Dear Students & Families:
The New Year is nearly upon us — only one week of school remains. Happy Holidays & New Year.
Before I jump into the meat of this News Update which will focus on the Experiential & Winter Terms respectively, please note the following Reminders:
- ONLY STUDENTS & STAFF are together for INTERNAL FINAL PRESENTATIONS on Wednesday December 18. Kids are dismissed at roughly 3pm.
- Public Final Presentations will take place on Thursday February 27th, 10:30-noon.
- Students, please note that school is closed over holiday break, so this week make sure to request assistance for anything you need.
- SRs, if you need HELP WITH COLLEGE APPS before the New Year, please ASK NOW. We are all gone for the holiday and we want to help you!
EXPERIENTIAL TERM: I apologize if the news I am about to share is disappointing. I have three goals here: 1) to communicate the data gathered from our students & families about the Chicago & Nicaragua programs; 2) to suggest next steps so that ALL of you may pursue profound experiences locally and through travel/service abroad; 3) to listen to your questions and concerns.
What follows are the key pieces of feedback we received that led to our decision.
- Voting Data: Nearly 50% of our students selected the Chicago program; Fewer than 25 % of our student body selected Nicaragua; 25% forfeited their opinions because they didn’t vote/return paperwork.
- Eligibility: Only 8 students who selected Nicaragua are eligible to travel in March; unfortunately this renders the school trip untenable for both GCE & our travel partner.
- But it does NOT make YOUR travel impossible. Rather, we aim to provide alternatives for you, even if you wait 3 months until summer. The Road Less Traveled offers amazing Teen Service Trips and we will invite them to present to the students in January; parents are welcome to join the presentation as well (date TBD).
- Program: We will run the Chicago program immersed in the Deaf & Hard of Hearing (DHH) community. Students communicated an overwhelming interest in learning Sign Language (ASL). The program should prove to be an excellent civic engagement immersion. Details will be shared on the Experiential Term website in January.
- Fund Raising: Students will still be asked to fundraise for the term — $500. We will coach this process beginning in January. No pressure to raise any funds between now & then.
- GCE has confirmed a relationship with an organization which provides Travel Scholarships for eligible students. In January, we will host a workshop for families who wish to pursue Road Less Traveled or other Summer travel programs so that you may apply early and increase your chance of earning the scholarship.
- Alternative Options for March Experiential Term: If you are a JR or SR and you are not interested in participating in the Chicago Experiential Term, you may propose an alternative. We will provide an Alternative Exp Term Proposal Template for programs that are equal to or greater than what we’re offering.
- What we learned: We provided our students and families with inadequate information and equally inadequate timing. I apologize for this.
- Tell us, please: What were the determining factors in your decision (interest, passport, money, safety…)? What questions & concerns do you wish to share?
Winter Term — Jan 7-Feb 27 — courses & schedule are noted in the image above. Please note the class times, teachers, and grade levels (morning welcome still takes place at 8:50 on M, W, & F). Much more information will be provided to students and families at the close of this term (Weds 12/18).
- FR: Fuel with Jessie & Adam and Who Am I with Hiu
- SO: Disease with Tim & Landon and Forbidden Books with Stephanie & Gertjan
- JR: Light & Sound with Adam and A Nation’s Argument with Tim
- SR: UXD (User Experience Design) with Anny & Eric and Journalism with Carlos
- Health & Wellness: Martial Arts, Hip Hop Dance, & Drawing
Please share your questions & thoughts. We look forward to finishing this term strongly, enjoying a break and diving back into our grade specific cohorts for winter. Thank you & stay warm!