I work with students on suspension and expulsion.

The students come from six high schools.

Each student brings their own context, course load, and success plan.

And enrolment is continuous.

I have called my approach modern, blended, multipurpose, multimodal, multidirectional and kaleidoscopic.

The program is necessarily shapeless, though not without inner structure. Its just that the bones can be reconfigured and reshaped as needed-  like lego, or code.

It has to be that way.

And if you were to unpack my daily routine to the uninitiated, it might seem an impossible portfolio to manage.

But I manage. And I plan. I prep. Reflect. Repair. Advocate. And plan.

With a program cap of 16 students, theoretically each of them brings a full schedule of programming that has never existed in our space. 16 students multiplied by 4 courses each is, well, that can be a lot of sudden preps.

And totally impossible … mostly.

Some days this is true. Some days I hit the balance. Most days I am flitting dynamically somewhere in the middle. Course design challenges alone will take up a followup post and you can check here for it’s development.

The individualized plans that we develop draw from almost every tool that is available in the system at large. Some resources may surprise. For example, we use co-operative education placements for some students. A colleague commented on this saying ‘really … an expelled kid gets to go to Co-Op?’ The edge of what’s possible is only limited by our imagination, our understanding of the system, and someone on the other side of the deal saying ‘no’.

A student’s reality can change drastically when their status shifts from suspension to expulsion. In preparation for this shift, we build and build and rebuild multiple plans. The versions flow so fluidly, that sometimes confusion happens. Focus softens. We come back to the table, reviewing multiple pages of ideas and ask ‘what are we trying to do again?’

But this is the necessary bit. One plan does not work 100% of the time.

And I apologize to parents and students and my colleague for what may seem like erratic thinking, but its not really that. Over-optioning serves a greater purpose than confusion, it is the necessary contemplative process, design process, and negotiation process all happening right up to the decision deadline. And it’s messy.

Some students comment that they appreciate all of our efforts, but they wish that they could have accessed these angles sooner.

It’s a great observation.

And I am not sure how to respond.

Posted by:chrisjcluff

I am a 'flow' seeker. In my day to day work I help students, colleagues, and community members make the most of the moments afforded us through public education. If I am not asking questions, I am not learning.

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