Naples, FL

February 2nd to February 6th

February 2nd
Arrival in Naples – Welcome by Joy and Bill, short tour of Naples and dinner at their place.

February 3rd
Gulf Coast High School: Public School (~2000 students)

Meeting with Principal

We had a good conversation on educational systems and organization. It gave me a good opportunity to compare and fill in some gaps I had on my knowledge of the US school structure. We also discussed teacher certification, and the history of the school.

Biology Class Y9 – Beth

I could very briefly visit this class, as most of my time had been taken with the previous meeting, but I could see a teacher that handled the class very well, and used different methods to engage the kids, including music and jokes. It is fundamental that the teacher develops a good rapport with students.

Physics Class Y11

This was a fundamentally expository class, with no lab or even problem solving. I did not enjoy it too much, and the kids did not seem to enjoy it very much either.

Language Class Y11 - Joy

I had the pleasure to visit a class that Joy taught. During this one the students were analyzing the film Edward Scissorhands. The discussions were very good, and Joy did an excellent job in moderating it. I learned a lot too!

Presentation to Students about Argentina in Media Center

I had prepared a presentation on Argentina for some classes in this school, at Joy's request. I had three classes coming in to the Media Centre where I talked for about 40 minutes, with questions through it all. You can find the presentation below. We discussed the geography, economy and culture of Argentina. I also showed them the trailer of the Argentinian film that got the Foreign Language Academy Award in 2010, The Secret in their Eyes, and a videoclip from Jorge Drexler who represents the music from the river area of Buenos Aires and Uruguay (he is Uruguayan).

ILS Class Seniors

This class turned into a great Q&A on Argentina. I loved the discussions, and the students were well informed, asking relevant and interesting questions.

Mathematics Class Y9

Meeting with Assistant Principal

Meeting with Counselor Nancy Giles

When I went to Ms. Giles office, she was in the middle of dealing with a bullying issue, talking to three girls. I did not want to interrupt, but she insisted that we took part in the conversation (after seeking the consent of the girls). I am glad we stepped in, and I hope that it ended up solving itself.

Short tour of Media Center and TV Studio

I was blown away by the Media Centre, and its potential uses. It seemed very well organized and functional. I was even more impressed with the TV Studio and the fact that students would write, shoot and edit a short 5 min news clip every morning that was shown to the school at 9am. Loved it!

February 4th
Barron Collier HS: Public High School (~2000 students)
Meeting with Head Counselor Eric
        I was amazed to find that Eric would counsel around 400 kids on his own. Clearly, he would not have the time to focus on all of them. Also, I was surprised with the separation of disciplinary issues from counselling, which I first noticed in GCHS. I understand the arguments for separating them, but I also think that the disciplinary sanctions would benefit from having a broader view of the kid, with input from the counselor. In our school, the two areas are one and the same, with ad hoc committees meeting to analyze particular cases.

        Meeting with Principal and Vice Principal.
        It was a great meeting where we discussed AP, IB and Cambridge exams, and how they could benefit from a change, or at least adding more options to AP.

        Media Center Tour
        Physics Exam

        Lunch with English Department
        We had an informal lunch and shared our teaching experiences.

        Drama class.
        I particularly enjoyed this class, where I got to talk individually to students who told me about their projects. I love theater and have myself written a couple of plays so I enjoyed talking to writers and actors, and how their processes worked. It was fun and enjoyable!

        Meeting with Science Teachers
        Chemistry Class
        During this meeting and the subsequent chemistry class I got to talk a lot to the Head of science. It was an entertaining conversation on science in general and the particulars of teaching it. He gave me some very good tips on IT use in the sciences.

        Jazz Band Rehearsal
        I really liked to see the evaluation the group made collectively about their performance a few days earlier. While listening to the recording, they discussed the judges opinions and commented on each individual performance in the band.
ESU Board Meeting and dinner with Pam and a friend.
        The ESU Board members were really interested in meeting me, and attending that meeting was a great opportunity to see the work that they do. I have nothing but thanks to them!

February 5th
Visit to Goodland, lunch there.
    A fantastic place to get to know! I'd love to visit Goodland one more time, hopefully it'll happen soon.

Dinner with ESU Board Member and friends.

See ESU-Naples in a bigger map

Alejandro Solernó,
Mar 16, 2011, 8:15 PM