1999-07-03 / Letters

Keep ALPS Alive At 180

Dear Editor;

As a concerned parent of two children currently enrolled at PS 114, I feel compelled to write concerning JHS 180. I am also an educator currently working as a technology staff developer for a school district in Brooklyn. I am sure many parents in the area will agree that too little has been done by District 27 to make JHS 180 a viable choice for our children. The school needs to meet the needs of our children by offering innovative programs that reflect new school design. These modifications need to be advertised to the community at length.

Unfortunately, the perception of JHS 180 to the community is negative. I had the opportunity to visit the school when picking up my children from the after-school arts program. I was impressed by the physical plant and noticed some positive things about the school. I would like to address one thing in particular, the ALPS program. Brenda Isaacs’ administration did little to nothing to celebrate one of the jewels of JHS 180. The ALPS program dedicated to Expeditionary Learning principles of education. Expeditionary Learning consists of learning through real world experiences that are planned by teachers working in teams with guidance and resources provided by the Outward Bound Expeditionary Learning school designers. These staff members work closely with teachers and administrators to develop outstanding curriculum and standards-based projects for children called "expeditions." The teams of teachers seek out experts from the community to work with children and plan field trips that relate to the expeditions.

Expeditionary Learning espouses Outward Bound’s 10 design principles that promote self-discovery and construction of knowledge for all learners. The design principles include: the primacy of self-discovery, the having of wonderful ideas, the responsibility for learning, intimacy and caring, success and failure, collaboration and competition, diversity and inclusivity, the natural world, solitude and reflection, service and compassion. There is much more involved in expeditionary learning. I can attest to its value and its success since prior to becoming a district staff developer, I taught at an Expeditionary Learning school in Brooklyn. The experience for me as an educator was life changing. I would love to have my children attend an intermediate school that can offer such an innovative program.

Due to lack of support, this wonderful program already in existence at JHS 180 faces an uncertain future. There is great opportunity at hand for the new administration at District 27 to try to keep this program alive at 180 and to see it thrive. I truly hope they seize the opportunity. Our children deserve it.







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