Happy New Year! I am looking forward to what 2013 will bring. I am have a lot of exciting things happening this upcoming year. In February of 2013, a group of Dutch students and teachers will be visiting my high school, Golden Valley High School. My guests are from Stedelijk Dalton Lyceum in Dordrecht, the Netherlands.
These Dutch teachers and school members from Dalton have been visiting Merced, Ca. since 2009. I have made a lot of wonderful friends through this cultural exchange. I have also fallen in love with the Netherlands. I will be bringing a group of students to visit in the Summer. To date, Mrs. Elma de Hoon and myself have connected about 140 Dutch and American students throughout the last few years. Our cultural exchanges ( beginning in 2009 until present) have been overwhelmingly enlightening experiences. Every year, with every new group, we have found that students (our students both Dutch and American) become transformed and insightful not only about what it means to be Dutch or American; but they also learn even more about who THEY really are. Every year, I watch the students cry as they say good-bye. They collaborate all school years and grow to love and respect each other.
Along with the upcoming visit of Dutch students, I am looking forward to beginning a new job. In the Fall of 2013, I will be moving to our newest high school in Merced. The name of the school is El Capitan and it is a state of the art high school. By state of the art, I mean it will be a technologically advanced school. All students will be required to bring their own electronic devices. If the student does not have a iPad, laptop or device, the school with assign them a Google Chromebook. American education will be changing dramatically within the new few years. We will be adopting new "Common Core Standards" and I am looking forward to the future.
This is a paradigm shift in American Education. El Capitan High School will be considered a "paperless" school. No lockers. No backpacks. Everything will be on the student's electronic devices. Yes, it is scary...There is a great degree of ambiguity about how things are going to work but I am extremely excited to begin my work as the head of the English Department. I love challenges...and this year will be full of them. But for now, I look forward to ringing in the New Year and seeing my Dutch friends in February and June!