For the 2017-18 school year, we are pleased to introduce two new faculty members in the Commons and one new collaborative course! You can meet the new educators below and read more about the course offerings in the Commons for Trimester I.
Meet Lisa Barker, Food and Farm Coordinator. Lisa is responsible for all growing spaces on campus: the Baron Greenhouse in the Commons, the high tunnel, and the Harley Micro-Farm. You will learn more about her Food and Farm 101 course in a separate blog post.
Meet Kima Enerson, our new Maker Educator in the Commons. Kima is in charge of the workshop space in the basement of the Commons, but serves as a collaborator with many faculty to expand their teaching to include more hands-on and design thinking principles for their students. You will learn more about her work with the Middle School students in a separate blog post.
Kevin Boyd and Jocie Kopfman are returning teachers in the Commons, but this year they are teaching a new course together: Sustainable Community Engagement. This course offers students the opportunity to design an educational partnership with a locally based community non-profit organization. This hands-on engagement is coupled with an in-class introduction to basic elements of sociological research methods, with specific attention to power and access through the lenses of race, gender, and socio-economic factors. The pedagogical aim is to empower students with the tools to create mutual, enduring, and transformative social partnerships.
Our fearless Commons Director, Seth O’Bryan, helps oversee all of the courses in the Commons while teaching a few of his own specific to the sustainable energy and systems in the building.
TRIMESTER I COMMONS COURSES and CLUBS:
Design and Innovation Lab — Upper School elective
Design and Innovation Lab is an entry-level engineering and innovation class that exposes students to the basic elements of the design process (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test) and then supports them through a series of increasingly difficult design challenges. Through this hands-on, shop-based class, students work with core engineering and design concepts and collaborate to solve various problems. Material and the related tools the students will utilize include cardboard, wood, metal, electronics, digital logic and programming, biology and plants, and more. Additionally, students learn the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to operate a baseline set of tools in the shop safely and effectively.
Design and Innovation Flex Time – Middle School flex time option
Middle School students learn the basics of design in the Workshop, while developing familiarity and skills with hand tools.
Food and Farm 101 – Upper School elective
This course provides students with experiential hands-on learning through working as the management and labor force behind the Harley Micro-Farm and greenhouse. This fall, students have been harvesting produce and experimenting with unique recipes, as well as planning and planting crops for fall/winter green production in the high tunnel. They also have the opportunity to explore design concepts related to small-scale food production and education, as well as to examine the framework of community food systems, beginning to think conceptually and practically about real-world food issues, discrepancies, and solutions.
Food and Farm Flex Time– Middle School flex time option
Middle School students can spend time working with Lisa in the Micro-Farm and getting their hands dirty!
Garden Club – Upper School weekly club
The Garden Club has been working on identifying projects around the Micro-Farm and are starting with supporting the compost program.
Hospice – Upper School year-long elective
Students learn both the medical and emotional side of providing end-of-life care, which includes assigned shifts at local hospice houses and reflection on what they are learning and feeling as they care for others.
Independent Studies – Upper School electives
Students are offered opportunities to pursue a particular subject in-depth or develop an understanding of a topic not offered in the current curriculum.
Intro to Mindfulness – Upper School elective
A trimester course designed to introduce students to elements of mindful practice, the research behind it, and exercises/meditation to increase their awareness of their thoughts and ability to be fully present in the moment.
Living Building – Upper School elective
Students work together to investigate topics and address problems related to the Commons building and sustainability. This trimester, the students are building a gate for the Micro-Farm, studying coding to gather data from the solar chimneys, and designing and interactive lobby space for the ground floor of the Commons.
Maker Mornings — Sixth Grade homeroom activities
The sixth grade homerooms attend Maker Mornings once a week each to build their sense of community, learn to work collaboratively, and to tackle quick engineering challenges in the Project Space.
Rights & Responsibilities – Ninth Grade mandatory trimester rotation
R & R is a trimester-long freshman seminar that engages students in discussions and activities that explore our individual and collective rights and responsibilities within the various communities to which we belong. Students use issues facing the Harley community, the Rochester community, and the broader national and global communities as discussion points and examples. They explore their thoughts and opinions about these issues in terms of individual and collective success, and social and environmental justice. Students learn basic qualitative research skills in order to explore a social issue that interests them so that they can effectively advocate and work toward solutions they could implement to effect positive social change.
Robotics– Upper School year-long elective
Students are introduced to the basics of coding in this course. They learn how to design and build a robot to complete specific tasks as assigned by the competitive league guidelines. Using design thinking, collaborative problem solving, and creativity, the “team” learns how to maximize their strengths to leverage the best outcome as they program their robot and prepare for competition.
Sustainable Community Engagement – Upper School year-long elective
This course offers students the opportunity to design an educational partnership with a locally based community non-profit organization. This hands-on engagement is coupled with an in-class introduction to basic elements of sociological research methods, with specific attention to power and access through the lenses of race, gender, and socio-economic factors. The pedagogical aim is to empower students with the tools to create mutual, enduring, and transformative social partnerships.