Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Very Special Conversation

As the bell rings at Landrum Middle School, students pour into the hallways from every direction.  The hallway is suddenly engulfed by the sounds of excitement and chatter. Students dash left and right as they dart into their assigned classrooms. Just as quickly as it began it's over, replaced by a soundtrack of sneakers and sliding chairs, the familiar greetings as teachers welcome students to the day's lesson muffled through closed doors.

In Evan McQuirns' class the excitement, while subdued, still pervades the atmosphere. McQuirns, smiling broadly, ushers students to their workstations to begin the day's assignment. The click of key stokes and the glow of monitors hints at the day's activity. Today, McQuirns' students will participate in a conversation. They've already spent class time developing questions to ask their virtual visitor, and now they will have a chance to finally ask them. While a simple conversation doesn't sound all that groundbreaking, this one is.

McQuirns' class will have the unique opportunity to talk to students who are attending college, and ask them questions about their personal experiences. Using SKYPE, a video conferencing technology, students in McQuirns' class interact in real-time with college students around the nation. From questions about how to pay for college, choosing a major, and scheduling classes, to what the food is like in the dorm cafeteria, the opportunity for Landrum Middle School students to participate in a two-way dialogue about the college experience is building awareness, opportunities and confidence that didn't exist before.

As the lights dim and the monitor display pops up, a face appears in front of the entire class on the big screen. There, smiling and ready to answer any and all questions, is a real honest-to-goodness college student. McQuirns calls on his students to join him at the camera and ask their questions. During SBISD's GenTX Week (Oct. 7-11), Landrum Middle joined schools across the district, to participate in a wealth of activities geared toward raising awareness about college and career planning.

The SKYPING exercise in Mr. McQuirns' class, while part of a week-long exercise revolving around post-secondary planning, is just one of the many examples of how SBISD educators, staff and community are actively transforming the definition of success for our students and school district. Spring Branch T-2-4, a goal to double the number of students who graduate and go on to complete some form of higher education, has turned what may have once be only a week-long activity into a fundamental approach to education and modeled instruction in SBISD.

From conversations between student and their teachers, to exchanges between parents and campus educators, to active engagement by community partners and volunteers, all members of the Spring Branch community are coming together to help students realize and achieve their highest potential. It's no longer a question about if a student will go to college, it's now a question of about where and how.

For information on how you can support T-2-4, or to see Spring Branch T-2-4 in action, visit our website at: www.springbranchisd.com


Post a Comment

Do you have feedback? Tell us.