to perform and do activities with Juilliard.
How do you think dance counts as both a sport and an art? Why are both elements important?
H: As an art, because it's a performing art, right? As for being mixed with a sport and art, we're physical, we're always moving, our heart rate is elevated, and we are our own athletes in our own way. Our bodies need to be warm like an athlete and will wear down like an athlete. For each genre of dance, there are certain skills and elements you need to know, just like any sport.
How do you come up with our themes and visions for our dance shows?
H: Sometimes it just happens, and sometimes I just hear something in a song. Music inspires me a lot. If I hear something, I can totally envision certain groups of kids dancing to it, which is how I figure out what dances you're going to do. Regarding the themes of the shows, me and Mrs. Barron really work together trying to figure that out because we have to be able to pick something that not only you guys will be excited about, but also what will inspire us to create those dances. We always like to challenge you and ourselves. Sometimes we think, "Oh my gosh, what are we doing?" But we are always thinking of you guys and what will keep you excited about dance and challenge some classes technique wise.
What do you think the dance program at Windermere Prep has to offer students and aspiring dancers?
H: So, for students who love to dance, it's a nice break from sitting at a desk all day. It should be an escape from your busy school schedule. Yes, I have high expectations for you, but if you love to dance, those expectations should be second nature. I can only help you so much, but if you try, those accomplishments are worth it in the end. Sometimes it's hard, because our classes are so short in terms of regular dance classes. Celeste, one of my aspiring dancers who graduated last year, found it hard to go to auditions and face the dance world because she couldn't take away everything that she should have. But we are not a studio, we are a school. It's not about taking a technique class. There are things we have to dive into more such as terminology, dance history, watching the works of other dancers and choreographers and creating compositions. I try to base our classes off how performing arts schools teach their dancers and try to shape versatile dancers. I want students to be able to walk into an audition or a dance group in college and be able to dance any genre or style, even if dancing professionally is not their ultimate goal.
Why do you think students should take a dance class next year, even if they've never danced before and what can they take away from it?
H: They should not take a dance class if they don't like to move or sweat. I think they should take a dance class because it's good for your health and it builds your brain in a different way. It's a release and it's enjoyable. It's interesting to see dancers in the first month and see which dancers make it to the next semester and the changes in the way they dance; it amazes me every time. They come in so enthusiastic and so ready to be challenged more. The best reason to take dance is that you really learn who you are and how much discipline you have and how much you really want to grow as a person.
During my time in middle school, everything seemed easy. Now there were a couple exceptions like TAP, but for the most part it was a breeze. I could go home do my homework in an hour and then watch TV or do something else. I had a lot of free time on my hands. At the beginning of the 9th grade year, I didn't think that 9th grade could be much harder than 8th grade. You would not believe how wrong I was. Now, most of the hard work came from my AP Human Geography class (which required at least 2 hours a night) and I was forced to learn how to manage my time well so I could have time to do some of my extracurricular activities, and other homework. The most efficient way to clear up time is to make use of your weekends. This may seem hard at first because your weekends are your only time off from school, but to manage an AP class with other activities you must utilize it. Utilizing the weekend can reduce the workload. You must stay organized during your 9th grade year or you will fall behind on your assignments. There are a few different apps that I recommend to get organized as they have helped me in the past. Using technology was a big help in knowing what is due and when.
The final difference between 8th and 9th grade is the immense pressure put on by college. When entering high school, you will have a moment of realization that now everything matters. Each test, each project, each choice that you make in high school will affect college. So in May, when you are looking at your course selection actually look at what classes you choose because those decisions can come back and haunt you. Make sure to pick classes right for you, not too hard or too easy but just right. You must put all your effort into each an every assignment because every grade matters and one grade can affect your quarterly grade in a positive way or negative way.
Whenever you are lonely, whenever you are bored, and whenever you are nervous, one of the best activities to do is volunteering. The fact that you are helping someone out for his or her benefit, not yours, gives you a thrill and happiness. When you are volunteering, you are also giving something back to the community, the community that gave you the environment to grow to what you are now.
Volunteering can also help you build new skills or even build on an existing skill that you are working on. For example, volunteering at a golf tournament may help you understand golf and volunteering at a hospital may help you understand how patients are treated and how the hospital runs during the day. Each time you volunteer, whether it is fun or not, you learn a valuable lesson, and the lesson you learn can be used for your future decisions and actions
For me, volunteering is quite fun, although I encounter new skills and activities that I might not even use in my life, just learning the new skills makes it fun for me. I volunteered at a golf tournament January 2016, and from there, I learned how the scoreboard runs during a golf tournament, and many other management skills that run a golf tournament. I even met many famous people there too! Furthermore, I am going to volunteer at the Orlando Regional Medical Center and I am looking forward to volunteer! I will be able to not only go around the hospital, but also have a chance to look into details where patient is being cared of, and other great opportunities!
All in all, one of the best ways to learn and go out into the world is by volunteering. The current world requires us to have as many skills and volunteering can cover most of the experience we need. Plus, just why not volunteer? Volunteering, in my opinion, is better than any phone or computer games and many other home activities. Most volunteering activities are held outside, which means that you can also get your daily walking done while outside. So to have fun and volunteer!
All students can describe their high school life as busy. Between homework and all the different sports and after school activities we are involved in, at some point (or points) in the year the work load will just become too much. Students will find that there is not enough time in the day for homework, sleep, sports and clubs, and a social life. In order to handle all of these things a student will soon find themselves up at 3 a.m. finishing homework that could have been done sooner or studying for a test that was forgotten because of this workload. A way to avoid all of this is time management. And I know that I am sounding like a total counselor right now, but trust me it works. How you use your time is very important and totally changes how your week turns out. The amount of homework sometimes depends on what you get done in class. ( Not all the time obviously ) In order to cut down the work here are some tips that I would highly recommend to use!
• When at school if given the chance to work on projects or protective homework, work on it! Either if it is during class or SRT. The more you get done at school, the less you have to do at home.
• When doing homework at home, if you find that you get tired while working work a desk and not on your bed. This will force you to work on what you need to get done.
• Also make sure that when doing homework to put away all of the possible distractions to work at your full potential.
I am sure each one of you knows someone who is affected by Autism. One out of every 100 people have Autism according to the National Autisitic Society. (This does not include people who may have milder or spectrum disorders.) This disease is something which can affect anyone regardless of gender, race, or sex. I personally know a handful of children who have been diagnosed with Autism. The growing number of children being diagnosed with Autism is something which needs to be addressed within our society. Autism Speaks is a charity which not only helps people with Autism, but increases awareness and helps fund research to find a cure. Knowing three boys with Autism I chose to help Autism Speaks in its mission by raising funds for donation. In middle school I had always participated in fundraisers but this was the first one I would be doing on my own. I chose to raise money by selling something I love to do - bake! I got to work making brownies, cookies, banana bread, and even churros! I single handedly raised $137 for Autism Speaks.
While I know this is a small amount, I felt the bake-a-thon gave me a deeper understanding of Autism. As I baked each dessert and spent hours perfecting them, I realized this could possibly be a fraction of the time a person living with Autism spends struggling. The time and dedication it took to bake allowed me perspective into how difficult even simple tasks may be for a person with Autism. Ironically, baking for an organization that increases awareness, increased my awareness of Autism.
I have seen students be apprehensive to interacting with special needs kids, but raising money for a charity organization that is important to you is a great way to help out. Let me know if anyone wants to contribute to future peer support fundraising projects.
Many people have the desire to succeed, however sometimes it takes a lot of work to get to the point that you want to be at academically. My main tip to doing your absolute best is being on top of things. If a teacher were to give you a test a week in advance the best thing you could possibly do is study a bit every night until the assessment approaches. Many students will wait until last minute to study and will not perform at their best. This could be applied to any project given as well. As you get into higher grades the work amount will only increase, so if you started bad habits on procrastinating then it might be hard to break out of it. However, you will for sure see benefits when you begin to do your work in advance instead of cramming it the night before it's due.
My second most important tip is to use your class time. Many teachers let you complete work in class, to prevent the amount of homework you will have at home. Many students slack in class and talk to their friends or not pay attention, and that just will increase your stress levels in the future. It is way easier to do the work at school when you are supposed to than leave it to do when you get home in the afternoon. Following these two important tips, it is guaranteed that you will see an improvement in your performance and your stress level will begin to decrease.
Staying on top of work can be hard, especially in High School. Falling behind in work may seem hard to avoid, but there are always ways to stay ahead. When you make the transition from Middle School to High School, you can see the difference between the amount of work you have. I'm in 9th Grade, so it is my first year in High School and it was hard for me to adjust to the amount of work there is in High School. Once I started to realize I was falling behind, I made sure to change that and started doing things that could help me. There are many ways you can stay on top of your work and even though it may take extra time, it is completely worth it because you will be stress free.
My first tip would be to always be paying attention and writing notes. If you are constantly writing notes in your classes you will automatically start to understand concepts more. Once the test or quiz comes around for that class, you won't have to cram the night before because you will already have the basic information. Not only that, but actually going over your notes after school will help you a lot. In past years I would only look over my notes once at home and then never again , and that would lead me to being stressed over the class. Once I started reviewing the concepts from the class and all the notes, I noticed how quickly it helped me. Not only that but challenging yourself and pushing yourself to work. Being in a class that is too easy for you may be less stressful, but actually pushing and challenging yourself to be in a class that is a little bit harder will be helpful, because you will actually be learning new concepts. If you do decide to challenge yourself, you shouldn't push yourself too hard. If you do then it will be hard to progress because you will be struggling to keep up with the concept. Keeping on top of all your work may take up time, but it is worth it in the long run.
High School here at WPS differs greatly from Middle School. There are higher expectations, more emphasis on academic mastery and more hours spent completing homework. But that doesn't mean you should be scared or intimidated about the jump from 8th grade to 9th grade. Here are some tips and advice to prepare you for your first year in high school and the years to come.
Always Be On Top of Everything: It is crucial that you stay organized and know what is coming up in the week. Firstly, always know what your homework is, when it is due and what tests you have to study for. There are multiple ways to do so, such as getting a hard copy planner or using a program on your computer. This way, you can keep track of upcoming assignments and exams and what you have to do that night. Plan out your homework load so you are not procrastinating and working on a lengthy assignment at 11:00 at night. While everyone slips here and there and procrastinates until the last minute because of other homework or after school activities, try your best not to. Another method that is crucial to adapt is organization. Keeping all your papers, worksheets and tests in one place will make it easy for you to study for midterms and finals. Doing the same on your computer is also helpful as well.
Taking Notes and Study Methods: For a lot of students, school comes easy to them and are able to make A's without studying. But as the material becomes harder to understand and the amount of material on exams increases, students find it harder to not study and still make an A. That's why taking good notes and finding the right study method is important. Depending on the teacher, they might teach with a powerpoint, by writing notes on the whiteboard or by just talking out loud. Try your to not tune out the teacher while they are talking and just write what is on the board. While that might be easier to copy down, sometimes the teacher will say or explain material that is not on the board and is important to know. Not everyone does this, but I will tend to use multiple pens such as a black and purple/gold pen so that I can use the colorful pens to underline key concepts and terms so when I am reading through my notes later, those key concepts will stand out to me. When it comes to studying, just reading over your notes might not be enough, especially if the class is rather challenging for you. Students need to find what study method works for them, whether it be explaining concepts out loud or using online flashcards and practice tests such as quizlet. If you figure out what helps you learn early on in your freshman year, high school will be a lot easier for you.
While school can be boring and uninteresting and it is hard to be motivated to do homework, you have to look at it with a positive approach. Choose classes that fit your learning skill (honors, non-honors, AP, etc) and always strive to be the best that you can be. If you stay organized, take good notes and study in a way that benefits you, you should be very successful in high school. I will leave you with two things: Don't sweat every single grade because I am going to tell you now that you will get a 'bad grade' from time to time. Just focus on making corrections to it and doing better next time. Lastly, just remember, if you ever have questions about material in class, ask your teacher. They are there to help you. Best of luck!
As a student of Windermere Prep you are expected to strive for perfection and attain excellence, but this doesn't mean that you must be stressed all the time. With good time management you can be less stressed, get more things done, and even have some free time for other activities that you may enjoy. I used to always be stressed about getting good grades and doing all of the homework that I was assigned. I had to learn how to manage my time in order to get more things done and have free time do the things that I loved. I had tried many time management tactics, such as writing everything down in my planner, or even skipping some after school activities in order to get the best grade possible. This ended up stressing me out even more, I had to find a method that worked for me. I ended up using a time calendar. I know it sounds weird, but I got a white board and marker and would write down what I would be doing every half hour. This helped me to see exactly when I should be working on a certain assignment, or studying for a specific test. I now had seen where I had free time to spend with family and friends, and even go to all of my after school activities. This has helped me manage my time, but it might not help you. Find a system that works for you and stick with that method. Make sure to keep up with the method you choose as well. As long as the system works for you, it doesn't matter how weird it seems.
With the first test done, I am sure there are some 9th graders considering dropping APUSH (AP US History). From my understanding, the grades were not that good. This is not abnormal, for my AP Human Geography class as well as the classes before me the first test is always the hardest and most students don't do well on it. I for one received a C on my first test and I am sure that this is the same situation for the rest of you. Before my first test, I thought Mr. Zoslow was exaggerating about the longevity of his tests. I thought that the essay questions would be one page at max and there would be more than enough time. Boy was I wrong. I was completely blindsided by my first test, and considering the circumstances I was pretty lucky in receiving a C. Like me most of you asked yourself, how on earth am i going to do well in this class?
The first tip I give to you is participating in class discussion. This is what is going to be on the test. 75% of the test is based on the applications of the information on the outlines which Mr. Zoslow talks about every day in class. So taking notes is a great idea. Class discussion reinforces the points that you studied in the outlines as well, so when you participate in class discussion there are one of two outcomes. Either you get it right and you can say that you know the topic or you don't and Mr. Zoslow will explain the correct answer. In the beginning it is extremely nerve racking as Mr. Zoslow is pretty intimidating. As soon as you overcome this fear, you will be one step closer to an A.
On a test, Mr. Zoslow will put all information learned on it. You must use all sources in order to ensure that you are well prepared for each test. Everything in the textbook, on the outlines, in the class discussion, and on the KBAT is fair game for the test. This may sound like a lot of studying but the effort needed for a good grade is high in an AP class. In terms of the distribution between the various resources, Mr. Zoslow expects you to know the facts from the text book, but most of the points earned on the test are the applications talked about during the class discussion, so I highly recommend taking lengthy class notes.
Finally, when testing you should always outline before you write an essay. Take just 30 seconds to organize your thoughts and it will make a big difference. Mr. Zoslow always makes the analogy of an easter egg hunt. In an easter egg hunt, everything is scattered everywhere and there is no form of organization. In your essay it is essential that your essay is well thought out and organized. If you were talking about subsistence agriculture, don't go and talk about commercial agriculture before you finish subsistence agriculture.
Zoslow's class will take some time to adjust to, so don't get discouraged if you don't do well in the beginning. But in the end, everyone will figure out a formula to success and will do well.
Since Reach A Student is all about getting and sharing insight within school communities, I was hoping to meet the new owners of our school - Windermere Preparatory School when I was on vacation this summer in Hong Kong. I honestly did not know what to expect from my visit to the Nord Anglia Education Head Office. Ms. Sarah Doyle had arranged for me to meet and interview the CEO himself, Mr. Andrew Fitzmaurice.
The interview was scheduled for 11am on a Thursday and our hotel was located in the tallest building in Hong Kong on Kowloon and their office was on Hong Kong Island so our taxi went on a short ride through a tunnel that crossed the famous harbor in just a few minutes. The drive only took a quick 15 minutes to reach St. Georges Building where Nord Anglia Education had the entire 12th Floor.
After a quick wait in their reception area, Ms. Doyle came out to greet me and take me to Mr. Fitzmaurice's office. He has a beautiful office with a great view of the harbor and the Hong Kong Eye (which looks a lot like the Orlando Eye). Ms. Doyle and Mr. Fitzmaurice were very kind and Mr. Fitzmaurice shared some nice stories about himself, his family and Nord Anglia Education.
Ms. Doyle was really kind and presented me with some literature about some of their programs as well as a boxed gift, which was very generous of her. They explained some of the opportunities that Windermere Prep students could now benefit from – like Global Classroom and the Julliard partnership. It was an amazing experience and I can't thank Nord Anglia leadership enough for their generosity with their time and for welcoming a student from 1 of their 41-school family.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my visit to the Nord Anglia Headquarters in Hong Kong, please click the main image and scroll to see more.
While I was in Hong Kong this summer, I not only had the opportunity to meet some of the people in the Nord Anglia Education Leadership Team, but I also got to visit one of the Nord Anglia schools in Hong Kong - The Nord Anglia International School (NAIS) located in Lam Tin. Hong Kong is a former British colony and there is a lot of European influence in the city and at NAIS.
The principle of the school, Mr. Brian Cooklin generously gave me a tour of the new school, which just opened this past September (2014). Mr. Cooklin also allowed me to interview him for Reach A Student and share his insight. Besides the school tour and interviewing Mr. Cooklin, I was also able to interview a Year 5 teacher, Mr. Williams, and his student Ava.
This year was the school's first year operating as a new school, and I must say that it was amazing how developed they were for a school still just 9 months old. Prior to becoming the campus of the Nord Anglia International School, the property was previously used as a Catholic Boy's School and when that school moved out, Nord Anglia was awarded the space to use. I learned that there was a lot of construction that needed to be done and everyone worked very hard to get the school ready in just a few months for new students to begin classes last September.
The learning environment is really beautiful and the students and teachers I met were all very nice and welcoming. NAIS follows a British curriculum and that might be the biggest difference between the Nord Anglia International School and Windermere Prep. I spent a long time looking at a lot of their students work, much of it on display in the corridors and I can tell you that it is all of very high quality. Mr. Cooklin explained they use Nord Anglia Education's High Performance Learning techniques and I was very impressed by their approach.
Another difference that I really like was how they separate students in the school into 4 houses; Windsor (red), Sandringham (yellow), Caernarfon (green) and Balmoral (blue). These are the names of grand homes and castles in the United Kingdom. When students do something well, they are given a colored token that represents their house which they deposit in clear cylinder at the front of the school. The cylinder with the most chips at the end of the year wins, so there is a lot of team or house spirit. These houses also compete in school competitions against each other throughout the year. I thought this house system was really unique and fun.
All their classrooms were well designed and the school had excellent learning facilities. They had a gymnasium similar to ours at WPS, an Art room, Computer Lab, A full Science Lab, Library, Music Rooms and so much more. I saw students doing drama, playing in their playground where Mrs. Cooklin had painted a beautiful Panda and so many other things you might see at a school in America, only this wasn't America, it was all in Hong Kong – a city on the other side of the world from Windermere Prep. Needless to say, I was beyond impressed and it makes me happy to know that we are now a part of the Nord Anglia family of schools.
If you would like to see some of the photos of my tour of the Nord Anglia International School, please click the main image and scroll to see many more.
Besides Global Classroom, there is also a program that might interest aspiring WPS musicians and it is called Global Orchestra. This past March musicians from all the Nord Anglia schools were invited to audition for the opportunity to be selected to participate in the Global Orchestra summer school in New York from June 24th to July 1st. This year 34 singers and 46 instrumentalists were chosen from Nord Anglia schools around the world and spent their week attending music workshops and participated in practice sessions conducted by music experts. This is another wonderful opportunity for Windermere Prep students because we are part of this large family of schools.
Nord Anglia Education will be providing Windermere Prep student with access to their program known as The Global Classroom. This program offers students the opportunity to connect with other students from the other 40 Nord Anglia schools spread around the world.
Global Classroom will allow our students to experience diverse perspectives, new challenging concepts, topics and ways of learning. They accomplish this by using 3 methods:
An Online Learning Environment
Students can connect with students in other schools, debate with them and learn new concepts and ideas. As Mr. Fitzmaurice described, a student who was studying the effects of pollution on plants in China, could connect with a student at one of the Nord Anglia schools in China and get a perspective that you wouldn't find in a book.
Students are challenged in competitions to find new solutions to current problems that plague our planet.
These events bring Nord Anglia students from across the globe to work on community service projects, develop leadership skills towards instilling a sense of global citizenship.
I feel strong that bringing Global Classroom to WPS will allow us to learn and experience new topics and expand our global view. This year Global Classroom offered an opportunity to students to travel to Tanzania in Africa where they could volunteer to help the people there and have other unique experiences.
As a student, I am really excited to use The Global Classroom this upcoming year.
The Juilliard School which was founded in 1905, is a world leader in performing arts education and it is not surprising that students at our school are really interested in finding out more about the partnership between Nord Anglia Education and The Juilliard School.
I think we will see curriculum changes, which will begin with music but will extend into the other performing art categories. WPS musicians will soon be exposed to a "Juilliard-curated repertoire" of music that represents different genres, styles and cultures. Nord Anglia students are to gain understanding how music functions and how it fits into the human experience.
Windermere Prep teachers and students will benefit from being connected to Juilliard's network of teachers and performers. Also, Juilliard teaching artists will be sharing their insight with the Nord Anglia teaching community. The result of all this is so that students at Nord Anglia schools receive the highest level of performance art teaching available.
Performing arts is something that is really important to students at our school and that is why the partnership between Nord Anglia and The Juilliard School will be a huge benefit for our school. Clearly, this will help to enrich our performing arts curriculum as described above. Students will be able to connect with Julliard's countless performers and teachers. I think that this can only help inspire students to excel in this field.
I would like to think that I am a good writer; that I am good with words. You think it is an art, how I bleed for the world in a verse. But I think it's a way of life, how I let myself speak the words I've never been able to say. Writing is an art. Identical to art, the mystical crux of writing is in the eye of the beholder. Writing, like art can come in various magnitudes, insignias and each have their own eccentric way with words.
I find that words can be like an incorrigible child at times. They run around in your head, popping up at random intervals, giving you headaches and causing a maelstrom. Words are nothing but a jumble of inane letters, but it is your job, as a creator and as a writer, to tame those words running in your head and bend them to coalesce into tangible thoughts.
When I was smaller, writing was not an event that I would happily do, not by a long shot. Never would you find me freely obliging to write a 6-page essay for my friend. The easiest excuse I would use was that "writing is not easy". Everyone has their own struggles, whether it is coming up with strong thesis, plot, characters or even having an idea to start with. When George Plimpton asked Ernest Hemingway what the best training for an aspiring writer would be in a 1954 interview, Hemingway replied, "Let's say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with." This was kind of like Hemmingway's sick, comical take on writing.
Trust me, writing doesn't have to end in "hanging". It does not have to seem hard. Really, it can be quite enjoyable. But unlike common belief, writing is not easy. Not in the least bit. It is not just a scratch on top of a piece of paper or the result of a single keystroke. No, it is the process of creating a breathing life form that is birthed from your very own mind. If you do it just right, if will feel like you are putting part of your soul down on the surface. It is not like a jar waiting to be filled, more like a castle waiting to be built. Nonetheless, writing, for anyone, is not an easy feat. However, it one of the most purest forms of art you can ever make. You are painting with the most potent "aether" of your own heart.
If you are an 8th Grader like me, you probably have a lot of questions about course selection for next year. One of the most difficult decisions I think I will be facing as I enter high school, is whether or not I should challenge myself and take Mr. Zoslow's AP Human Geography class. Over the past week, Reach A Student mentors have been receiving a lot of questions about this class and some students suggested we interview Mr. Zoslow. He has been kind enough to share some of his thoughts and if there is a question you would like him to answer, please email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to forward them to Mr. Zoslow for review. I will keep updating this blog post, so be sure to check back often for the latest Q & A.
When you spoke to the 8th graders about your class a few weeks ago, you said that there would be 90 minutes of homework required every day, even on weekends! Students have pointed out that the workload for the same class in other schools in Central Florida, is not as rigorous, do you think this is true and if so, why is there a difference?
I cannot speak for other schools, but these students at WPS in 8th grade can ask former AP students at WPS with regard to whether the rigor prepared them not only for their exam in May but also better prepared them to step into IB.The rigor of AP Human Geography should not be seen only within the context of this one class but also within the context of creating a competitive academic edge for pursuing the most challenging course work through the WPS IB programs.
Another question asked by a student was how were they expected to do 2 hours of extracurricular activities, plus your class homework as well as homework from other rigorous classes?
Each student should choose a level of challenge that is most appropriate for them to pursue, some course selections are less rigorous and should be selected by those who place a higher value on extra curricular activities. WPS provides a curriculum to suit everyone's desired level of rigor. Students highly involved in athletics, robotics, theatre and so on have moved through AP Human Geography with great success because of their desire for rigor both within and outside of the classroom, as well as aided by a strong sense of discipline, organization and commitment. Please reach out to students who have completed AP Human Geography in order to get a peer perspective on the course.
How can 8th graders prepare themselves for your class next year, maybe something over the summer?
Please see letter below.
Is the summer reading the same book that you will be using for your class or is it just a supplementary resource?
Please see same letter below. However, should any student enrolled for AP Human Geography wish to have a text for preview over the Summer they are more than welcome.
Besides the summer reading, do you have any other suggestions that might help students perform better in your class or to be more efficient in their homework?
Read this website's blog for insight from one of the current AP Human Geography students. Discipline, organization, commitment, and a high work rate are beneficial qualities that ease the transition into AP Human Geography. Making the jump from Middle School academics to college level academics is difficult.
How important is note taking in your class and if so, what are some good note taking tips that you can give to your students?
It depends on the student...some students require significant note taking whereas others are better suited to focus on listening and mental processing skills. Also, participating in class discussion is critical to higher level thinking and for students to better integrate themselves with the materials on a richer and more meaningful level.
What are some good ways for students to study for your exams?
Use the course study tools, Textbook, Outlines, Essential Daily Questions, Vocabulary, and after school study sessions, and using these study tools daily to build up the maximum possible knowledge over time for the exams.
Why do you think students should take your class?
This course is not about what I think but about what students think and value...if academic rigor on a college level as a freshman in high school is a valued challenge then wonderful, if not, then that is wonderful as well. "Know thyself..."
To go along with my previous question, what do you think is the core message of your class and what do you stress most for your students?
Again, this class is not about me but teaching to an international standard that will be tested on a Global scale in May...AP Human Geography is about everything there is to know about the world today, to even attempt mastering this takes significant risk taking, hard work, and humility -the understanding that there is much to learn in less than 10 months. These qualities also happen to be or are similar to the IB Learner profile qualities.
Is there anything else you would like students to know?
My door is always open, for those in AP Human Geography, and for those who pursue other paths, every answer will always lead to another question and to that end it will be my pleasure to answer in person any questions concerning any element of the high school experience.
Dear AP Human Geography Students,
I look forward to working with you at WPS as your AP Human Geography teacher. Your suggested Summer Reading to best prepare you for the course is as follows:
Barron's AP Human Geography, 5th Edition (paperback)
Authors: Meredith Marsh, Ph. D., and Peter S. Alogona, Ph. D.
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series, 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1-4380-0282-8 (unique identification number for text)
This text and edition provides you with an initial diagnostic exam, as well as dividing the course into sections with exams to test your understanding and retention of material. Additionally, it breaks down material into simplified units for increased comprehension.
This text cannot guarantee results. However, by reading through the materials your understanding of the course information will be richer, and the transition into your AP Human Geography course will be made more seamless.
Should you or your parent(s) have any questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me. I will have only sporadic access to e-mail over the Summer, and e-mail will be the best manner to communicate with me. My best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy Summer!
Justin Lee Zoslow
Social Studies Faculty Residential Dean
I come from an educational system that does not put as much emphasis on grades at such a young age as they do in the USA, at least not until the child is older. What I would like to say to all of the students at WPS is not to worry about the grade but to think instead, 'What have I learned?', and what is the next step. School should be a voyage of learning, and if someone becomes obsessed with a letter grade, rather than what they are actually learning, I think that is a shame. You are more than a letter scrawled onto a page. If you got a good grade, then great, but what does it ACTUALLY mean? Do you reflect on why you got a good grade, and what you took away from that period of learning? Do you think to yourself, what else could I learn about this? How could I extend my learning? Was this fascinating to me, or something that I only tolerate because I have to? Likewise, when you get a bad grade, do you ask why? What does this mean for me? Do you find out what exactly you didn't do well or understand so that you can fix it for next time? The WHY is more important than the grade. Why am I studying this? Why is it important? What does it mean to me? Don't reduce your brainpower to a letter grade. You are so much more than that. You are creativity and problem solving. You are design and debate. Don't do things for a grade, do them because they matter to you and you know the reason why!