New Internship: Jordan ('18) at ttweak

Catch up with the latest internship stories by following the blogs listed in the right sidebar.

A taste from yesterday...

Today, November 8th, 2015, was my first real day at my internship for ttweak. I spent three hours helping out, from 8:30-11:30am.  

The project was the Houston Parks Board Bayou Greenway 2020 Corporate Sponsorship Video. The location was at the Thomas Bell Foster Park, way out by Jacinto City. It was a chilly day, low 60s, but the park was really beautiful. It was also super muddy, and my hiking shoes got dirty. 


What does future-ready look like?

According to a recent article at Edutopia, "What Do 'Future Ready' Students Look Like?" it's more than content mastery and lifelong learning skills.

This was all a part of the Hult Prize competition that asks post-secondary students to improve the lives of billions of people by launching a sustainable social business.
"It turns out that passion, a sense of humor, and knowing how to recover from setbacks are also critical readiness factors when it comes to tackling real-world problems."
 What about building the skill of collaboration?
"For teachers who want to develop students' collaborative skills from a young age,... 'Put students together in situations they're not comfortable with, so that they have to deal with conflicts in a useful way.'"
At Post Oak, from the time when children are very young, we're creating opportunities for students to be a little uncomfortable (that's where growth really happens) and providing them venues to work out problems.

What about resilience?
"[It] turns out to be another key readiness factor for tackling hard problems. 'There's no better trait for entrepreneurs.... Entrepreneurs fail fast and learn from mistakes.'"
Also, a good sense of humor helps people work through relationships with others and solve tough problems. "You need to be with a team where the laughs outnumber the angry outbursts."

The winning team in the Hult Prize competition chose Montessori for their system for early childhood intervention in Latin America. They call their centers, "PlayCares." Why Montessori?
"The Montessori approach develops self-esteem, self-control, respect for others. We thought it would be ideal for developing people who know how to think their way around problems."
There you have it.


High School Video

A look inside the Post Oak High School program. Enjoy!



This week, students spend their mornings off-site working at various service partner organizations.

Wear your green service shirts!


Construction Update: Foundation Grade Beams Pour (pix and movie)

Some images from the construction on the new high school building.

Ever forward! (Soon to be upward!)


Coercive Schooling Deprives Young People of Personal Control

Fall Odyssey, 2015
Perhaps my favorite line in this article in Psychology Today by Peter Gray is "It's time to re-think education." Why that's my favorite.

The article is titled: "The Decline of Play and Rise in Children's Mental Disorders"

The leading points as to why (according to Gray):

  1. Decline in Young People's Sense of Personal Control Over Their Fate
  2. Shift Toward Extrinsic Goals, Away From Intrinsic Goals
The value of free play?
Free play and exploration are, historically, the means by which children learn to solve their own problems, control their own lives, develop their own interests, and become competent in pursuit of their own interests. (Gray)
By depriving children of opportunities to play on their own, away from direct adult supervision and control, we are depriving them of opportunities to learn how to take control of their own lives. We may think we are protecting them, but in fact we are diminishing their joy, diminishing their sense of self-control, preventing them from discovering and exploring the endeavors they would most love, and increasing the odds that they will suffer from anxiety, depression, and other disorders. (Gray)
This matters even into adolescence. Why? The core task of a teenager is becoming an adult. Adults are (almost by definition) self-directed, self-aware, and prepared to make a contribution to human civilization. If young adults have self-doubt instead of self-confidence, their efforts to contribute are undermined (by their own prior development).

Yes, it's time to re-think education. Perhaps by re-visiting some 100-year old ideas that never went out of style. ;-)


"Terrible Teens"

In case you missed this piece in the New Yorker, a couple teasers...

“When we think of ourselves as civilized, intelligent adults, we really have the frontal and prefrontal parts of the cortex to thank,” she writes. But “teens are not quite firing on all cylinders when it comes to the frontal lobes.” Thus, “we shouldn’t be surprised by the daily stories we hear and read about tragic mistakes.”
This is where parents step in. “You need to be your teens’ frontal lobes until their brains are fully wired,” Jensen writes. By this she seems to mean near-constant hectoring. Whenever she hears a story like the one about Dan, she rushes to tell Will and Andrew, and, whenever Will and Andrew screw up, she uses it as an opportunity to remind them that they, too, could wind up floating face down in a pool. (After the unconscious girl has been dropped off at the hospital, Jensen relates, she sits Andrew and his girlfriend down at the kitchen table and lectures them about “blood alcohol levels and the effects on coordination and consciousness.”) As a matter of principle, Jensen has attached a lock to the liquor cabinet in her own home. When her sons are invited to someone else’s house, she calls the kid’s parents to make sure there will be no unsupervised fun.
According to Steinberg, adults spend their lives with wads of cotton in their metaphorical noses. Adolescents, by contrast, are designed to sniff out treats at a hundred paces. During childhood, the nucleus accumbens, which is sometimes called the “pleasure center,” grows. It reaches its maximum extent in the teen-age brain; then it starts to shrink. This enlargement of the pleasure center occurs in concert with other sensation-enhancing changes. As kids enter puberty, their brains sprout more dopamine receptors. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, plays many roles in the human nervous system, the sexiest of which is signalling enjoyment.


What should teens be doing this summer?

You might have already caught this piece when it aired on KUHF a couple weeks ago. There's a list following the link to the article.

Give this five minute piece a listen, then let us know below what's on your list!


Smart Parent Tip (for Independence Day)...

I have to wholeheartedly agree with Carri Schneider's Smart Parent Tip from last week. She says you should go see Pixar's new movie release, Inside Out.

I saw it and I agree.

Throughout the entire film, I just kept thinking, between episodes of laughing out loud (I'm older, so I don't LOL, I do it the old-fashioned way) how helpful this movie would be for anyone who is a parent or a teacher of children. Especially if they work with or parent children around the transformational time of early adolescence (say around 11 turning 12 like the film's protagonist).

Some may say I gush over the film because it features a family from Minnesota (my home state) or a lot of scenes that reference hockey (Minnesota carries the nickname, The State of Hockey).

If you don't go see it for your almost-teen, young teen, or even older high-school-aged child, consider seeing it for your(adult)self. As Ian Phillips, a writer at Business Insider, put it in his article's title,
Pixar’s imaginative ‘Inside Out’ was so powerful that it changed the way I understand my own emotions
So that's my Independence Day recommendation. In support your child's emerging and growing independence during adolescence, go see this film. Maybe even *gasp* with them.

Have a great holiday weekend!


The Element (School in Canada)

We're always excited to hear news about the spread of the ideas we're working on at Post Oak.
Congratulations to Pat Gere and everyone in Ottawa for their tremendous work on this program.
Construction at the dedicated space began about two weeks ago, and once completed in mid-August will feature a commercial kitchen, design studio, science lab and a learning commons, rather than traditional classrooms. 
As a vibrant central hub, one that is accessible by public transit, Lansdowne is expected to provide an ideal learning environment for the teens. The students will be able to access several nearby amenities and services, including an Ottawa Public Library branch, a skateboard park and ice rink, as well as basketball courts and baseball diamonds. 
“We decided it was important for us to put the adolescent into contact with the adult world rather than taking them out and putting thousands of them in a high school subdivision,” Gere said. “One of the things that adolescents crave is interaction with the adult world.” 
This is in keeping with the Montessori educational method based on the work of Italian doctor and educator Dr. Maria Montessori.
Read news about The Element and visit their website.


Rekcol Gallery #2: Monday Afternoon

Monday afternoon: Iris Ayala ('18)

Art galleries this week...

We try to keep you up to speed on the latest in art trends at Post Oak!

This includes this week's ten artist show taking place inside a single locker.

The show is called Rekcol. Ten artists are each taking a half day in the locker space.

First up: Ari Fletcher-Bai ('16)

More to come...

Construction Begins...

Monday, 18 May

The First equipment landed today on the Autrey campus! The first work will be to prepare the site for some temporary parking to the northeast of the current high school building. It's exciting! 

More to come...


Science - It's on

Cow heart dissection. Not for the faint of heart.


Paleontology Field Studies

Missed the A-Term presentations last month? 

Check out this one about the Paleontology Field Studies in Seymour, Texas.

As always, there's a lot going on at Post Oak!


The 8%

On display now at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston is The 8%, a piece of art by Post Oak Student, Matthew Watowich ('17). The piece focuses on the marginalization of teenagers in contemporary society.

Matthew is pictured below on opening night, in front of his piece, along with Jodi McNamara-Alexander ('16), Riane Belgau ('16), and Grace Armstrong ('16).