We are beginning this year with a week of what we’re calling Baxter Foundations. We realized at some point last year that we should have done more to bring our students together at the beginning of the year. They are coming from 30+ different towns and educational backgrounds. While I completely support and value the time spent building community last week, we could also use some time building that academic foundation and getting out into the community. These are also foundations of our philosophy. Full disclosure: Our Phase 3 renovation of the building isn’t going to be ready to begin classes on Monday, so we find ourselves with this opportunity.
Beginning tomorrow, our students will participate in such varied experiences as going on college visits, listening to an entrepreneur’s journey, seeing a planetarium show, walking the Portland Freedom Trail, watching a film at nearby SPACE Gallery, touring the waste-water treatment plant across the bridge, visiting the Wells Reserve to learn about the environment, and learning about agriculture by working on Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Those who stay in the building will participate in workshops as varied as learning about Flex Friday, understanding rubrics, plagiarism, research strategies, reading strategies, and teen dating violence. Other workshops include introductions to spreadsheets, probeware, and modeling. Some students will participate in some fitness and conditioning while others are working with local experts on creative writing or art. We have a workshop in food chemistry (Is that really food?) and other in project management.
I’m excited about the opportunity to begin the year this way. It won’t be perfect, but we will take those pieces that worked, fine-tune them, and improve Baxter Foundations for next year. After all, that’s what the design process is all about. And that’s what we do at Baxter Academy.