On Monday, August 12th, Constantine and Alyse met with several teachers from Federal Hocking Middle School to further discuss working to develop educational partnerships between Fed Hock, OU, and Athens’ Own. The following is the abbreviated transcript and notes from that meeting, as taken by Alyse.
Third Education meeting: August 12, 2013
BE: CF and AC have been trying to get working with me for about a year now. He’s interested as a business in the area in developing some kind of partnership with fed hock. We had a meeting a few weeks ago to explore possibilities, to see if we could get anything going between FH, AO and CARE. It sounded like you (teachers) were interested in getting some educational programs happening.
CF: Our approach to building resilience is based on the six basic needs. In that education is one of those six, we are open to areas where we can take an active role in building education. Knowing Bill was active in education at OU, I asked him if he was connected to other teachers who might be interested in developing some programs. We [Athens’ Own] have developed a worker readiness certificate to help address some of the gaps we see in education, and help students develop skills that we feel they aren’t getting from traditional education. How can we give college students the opportunity to develop modules, even self-help, maybe online? Even before they start working with us actively. In pursuing that with Bill, he came back to me with: “Hey, one thing I am doing is this program with student teachers at Fed Hock.” So I say, in trying to build community resilience, how can I be of service to Fed Hock’s mission, the care program, and to you as educators? How can we as a business help make your vision happen? Instead of just making widgets happen, our widget is community resilience. How can we build an opportunity to make what you want to happen, happen? How can what we do possibly be of service to what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish?
BE: So we thought we’d start with something small and concrete with a specific goal in mind. One possibility is to center things around local food production, and looking into the possibility of maybe a meal for the cafeteria, some kind of end thing where we’d draw from local businesses. That would be the end, but the important part would be showing kids that there is a use for what they are learning and building resilience, critical thinking, research skills, composition skills, teamwork, social skills, creativity, all the things you are interested in seeing. It’s something that deals with real stuff, instead of filling in bubbles on a sheet. We thought the 8th grade team might be interested. With the past things that we have worked on together, it seemed logical that we could try to work together again.
CF: Looking at the FH mission statement, teamwork was strongly in there, as well as not just student teamwork, but multi-layered teamwork. The students have a hands on opportunity, and there’s latitude around what they can do. And that type of thing fosters creativity.
CB: At the end of the year, we were having conversations about doing things like this. So when CF showed up, I immediately thought this might fit in. It does fit perfectly with our operating principles. Particularly at the middle school.
SR: My goal is to make the kids think they have a purpose in life, that they can be a valuable citizen: How can I survive, but also learn all the core concepts along the way?
BE: I think it’s a perfect match to what CF is talking about. The students want to learn something to feel like it’s real and important right now. So we need to figure out what to do next and how each of us can contribute.
SR: So is our end goal to plan a meal for the cafeteria?
CF: I don’t think we got that far, it was a possibility. I think we’d rather start with you; what are your goals, how can the student teachers and CARE make something happen?
SR: Within the common core, the language arts portion is huge, and social studies has been pushed to the side a bit. If we could bring that back in, maybe we could add in social studies: what did they eat during a certain time? How could we tie in these other lessons and what he is doing? They could dress in character maybe. So, this could tie in social studies as well.
CF: Am I correct that both of you encompass the entire curriculum?
SR: No, I teach math, he teaches social studies, language, other things. Together we work on projects that encompass all of them.
BE: I think one of the things we’d like to incorporate into it is what is going on in the local area. Transportation, marketing, etc. I think you could do that still. If we’re looking at community development, one of the things that would be nice to look at is what are people doing in Athens county? Food production, distribution, etc, whatever’s involved. How does it get on the shelf? What’s the advantage.
CF: The opportunity there – where do we buy things? There’s math, science, social studies, in that. What does it look like now, what are some of the alternatives to that now?
BE: And I think the idea with different periods of time, I think it could be melded together. We’re not pushing anything in particular on you, but I think it would be great to incorporate what’s going on in the area.
SR: What is the time frame for this thing?
CF: As a pilot program, one year is a good goal. From my perspective, I am not going to only offer one year, these kids are the future, this is a long term investment. How can I be a part of this now, make a more grass roots involvement?
SR: If we started somewhere small, and added a different portion each time?
BE: Yeah, we can evaluate after each time and see what we think.
CF: Sometimes things like this can get too big too fast. I want to hear what you two think would be substantive. Here’s one example: how important dirt is. If food is the window we are going through, the importance of dirt, in a very simple way. That kind of simplicity.
BE: Ok so, I guess maybe if you’re interested, part of it is then how we will be able to work together. One of my goals is to help facilitate things between you guys.
SR: I think I have three oo four care students this year. Are you thinking they would be focusing on this project? You might be able to start with some younger OU students and as they go through the program they would become exceptional leaders.
BE: I think that would be great, I’d like to slip some sophomores and freshman in there if you’d be open to it. I’d like them to see some of the planning, maybe contribute to it as well. If that works.
BC: My imagination is going wild with all this.
BE: To me it boils down to language, language is key to everything. I think Constantine comes with a business perspective on the kind of skills you’d like to see creativity, teamwork, etc. I think we have a wealth of resources available locally to us. I think we have a totally unique vision of business here.
CF: Just to throw this out there, one of our partners is the red bird ranch. We buy their beef, that is happening in this circle, in any way that that could be beneficial in this effort. There’s definitely a lot of math opportunities, yields per animal, how much sources to feed a certain number of people, etc.
SR: Or even just to understand that beef comes from a cow! We have students who don’t know that!
BE: There are people that make a living, making that bacon and sausage.
SR: We have kids who have to give presentations on things like that for their 4H group. We want to tie in what these kids do outside of school, bringing that into what they are doing in a school day.
BE: Alyse has experience working with kids in non-traditional settings, so we can bring that to the table today.
CF: I should mention, I live out at the Broadwell stewardship center, in any way that might be of interest for any of the academic disciplines.
SR: Keith does a lot with soil composition. Mixing in Volume with me, cubic yards, etc. That was going to be one of our trips, tying in science with math, looking at the soil in our area.
CF: I’m glad you bring that up, Kathy is an avid worm farmer, she studies soil health, etc. That is definitely an area of strength.
SR: the kids struggled last year with the difference between a square and a cube. So someone brought up the idea of having them dig, and that ties it into science. How can we put all that into it, if we make raised beds, to plant new things, etc.
CF: That’s an awesome challenge of conveying 3d thinking.
SR: So he said, let’s make them actually dig a square foot, how do they measure it, where do they start? Now, let’s make a raised bed, what’s the volume we need to fill it? Proportions, scale drawings, they plan out their garden, then start the process of building it. As teachers, with the new evaluation system, we have to involve businesses, etc in our lessons. We can bring in construction companies, etc to show them how to build, measure angles, etc. Measurements aren’t in the common core anymore, its all algebra.
BE: Is there any modeling involved in that?
SR: It’s used about three different ways with the word modeling in math. There are a lot of different ways to model equations, etc.
CF: With the raised bed thing, it ties in decision-making and critical thinking. Do we just buy dirt? What’s the cost/benefit? If we have compost that we carry out of Athens, there’s a choice, could we build it, with compost, worms, etc? Maybe stepping down from buying it first, and start building it over the years. Building soil out of clay, with Kathy you can see the sequential progress, she has different areas at different places in their life cycle.
SR: Even figuring that out, when the kids do soil testing, what would it cost to transport some of that soil here? There’s a math tie-in again. What PH scale of the soil do you need to grow certain plants? Just getting them to understand just everything that goes into it. What process did food go through to get to you? Kids can memorize equations, word problems, they probably don’t read it, but what does it mean to them, they need to be able to connect to the words in it, make a real-world sense from it.
BC: The only thing I’m personally lacking, I can appreciate the goal of eating a fully supplied meal in our cafeteria, and I think we can understand how to get there. So I need a direction to go in.
SR: It think that is definitely an obtainable goal. I don’t think that is diving in too deep.
BE: There is a lot of stuff available about farming in this area in different time periods.
SR: Maybe we can even have some type of open-community event where the kids can show off what they did and learned. Maybe that can help get out the awareness to the community, or would that be too much?
CF: I don’t think it’s too much. Potentially we could do something with vendors at school events, even. It is important to convey to the public, why this hot dog costs more. The whole goal with the AO model is taking the profit and putting it back into these other efforts.
AC: I don’t want to forget about the OU students. Maybe they can help with some of this planning, creating a budget, presenting it through an educational light to the board if there are budget concerns. Maybe they can help describe this whole web of possibilities, which might help the whole thing actually happen and not get stuck in red tape somewhere.
SR: Our school has done pretty well, we serve Shagbark chips now, we have better lettuce, etc. I think students help making a presentation would be great. Our students are always texting, email, etc. they need practice speaking.
CF: Rationalizations like that would help us rationalize our investment as well. Why should we be directing community resources to this task?
BC: Somebody point a direction, I’m ready to go!
BE: It sounds like you two and Keith need to discuss some ideas and make some plans. We are looking at some culminating things, a sampler, a meal, etc. to celebrate everything they’ve done.
CF: It would seem like the hurdles for a sampler would be less than actually making a meal happen that is actually going to get served. Cooks, supportive staffing, etc.
BE: Let’s give some time for you three to talk, to brainstorm. I need to think about my students as well.
BC: School starts next week, so we need about three weeks to get everything settled.
BE: I’d love to sit in to the common planning meetings to see how CARE can get involved. Maybe even bring some students in to get involved. I’d like to be a part of it from the early stages.