Name: Clara Peretz
Class year: 2014
Major: Sociology and French
Summer work: Curriculum development intern at Ascend Learning
This summer, I am working as an intern in curriculum development with Ascend Learning . Ascend is a Brooklyn-based network of charter schools and will be opening up two new schools for the 13-14 school year, which will bring the total number of schools in the network to six. Ascend’s mission is college readiness for all of its students, which it seeks to achieve by holding students to high standards both behaviorally and academically.
The team I am working with is focused on developing the Humanities and Social Studies programs. The work began with my providing support in the sixth grade classrooms, along with a few other interns, throughout the month of June, while students were still in school. We would come around to students’ desks to offer one-on-one support for their end-of-the-year writing assignments. There was also a lot of grading, proofreading, and writing comments for writing portfolios that was done to help the teachers with the final push during the last couple weeks of school. Being in the classroom was a great opportunity to gain a sense of the culture of Ascend’s classrooms, see the level of work students were producing, and get to know some great kids. Now, as part of the curriculum team, I am helping to prepare materials – lesson plans, flip charts, unit guides, etc. – for the upcoming school year, specifically for the seventh grade, since this coming year will be the first year seventh grade will be offered. This is because the students that began with Ascend in its first year will now be entering seventh grade.
I have observed a lot of detail-oriented planning, such as going over the academic calendar to decide which lessons will be taught on which days. However, there is also a lot of bigger-picture strategizing that I have become involved in. Examples of this include discussion about how to draw connections across disciplines and research about different approaches to developing strong writers.
As a sociology major, I became particularly interested in issues surrounding education and explored them further by choosing courses oriented towards education and doing research about current education policy issues while at Wesleyan. My internship with Ascend has definitely provided me with an opportunity to learn more about charter schools and observe first-hand certain aspects of the discussion surrounding charter schools that I have been reading about for the past few years
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