Six years ago, Kevin Plummer offered me the job of Head of the Upper School at Tampa Prep. As I researched the school and then experienced it firsthand when I interviewed, one aspect of the school culture in particular was incredibly attractive. The faculty, administration and staff were unafraid to boldly pursue the answer to the question, “What is best for students?”
In today’s academic climate, students are constantly encouraged to get as much real-world experience as possible. Here at Tampa Prep, our seniors spend the final weeks of their high school career participating in off-campus internships related to their future field of study. This allows them to start off their college years with experience already on their resume. But what about the experience gained in the classroom, let alone, an elective classroom? More specifically, the elective I teach: journalism.
A few years ago, my World History class and I were discussing economics. They opined that while basic personal financial skills should be part of family discussions, realistically they are not. They admitted they did not know basic finance, but they wanted to. So together, we worked out a list of personal finance topics that would make for a pragmatic semester class.
Part of Tampa Prep’s summer reading requirement includes ASPIRE: A Summer Program in Reading Enrichment. Through ASPIRE, faculty and staff members may choose to sponsor a book that interests them (it may or may not have anything to do with their subject area). Students sign up for a book they are interested in, and at the end of the summer the mixed grade groups gather and discuss their book before school starts. When I decided to participate in ASPIRE and sponsor Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, I was excited to stretch beyond my comfort zone.