Tuesday, October 27, 2020

GOLD Information Nights Cancelled (2020-2021 academic year)

The Vancouver School Board's District Learning Services has decided that GOLD Information Nights that traditionally were hosted at David Thompson and Prince of Wales in November and January will no longer occur.  This decision was made to "bring the GOLD Programs in-line with the other District special programs."

Many of the currently enrolled GOLD students in both the DT and PW programs report that they "felt relief" and some "excited" after having been to a GOLD Information Night when they were in grade 7.  

Liam said, "I was unimpressed that my mum wanted me to go to a special program that wasn't at the high school that my siblings had attended.  But when I saw that the kids in it were interesting, and heard from them that GOLD had them out "in regular classes" most of the time...I relaxed.  I had pictured being trapped in a 'special room' with freaks talking constantly about string theory (which I'm actually interested in, but not unremittingly)."

Hopefully elementary school resource staff and administrators will be able to convey what the GOLD programs feel like to students who are being asked to consider placement. District Learning Services is encouraging the programs to hold an Open House for prospective students and parents in May.  The invitations to these events will be extended specifically to students who have been offered placement in one of the programs and will be hosted by the respective program (if grade 7 Stuart was offered placement in David Thompson GOLD, Stuart would attend the DT GOLD Open House).

Not all current GOLD students were present at a GOLD Info Night when they were in Grade 7.  The programs may not have been on their radar until later in the academic year, or they may have found the timing/size of the events inconvenient.  Some of the non-Info Night veterans report that they trusted their Grade 7 teacher or family friend that recommended accepting placement.  

I will try to create a series of posts on this site that will try to approximate what information might be communicated during a GOLD Info Night in the hopes that students and families feel that they are making informed choices earlier in the transition year from elementary to high school.

Monday, October 7, 2013

GOLD Information Nights November 24th, 2016 & January 11th, 2017

November 24th, 2016 @ Prince of Wales Library (7 pm).
January 12th, 2017 @ David Thompson's Library (7 pm).

The GOLD Information Nights are an opportunity for grade  7 students and their parents to find out more about the programs at David Thompson and Prince of Wales.

Prospective students SHOULD be present--this is quite important--they will have an opportunity to meet some of the current GOLD students from each program and hear for themselves what "actually" happens in the GOLD rooms and in each school.

Staff from each program (Chris Bromige from PW & Jennifer Jack from DT) will be present for both evenings.  Placement at David Thompson or Prince of Wales is in NO WAY dependent on which GOLD Information Night the student has attended.  In fact, it is NOT necessary to attend either Information Night...it is simply recommended that you attend so that you have a clear idea regarding what the program offers.

General format for these meetings is a short presentation from the teachers regarding the broad outlines of the programs, special attributes of each school, and the referral process. Then there will be a question and answer session with current Goldies fielding the questions.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why I Let My Students Cheat On Their Exam

Not a  "Revolutionary Thought", but still happening very infrequently in the schools I'm familiar with.  Thanks to GOLD Grad Eric for this link.
Zócalo Public Square :: Why I Let My Students Cheat On Their Exam

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What happens to ex-GOLDs??

I am frequently asked what happens to GOLD grads.  I hesitate to generalize, because I think that generalizations are somewhat suspect, but I haven't made a systematic ritual of collecting information regarding grads.

My first attempt can be found here  This is, unfortunately, the barest of hints as to what makes up a life, as I'm mainly recording post-secondary institution associations, not lives saved nor loves well-loved. I'm not using student's full names, because I haven't time to approach everyone for permission. The record starts with the grad year of my arrival as teacher at PW GOLD, and needs much work for the prior years. If you can help me flesh out this list, let me know.

Roster past and present

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Intelligence Paragraph

The following was written by a grade 8 GOLD student.

          I think that although it is mostly useful, intelligence can sometimes be problematic. For instance, intelligence can prevent you from having fun. You may not find people’s jokes funny anymore, or you may not enjoy their company. People may also not want to be your friend if they feel like you’re smarter than them. They might ignore you, or try to intimidate you so they feel better. Therefore, displays of intelligence should be kept to a minimum unless necessary.

I remember one time I was talking to two kids at recess, Bruce and Campbell. Bruce was my friend, but I didn’t get along too well with Campbell. I remember that I was having an argument with Campbell. During the argument, I realized how I could prove Campbell’s argument wrong. But try as I might, I couldn’t get them to understand it. Campbell made a joke about me, and they started laughing. Bruce was still my friend afterward, and I continued to talk to them that day, but I really wished that I could have just been able to ignore Campbell’s flawed argument and not have to go through that moment.

In the short story Flowers for Algernon; the main character George undergoes a surgery to become smarter. He goes from an I.Q. of 60 to one of 200. As he becomes smarter however, he realizes the people at the plant he works at aren’t his friends as he thought, but rather take advantage of his previously low intelligence to make fun of him. He also sees a busboy in a restaurant that has a mental defect, causing all the other workers to laugh at him. As the story progresses, George becomes depressed due to these incidents and the realization that he will lose his intelligence.

Intelligence is a good thing, but it should be exercised in moderation. Sometimes it’s just better to sit back and not be reasonable in every situation. This can be hard however, and therefore can make conversations between people of high intelligence and low intelligence hard. It can also make people dislike other people, as they realize that said people aren’t as smart as they thought, or vice versa. Intelligence, therefore, is good, but can also make it hard to make friends with people of different intelligences.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Excerpt from Wired 'Grasshopper project'

Born in 1971 in South Africa, Elon Musk is an American entrepreneur who is most notable for founding the company X.Com (which is now known as PayPal). He also founded: SpaceX, which manufactures space launch vehicles which are replacing NASA's space shuttle program; Tesla Motors, which developed the Tesla Roadster, the first electric car to go to production; and Solar City, which is the largest supplier of solar energy systems in the USA. He has a net worth of 2.4 billion dollars. The following is an excerpt from an interview with him in the November 2011 issue of Wired:

Chris Anderson: So how do you do it? What's your process?

Elon Musk: Now I have to tell you something, and I mean this in the best and most inoffensive way possible: I don't believe in process. In fact, when I interview a potential employee and he or she says that "it's all about the process," I see that as a bad sign.

Chris Anderson: Oh no. I'm fired.

Elon Musk: The problem is that at a lot of big companies, process becomes a substitute for thinking. You're encouraged to behave like a little gear in a complex machine. Frankly it allows you to keep people who aren't that smart, who aren't that creative.

I was interested in this interview partly because I feel that we have many students in the program for which process and proper procedure are an anathema   I don't confuse rejecting procedure with intelligence, and I
DO believe that many of my students need to learn strategies for working with systems, but I wonder if we should be careful to recognize that challenging accepted practice is sometimes a necessity.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Discussion on delayed gratification

This TED talk "Don't eat the marshmallow" explores the theory that the ability to delay gratification is one of the most essential ingredients for success in life. How does this concept apply to school?

Some students question de Posada's definition of "success", and wonder if it is the same as theirs, but most of them found this 6 minute TED Talk interesting and provocative.