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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

May 15, 2013

Early College Experience Registration

Students enrolled in Early College Experience courses must submit their registrations to the EOS Guidance Office by Friday, May 31st.  After this point, students enrolled in ECE courses for 2013-14 who have not submitted ECE applications will need to submit the applications along with Add/Drop forms at the start of school in August. Likewise, any student who has already submitted the form but changes her/his schedule after May 31st with an ECE course affected (added or dropped) for 2013-14 will also need to complete the Add/Drop form. The ECE Office at UConn will NOT award credits in ECE courses UNLESS these courses are listed on applications. By the way, although a fee for each course is listed on these forms, this fee is waived for EOS students. 

Final Exam Schedule
The final exam schedule for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders appears below.  The first exam each day begins at 7:25 am and concludes at 9:25 am.  After a 20-minute break (9:25 am-9:45 am), the second exam is scheduled from 9:45 am to 11:45 am.  
Monday, June 17
A and B Periods
Tuesday, June 18
E and F Periods
Wednesday, June 19
C and D Periods
Thursday, June 20
G and H Periods

Registration for On-Campus Courses at UConn
With construction of the 2013-14 master schedule near completion, it's time for EOS students interested in taking courses on the UConn campus for the fall semester to contact Doug Melody. 
For now, the most expeditious way to express interest is via email (dmelody@eosmith.org).  The class schedule is available on the UConn link here.  Click on "View a snapshot of the Class Schedule" and scroll down to Fall Semester/Storrs Campus.  Courses are listed there along with meeting times.  Enrollment numbers are available there as well.  See below for eligibility criteria published in the April 1, 2013 blog post.
Eligible students (11th and 12th grade students with academic credentials - strong transcript and combined SAT scores of 1200+ in Critical Reading and Math) may request enrollment in no more than two classes per semester. Decisions on enrollment are made by the Early College Experience Office. EOS students enroll as part-timers. Typically, about 30 students enroll in courses there each semester.
Final grades earned in courses there appear on both EOS transcripts and UConn transcripts. It should be noted that the grades earned in courses taken on campus are NOT factored into the EOS cumulative GPA. 

An Opportunity for Students Interested in Teaching
High school students interested in the teaching profession may wish to participate in a program offered at ECSU this summer.  Called the Summer Institute for Future Teachers (SIFT), Running from July 7 to August 2, student participants live on campus from Sunday night through Friday afternoon.  Students completing the SIFT Program receive 3 college credits from ECSU.  Tuition for the program is $200.  Scholarships are awarded to students upon submission of their 2012-13 free and reduced lunch forms, signed and documented by school personnel
Click on this link for more information about the program and to access the application.  Deadline for submission is May 28.
Achieving Mastery Linked to Dietary Changes
Most people looking to achieve mastery will likely have to change their diets. Huh? No, really.  And it's not so easy to do in this culture that promotes a fast food mentality. 
If you're paying any attention to discussions about educational reform that seem so prevalent in the media these days, one concept often mentioned is something called mastery learning.  It's really nothing new. In fact, the idea has been around for decades.  In the length of a tweet ( or a nutshell, if you prefer), let's define it this way - mastery learning is based upon the premise that virtually all students can and will, in time, learn what schools have determined students should know.  Implicit in this concept is that differences in learning among individuals  are really differences in the amount of time it takes for various students to learn - in other words, master the material.  It's certainly a paradigm shift that proponents of mastery learning feel is necessary in order to address the perceived shortcomings of some high school graduates. Setting aside for now the benchmarks that may be used to validate mastery, let's instead examine what "mastery" may actually require in order to reach the defined benchmarks.

Several years ago, George Leonard, a giant in the human potential movement during the 1970s and 80s (and a fifth degree black belt aikido master),  published a book entitled Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment in which he argues that mastery is not so much about reaching perfection (or an established benchmark) as much as it is about cultivating a particular mindset that moves one along a path to perfection without - and here's the catch -  ever reaching  it.  This idea runs counter to a culture that depicts life as a series of successful climaxes, implicitly voiding any consideration of the pauses and setbacks that all human beings inevitably encounter along the way.  With a quick-fix, instant gratification mindset wrapped in a culture that conspires against mastery (let's include the "fast food" reference as well, seeing as we're building towards the connection to "diet"), persistent effort and resilience in the face of setbacks are often abandoned. In this cultural mindset, ability is largely fixed. With a mastery mindset, ability is more fluid and responsive to intelligent effort. If only one could learn to lean into the setbacks and recognize that the "goal" may be out of reach for now -   in other words, not yet  (think Abe Lincoln or Thomas Edison as examples) - then "success" could come more frequently as one's efforts increased in this pursuit.  It's about trust - in the process and in oneself.

It's the Little-Red-Engine-That-Could.

So, if you're truly interested in authentic mastery - as defined above - then it will likely require a dietary change.  You're probably thinking this means starving yourself on salads and bean sprouts - and wondering what this has to do with any of that.  Nothing, really. Nothing at all.  Look up the origin of the word "diet" and you'll find it's based upon the Latin term "diaeta", meaning "a manner of living: a way of life". And (finally!) here's the connection - if you want to get on the path to mastery, you'll likely need to change your mindset (remember Carol Dweck from past posts?).  You'll likely need to change your manner of living.  You'll need to change your diet. You'll need to make the switch from fast food to slow food.  In other words, you'll need to get on the long path to process. And you'll need to begin to trust this process while trusting your efforts along the way.

What does this mean?  According to Leonard, you'll need to master the commonplace

"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.  After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

It will mean practicing mindfulness.  Staying in the moment.  Embracing the mundane (homework, chores, and the like).  It's shooting five hundred free-throws each day.  Playing musical scales repeatedly each day.  Practicing equations each day.  Writing and revising.  Running repeats...you get the idea by now.

"Fall down seven times, get up eight."

It will mean becoming more resilient in the face of setbacks, recognizing that failure is not permanent (and neither is success) but rather a necessary part of the process in achieving success  If you haven't reached your goal, it doesn't necessarily mean you can't.  It may simply mean "not yet" - as in not yet successful.  With consistent and intelligent effort, and trust, so much is possible that otherwise appears out of one's reach.

Finally, it will mean that you'll need to be VERY patient while on the l.....o.....n.....g plateaus you inevitably experience on the mastery curve, understanding that true mastery is a life-long pursuit with growth curves interrupted by so many plateaus along the way.  It's usually along these plateaus where most people abandon their pursuits.  Where "I can't" really means "I won't".

When Geno Auriemma was asked what he would do with his basketball program the day after winning the national championship this year - what do you do when you're already the best?  He replied, "We'll commit to getting better, starting tomorrow."  This is how mastery is pursued.  Reach one goal.  Pursue the next.  That's authentic mastery - a life-long process.

Think about it - if you want to pursue mastery, will you need to change your diet?

If we want students to achieve mastery (however defined), will we encourage them to change their diets, too?

Will we need to show them the way?  Will we need to model it for them to see?

Pursuing mastery requires a steady diet of will in the face of challenge.  In the end, it's a choice one makes.

Articles Related to Mastery
Several articles have been posted in recent weeks that provide food for thought in this "dietary" shift towards mastery.  One piece, Struggle for Smarts-How Eastern and Western Cultures Tackle Learning, compares the views that each culture takes towards setbacks.  Another piece appearing recently in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bouncing Back May Be Tough, argues that it may be a necessary part of the growth process.  Still another piece published in Psychology Today was not so forgiving of our current American culture.  If you want more, check out Want Students to Succeed? Let Them Fail, or Why Grit Is More Important Than Grades, and even Do You Attribute Success to Luck?


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