Rise Scholars and Hamilton School, Novato, CA
Growing up with parents who are both educators, interning remotely with Bay Area-based summer school SummerHawks gave me the opportunity to explore a career path I have long wanted to experience myself. Though the original plan to teach in the classroom along with three other Williams students did not come to fruition, our directors nevertheless gave us another opportunity to bring our creativity to the program in the form of curriculum development. With their trust in us to explore a facet of education that happens behind-the-scenes, I got the chance to experience the teaching process from an angle that I otherwise may not have. Our final product was a revised and reimagined vision for the program, complete with new scheduling, lesson plans, and ideas. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity SummerHawks gave me and I can say confidently that I would like to pursue a future career that involves teaching or mentoring.
SummerHawks is a program that combines enrichment activities with more traditional subject-based teaching to instill a love of learning in students at the Hamilton School in Novato, California. Though the teachers themselves have a large responsibility in carrying out this mission, the cancellation of the program for the summer allowed us to make sure the curriculum itself also aligned with these goals. Our project began with research on effective teaching. Over the first couple weeks I conducted interviews with directors of other summer school programs to establish a perspective on what works well in the classroom. I summarized these findings along with takeaways from some additional reading I had done. After finishing our research phase, my fellow developers and I discussed implementing our findings in a new curriculum for SummerHawks.
We first turned to redesigning the program’s schedule. We decided on a program that allowed students to get a good portion of their academic rigor done in the morning before their lunch and electives. Our schedule also incorporated a more robust science program from years prior; student feedback indicated that STEM was a primary way to help students enjoy the learning process. The other significant change we introduced was afternoon activity blocks involving students across all grade levels. Doing so would allow older students to begin taking on a leadership role.
I used the latter portion of the summer to research and consolidate lesson plans and learning objectives across math and science. Along with my other developers, I helped create a portfolio of resources that can be used for next summer’s edition of SummerHawks. And that is where the heart of this project lies: in the teaching and the students. I cannot wait to meet the teachers and students who make this program incredible and see this curriculum in action.
I want to give my sincere thanks to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1972 for sponsoring me this summer. I also want to thank my directors and colleagues for the time we spent together this summer. I know that no matter what career path I take, the importance of teaching and mentorship will always be prominent.