Two of the biggest draws for me at the beginning of Pacific Ridge were the concept of integrated teaching/learning and the opportunities of a blank canvas that would become our school. As programs became established and traditions flourished, a concern lingered in the back of my mind. As awesome as our existing programs are, does building a foundation and establishing courses, clubs, teams, and traditions prohibit opportunities to imagine and create new ideas? These last few weeks have shown me that the space and ability to create new and exciting programs for our community are alive and well at Pacific Ridge School.
Two weeks ago Mr. Nagler (History) and I began our new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) course in which students are examining local surf culture through writing and film, interviews with master craftsmen and industry leaders, and are preparing to hand craft their own surfboards from scratch.
Next trimester I will be teaching a course with Dr. Rosenwong (English) on the art form of graphic novels and the actual science of infectious disease and the undead in Zombiology. Both of these courses allow teachers to engage in their passions and work together to offer students creative and incredibly rich academic opportunities.
Meanwhile, students in our new math and science research club are beginning their first experiments – aimed at cloning and sequencing novel genetic sequences.
In addition, a core group of faculty and staff (well more than twenty people were in the room) from all across the school convened to discuss the current status and future directions of our STEAM program at Pacific Ridge. The room was buzzing with ideas, and lists of potential classes and projects were considered.
These four moments all happened over the span of just the last few weeks. They are a great reminder that there is as much or more room than ever to work with talented, inspiring colleagues and students to imagine, create, and develop new ideas at Pacific Ridge. I’m excited and thankful to be a part of it all.Todd Burckin