My Three Heroes and the IGP

The Innovative Graduation Project (IGP) is a way for students who have failed courses to retake them in an alternate setting. This summer I had three students and two agreed to share their final presentations on their projects. Both students were reclaiming English credits and one (the one on being a barber) was also reclaiming Algebra 1 credit. This program is part of New Mexico code (NMAC) and fulfills the Alternative Demonstration of Competencies available under ESSA. (Shoot me a DM if interested in the specifics.) This program essentially provides students that can’t navigate a traditional classroom a way to learn the same content in a more applied/hands-on manner and more focused on power/core standards. Since these were largely English recoveries, my focus was to have the students conduct research, visit sites, gather artifacts, process journal daily/weekly, and then discuss/hack their ideas together in small seminar sessions. Each student had a artifacts, notes from visits, process journals, rough and final drafts, slide show outlines, and final drafts. The semester was two months.

The student who explored being a barber was interested in the meaning of a haircut for men and the feeling and culture of the barber shop. He was also interested in the economics on how to build/register a barber shop business (EIN, State), pay bills (budgeting projection), get and maintain clients, and receive training on hair cutting, waste disposal, business upkeep, etc. We were a bit short on some of the modeling and math goals, but perfection is the enemy of the good and the student mastered Proft = Revenue – Expense and got familiarized with the notion of spreadsheets and functions to budget with.

Being a Barber

The other student survived a catastrophic car accident and weeks of rehab and surgery. It impacted her life in many ways. Relationships changed, suffered, grew, adapted … more than I can convey here or know myself. Only she knows. The jumble of experiences was something she was brave enough to process and explore this summer. She wrote a reflection/diary on the experience of trauma and recovery, then mixed it up and presented it in the same jumbled way the car accident jumbled up her life.

Trauma & Recovery

In reflecting upon my time this summer, I noticed that the experience was galvanizing. Despite losing our academic leader and switching in our mission – all chaotic events that happened during summer semester – these students made their twice/week appointments regularly. They came in excited to learn, unhindered by the large environments, with a teacher to student ratio that made sense, a high touch experience that led through stages of learning through dialogue and questioning. The summer youth seminar and IGP program was like a self-designed teacher renewal program. The values I learned and worked through with these students also ignited discussions for the main semester implementation of IGP as well as serve as an attendance model for hybrid students (remote students with visitors passes). It was fire. These three students are my heroes.

Jonathan, Mr. Haack’s Office

jonathan Written by:

Santa Fe area Math and CS teacher; class archives, instructional techniques, and musings on educational leadership.

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *