April (2014)
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Maker Education
September (2013)
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Field Study
March (2013)
February (2013)
January (2013)
December (2012)
November (2012)
October (2012)
Healthy Risk?
Transformational Experiences
Much of our attention on this blog over the past month has been focused on new technology initiatives related to the launching of a 1:1 iPad program at Proctor for the 2013-2014 academic year, however, technology integration is just one piece of what makes a Proctor education so valuable.

As you read this, thirty Proctor students are engaged in off-campus programs in Spain, Costa Rica, France, and the American Southwest. These programs rely very little on technology in the same way our classrooms on campus do, however, each offers transformational experiences that consistently define a students' time at Proctor. With over 70% of students spending at least one term off-campus during their careers, Proctor's experiential programs have proven to be the standard for independent school immersion study around the world.

While it is hard to put your finger on one factor that makes Proctor's off-campus programs so successful, consistency of delivery, engagement of Proctor faculty leading the programs, full group immersion in other cultures, and a uniquely cohesive student culture within the school community are just a few of the ingredients that make these experiences effective.  

Proctor's Mountain Classroom program began its 2012-13 Winter Term after Thanksgiving and immediately sought to develop their group dynamics with two short trips to Vermont and Quebec, learning cold-weather survival skills and initiating their study of border and immigration issues that will drive much of their content studied in the Southwest later this winter. After breaking for the holidays, students and instructors met in Atlanta, Georgia on January 6th to embark on their cross country trek, with their first of many stops in Terlingua, Texas. 

For the ten seniors and their instructors, Chris Farrell and Erin Bostrom, on Mountain Classroom, the next two months will be an incredibly intense group experience. An experience that one recent alum described as, "The most influential three months of my life."

The eight students that just arrived in Aix en Provence, France for European Art Classroom will surely have a similar experience as well. These students, along with co-directors Jennifer and David Fleming, share a house and learning space for the next two months; traveling throughout Europe using art and art history as a medium through which they can learn about cultures present and past.

Alec, a four year senior who took part on last winter's inaugural European Art Classroom program, said, "Going on European Art Classroom was the single best choice I have made in my life; living and learning in community allowed a diverse group of students to become close friends and a foreign land, home. The program gave me tools and confidence I never thought I needed and left me with more than I ever could have imagined."

Not far away in Segovia, Spain, co-directors of Proctor en Segovia Mikaela Buldoc and Ryan Graumann welcome ten more students to their program, which has been in action since 1974. Living with host families, taking academic courses, and learning in the most hands on way possible define this program which has opened the doors to successful language study for so many students over the past thirty-five years. The impact of this program on students can be equally impressive as Patrick, a four-year senior, said after returning from Spain last winter, "I gained more self-confidence from that term in Spain than from any other time in my life."

With three students also studying in Costa Rica at the Country School in the Pacific coast village of Tamarindo this term and twenty-two students having already taken part in Proctor's Ocean Classroom program, Proctor truly offers a global education that transforms students lives. While each term offers unique experiences and individual group dynamics that are never replicated, the one given is that students' lives will be transformed while studying off-campus and we can't wait to hear how the next two months impact the thirty students just beginning this part of their academic journey at Proctor!

Be sure to check out program updates throughout the term at the following links:
Mountain Classroom Blog Updates
European Art Classroom Blog Updates
Proctor en Segovia Blog Updates
The new Mountain Classroom bus will be home to ten students and two instructors over the next two months as the group studies border issues and travels across the American Southwest.
Alec's experience on European Art Classroom last winter changed his life as he was taught skills he never thought he could learn...leading to his self-publishing a children's book he wrote and illustrated this fall!
Proctor en Segovia's group of ten students are mid-flight as this blog is written and ready to explore the Spanish language and culture over the next two months.
Throughout each off-campus program this winter students and faculty will have the opportunity to not only create lifelong bonds with each other, but to allow content to come alive in a way that inspires lasting learning.