Semester #1 Nears an End

Above: A group of high schoolers relaxing on the field at the end of a long day.

It’s been a slow news cycle lately, but we’re nearing the end of our first semester at Alliance Academy and that has made us all a bit more stressed in recent weeks. Today marks the end of our 20th week at school. Next week is finals week and though I’m not giving any final exams from my elective classes, all my students have semester projects that they’re currently working on.

My video students are working in groups to make a 12-15 minute documentary short. My design students each created a fictional company, designed a logo and are in the middle of designing a package for one of the company’s projects. During their final next week, they’ll each present their final company “branding package” to the rest of the class. Meanwhile, my yearbook classes are hard at work finishing up their second major deadline (of 4 total). Each deadline is designed to get progressively more challenging, but because the student’s skills have been improving, they’ve been able to meet my increasing demands (so far).

Even though we’re only at the end of the first semester, planning is already in full swing for the 2013-2014 school year. At this point, it looks like I’ll be teaching AP Computer Science (in Java) next year, which I’m really excited about. Although, the last time I used Java was about 10 years ago, so I’ll have some brushing up to do. Angela has also been working hard at evaluating staffing needs for next year, recreating documents (her broken hard drive contents were never recovered), and planning a school-wide counseling summit for later in the Spring.

But, it hasn’t been all work and no play. Last weekend, we went to the local movie theater to watch Lincoln. They get a fair amount of American movies here, though they’re always subtitled. We’ve also seen Argo and Skyfall…both recommended. And when tickets are only $4 each, it’s a pretty good deal. We’re also planning to have some friends over to watch the Super Bowl this weekend (we can stream live U.S. TV for free at ustvnow.com). Neither of us have followed the NFL season, but it’ll still be fun to get a little American culture in our world.

Speaking of American culture, we’ve been busy looking for flights home this summer. We’re really excited to have 2 months back in the U.S. and are already making plans to visit family and friends in San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Bremerton, and Washington D.C. It’s going to be a busy summer! We’ll post our full itinerary once we have it all nailed down.

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doug February 1, 2013 Ecuador