Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Class on the weekend? Not a problem.

H.A.S.S. scholars hard at work... on the weekend

To paint an accurate picture of the situation at H.A.S.S., we must say that these students have never worked so hard in their life. Due to our trip to the McWane Science Center, we were obligated to make up the lost work the next day. Please find below a schedule of our workday on this particular Sunday.

10:30-10:45 : Last chance to finalize your five sources (must have a sheet of notes for each source)
10:45-11:00 : Presentation on the outline by Ms. Brown
11:00-11:10 : Break / Dance Party
11:10-11:30 : Make outline with Mr. Younker's thesis on textbooks being replaced
11:30-12:30: Lunch
12:30-1:15 : Students make own outline
1:15-1:25 : Break / Dance Party
1:30-2:30 : Math Enrichment with Ms. Brown & Ms. Jin
2:30-2:45 : Break
2:45-3:00 : How to make an Introduction w/ Mr. Younker
3:00 - 3:30 : Students write their introduction
3:30-4:00: How to cite sources properly
4:00-5:30 : Work time
5:30-6:30 : Dinner
6:30-7:15 : games
7:15-8:15 : Work time
8:15-8:45 : Practice reciting poems with Ms. Narnor
8:45-9:15 : Break / Dance Party

We are pushing the students at H.A.S.S. to limits that they did not know existed before this summer. The scholars are constantly surprising themselves with how much they can achieve when they sit down and focus their minds on a goal. Even though we have gone on many trips and extra-curricular activities, the students enrolled within this summer school have not lost sight of their academic goals. They are here to learn. Did we mention these kids are only 14 years old?

McWane Science Center 6/25

Krisshandra makes the biggest bubble of her life!

I am not sure about the students, but the staff had an excellent time at the McWane Science Center this past Saturday! Through the complementary tickets provided by the McWane Science Center, the H.A.S.S. students were able to learn in a different way other than the standard textbook and chalkboard combination. The three floors of excitement were a beautiful blend of learning and education; the students did not even realize that they were learning about sharks, gravity, leverage, computer science, sound waves, brain activity, fossils, wildlife, meteorology, and much more.

Does this look like Curtisha?

In addition to having the opportunity of visiting the interactive portion of the center, the McWane Science Center invited H.A.S.S. to view a film in the IMAX theatre! This opportunity was a first time experience for many within both the student body and staff. We were blown away by both the acoustics and sheer size of the theatre. The education film we saw was Tornado Alley, which hit home for our students after the horrific tornadoes that came close to our communities this past spring.

Krisshandra vs. Shon: They are facing off to see who can keep their brain the most relaxed

When we returned to campus at Indian Springs our students realized that they needed to get right to work. We took a short break to relax in our dorms; however, the H.A.S.S. students filed into the computer lab by 4:00 p.m. to get to work on their research papers. The kids are putting some real work into these papers; I am humbled by their level of commitment to this summer experience.

Pound Cake and Mr. Younker left their mark at the McWane Science Center

Friday 6/24 - UAB and Custom Pizza

Students relaxing in the movie theater in Blazer Hall at UAB

Friday was a very packed day. It is necessary to mention that the majority of our afternoon trips are preceded by an entire morning of classes. H.A.S.S. students attend class from 8:00-11:30 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Accordingly, by the time we arrived on UAB’s campus, we already had a full morning of classes.

Despite the students’ commitment to working hard during the morning, the H.A.S.S. scholars asked numerous questions to our tour guide at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. For many of our students who want to enter the field of medicine, UAB appears to be their current top choice for both undergraduate and graduate school. While on campus, the students had the opportunity to tour the entire undergraduate portion of UAB’s campus and even relax in the movie theatre located within one of the freshman dorms!

Jarvis prepping his pizza for the sauce

As soon as we returned to Indian Springs, Wendy and the other staff within the cafeteria had a surprise waiting for our students: THEY GOT TO MAKE THEIR DINNER! The H.A.S.S. students partnered up and designed their own pizzas, often splitting the pie right down the middle. There was so much pizza that Wendy gave the students "to go" boxes, and the kids took their work back to the dorms for an evening snack. Thank you so much, Indian Springs!

Va'Shondria decided to put a little bit of cheese on her pizza

Friday, June 24, 2011

Organic Garden + Research Paper + Birmingham Southern College + Birmingham Barons = A Thursday with H.A.S.S.

Ashley sneaks up on Mantricia with a tickling tool

Exposure. If we could summarize our mission by using only a few select words, exposure would undoubtedly be on the list. H.A.S.S. strives to expose its students to the wide array of opportunities they have during both their secondary and post-secondary education. Yesterday Indian Springs School (ISS) exposed our students to the world of sustainable agriculture by means of its organic garden. Mr. Pollard, a Biology teacher at ISS, led the H.A.S.S. students through the organic garden teaching them along the way. Students could not keep themselves from posing lots of questions about the garden and Mr. Pollard’s work at ISS. In fact, we now have a new activity for next week: a visit to the ISS lab to see the snakes, spiders, fish, and other critters Mr. Pollard might have crawling around the building.

H.A.S.S. students discussing the various beetles in the garden with Mr. Pollard

After our morning in the garden, the students headed to the computer lab to work on their research papers for the next hour and thirty minutes. In order to ensure the students remain interested in the paper, the scholars are independently picking their topics. For example, Va’Shondria Ward is researching the relationship between being sexual abused as a child and developing into a rapist in adulthood. The students will present their research next week at the closing of the summer school.

H.A.S.S. on a tour at Birmingham Southern College

The BSC tour had a great Q&A session for the students

In the afternoon, H.A.S.S. made a trip to Birmingham Southern College (BSC) where the students fulfilled the tour guide’s “must ask a minimum of 3 questions per tour” requirement before we even left the Admissions’ back yard. The tour was absolutely splendid, and the students were already comparing BSC to their previous tour at Samford. They are already thinking over the various factors that will determine their choice of college. Our students are without a doubt college bound!

Curtisha, Krisshandra, and Va'Shondria enjoy the Barons game

If you thought the day was over after the BSC tour, you were wrong. With the help of Julie Ellis at Christian & Small and Jonathan Nelson and Shawn Pharo of the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team, all 15 H.A.S.S. students were able to enjoy a SURPRISE evening at Regions Park to watch the Birmingham Barons defeat the Tennessee Smokies. For many of our students this was their first time attending a professional sporting event! Thank you so much to the individuals that made this outing happen. This summer school is a group effort; thank you to everyone who has provided us with support thus far.

Meet the H.A.S.S. students!

I was just looking through some of our photos on my computer, and I decided that we simply do not have enough pictures of our students on the blog.

Ms. Fluker is making her elephant mask at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Adrianna Jones proudly displays her finished elephant mask

All 15 of the H.A.S.S. scholars at the University of West Alabama before they loaded the bus to head to Birmingham - June 12th, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

H.A.S.S. visits Samford!

After visiting four different places in the past two days (JCC, the Galleria mall, Christian&Small and Innovation Depot), we got back to our normal routine yesterday – classes! It seemed like we haven’t sat in the classrooms for a long time, since we’ve been so busy going from one place to another. For Ms. Brown’s math class, we played jeopardy solving various integer problems. Kudos to Adrianna J, Diamond and Davontae for winning first place! Ms. Buckelew and her reading class continued their discussion on The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 and started learning how to write persuasive essays.

After lunch, we had our first college tour at Samford University! Despite the thunderstorm that partially flooded our van and caused traffic as intense as that of rush hour, we safely made it to Samford an hour after our original appointment. The sky stopped pouring by the time we started our tour and we visited the science lab, the library, the cafeteria and other various buildings. We listened to Dr. Steve Donaldson’s (a brother of Mrs. Sharon Stuart from Christian&Small) presentation on computer science after the tour. The weather was just not working with us, because the moment we walked out of the science building to head back to our bus, it started raining again. A couple drops quickly became a heavy downpour that made us sprint back to where we parked. A few of us fell on our way running but luckily no one got hurt. Jarvis told a few of us how he fell; it was unfortunate that he fell but the way he told the story was hilarious. Ms. Buckelew literally laughed until she started tearing up! Anyway, we made it back to Indian Springs safely despite the thunder and lightning.