Minarets makes furlough days beneficial

-- Minarets CorrespondentJanuary 10, 2013 

Instead of sitting around and wasting mandatory furlough days, a group of Minarets High School staff members decided to continue to advance their professional knowledge recently. On day one of a five-day furlough week, a group of Minarets educators toured innovative bay area schools in order to advance their pedagogy related to project-based education.

The group visited the Nueva School in Hillsborough and the Bay School at the Presidio in San Francisco, as well as the Shmoop Office in Mt. View. Although the Nueva School and the Bay School are both private schools, both are project-based and one-to-one laptop programs like Minarets. Additionally, both schools are continually looking for new and better resources and opportunities for their students in the 21st century.

Minarets felt they could identify with these schools in terms of their mission and vision. The Nueva school, which charges $37,000 annually to attend, is opening up a high school in the fall after 40 years of being a K-8 program. Leaders and teachers at Nueva have asked Minarets if they could visit the Minarets campus this spring in hopes of better helping them plan for their incoming 9th grade class.

The Minarets group included Director of Minarets Charter Jon Corippo, English and Communications teacher Ryan Finfrock, Ag Science teacher Amanda Hendrickson, Social Science teacher Bob Kelly, Math teacher John Martin, Social Science teacher Chelsea Milliorn, Principal Michael Niehoff, Counselor Claudia vanDenbergh, and Special Education Teacher and Athletic Director Don Watkins.

The Minarets staff agreed that the bay area tour and trip were indeed educational and worthwhile.

"It was an honor to see first-hand top notch academic programs that are advancing both project-based education and 21st century student needs," said Minarets English and Communications Teacher Ryan Finfrock. "To travel with a group of forward thinking and innovative educators like I work with, while also learning from the best of the best, made for a very productive, professional and personally enriching experience."

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