TTA’s emphasis on engineering technology makes sense in a region of the country known for its manufacturing base and ties to the auto industry.
Toledo Technology Academy

Toledo Technology Academy

A Snowy Few Days

Snow covered the ground during much of my trip to Toledo Technology Academy. I took this picture of the school after leaving what would be my only day visiting students and teachers there. The weather played havoc with my schedule and the roads, and the district ended up closing all schools a few days in a row.

The first day of the snowstorm I was holed up in a Hampton Inn conducting a couple interviews by phone and spending a lot of time reflecting on my visit the day before. I was remembering the excitement in Ian’s voice when he showed me the parts of the air motor he was working on, the loud buzz of the machines in the lab, and the huge 3-D printer the students love to use. I was remembering how Gary Thompson spent hours talking to me about the great work his teachers do.

When Gary called my cell phone each morning to tell me the district had decided to keep the schools closed yet again, I said I needed to head home. I was driving from Toledo to catch a flight out of Detroit. The roads were still a mess, and Gary was concerned. Earlier, he had told me I was about same the age of his own kids, and I guess he was worried about me just as he would be worried about them, not to mention his students. So he politely asked that I text him when I got to the airport 45 minutes away. Once I got there, I let him know I was ok.

Thanks for checking up on me, Gary, and for showing me around your terrific school. All the wonderful things everyone in Toledo says about you are absolutely true.

Though half of the teachers do not even teach literature, studying these works enables them to pass on universal truths to their students.
Pretty old house.

Pretty old house.

Prometheus and Me

Discussing literature, watching cinematic renditions of literary classics, and talking to teachers about why they are devoting three weeks of their summer vacation to doing both is a great way to spend a reporting trip. Throw in the the charm of the old home that houses the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (picture above), and is where the films were viewed and literature discussed, and I’d say I had one of the best work trips ever.

Although I am not from Dallas and I am not a teacher, I am an English major, and watching this program unfold firsthand felt like coming home.The three-week Sue Rose Summer Institute was like humanities camp. And not just for me. The K-12 teachers who attended the summer institute with me and with whom I spoke couldn’t get enough either. Some of them traveled great distances every day to immerse themselves in the classics with fellow teachers.

While my article, “Promethean Summer,” mentions the literature we discussed, I was unable to talk about the films we watched. Some of them still haunt me: Iphigenia, in which Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter to the gods; Tsotsi, which tells the story of a young man’s transformation in Johannesburg, South Africa; and The Gospel at Colonus, a gospel rendition of the tragedy Oedipus at Colonus, which stars a young Morgan Freeman. Yes. Morgan Freeman!

Now that I am back in the day to day routine of my job, I realize how lucky I was to visit this program, and I thank everyone there who made me feel welcome, answered all my questions, and allowed me to pretend I was back in some of my favorite college classes.

Meriden administrators and union officials spend much of their time coming up with joint professional development programs to hone teacher talent.
The School Development Program focuses on improving relationships among the adults in schools so they can foster academic achievement and support student development.
Core Knowledge shows that students in kindergarten through second grade are fully capable of—and benefit from—acquiring both decoding skills and content knowledge at the same time.