Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Observations and Goals for Year 2 of Northlight On Campus

As we reflect on and assess the first year of the after-school Northlight On Campus program, we look back at the trends we saw in student engagement throughout the residency.  Here are some bullet point observations, and some goals for next year.

  • Attendance dipped heavily as winter break approached
  • Attracting and retaining boys was incredibly difficult, girls came in droves
  • Student focus was unpredictable, and varied day to day
  • Students self-reflection started out poorly, grew tremendously, but then declined in the end
  • Student preparation was hard to manage as we got closer to the final presentation – the levels of preparation varied greatly student to student (line and blocking memorization, bringing script and pencil, etc.)

 GOALS for Year 2:
  • Recruit more boys and try to maintain their engagement as well as continue to serve the girls in NOC
  •  Work on daily structure, build a tighter sense of routine and better utilize call-and-response cues to control focus
  •  Establish reflection rituals and employ them daily 
  •  Get parents more involved in order to better control levels of preparation among students

Also, as we look at commissioning a script for next year, I think it will be very important to get buy-in from students on a new work.  Choosing a playwright and a play will be a process that starts this summer.  We solicited feedback from this year’s participating students on what they would like to see in the play next year.  Their thoughts are interesting for us to consider. They included:
  • We want production values – costumes, props and a set
  • We want a famous story
  • We want characters who are not like us
  • We want more boys to participate in the play
  • We want more students in the show

We will have to balance these desires with what we can achieve and what we think is best for the students.  I wonder if considering an adaptation (so that we balance new work with a story they know and can see themselves being a part of) might be worth considering.  Also, there’s a balance to strike between creating roles to attract male students, but also making sure that we are taking care of the female students who are passionate about being there.  This is something that will take a lot of consideration moving forward.

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