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31 minutes | Dec 14, 2021
"The Hypothesis" Season Two Finale with Education Secretary Kurt Steinhaus
In this Season Two finale, we take stock of the moment at our school, for schools across the state and perhaps what we have on the horizon. Joining Chris is special guest, New Mexico Secretary of Education, Dr. Kurt Steinhaus for a look at the upcoming legislative session and what it promises for students and teachers, as well as what the future of education in the state might hold. We discuss the sometimes tricky balance between local and state control as well as his position on kids in school during COVID. Thanks for joining us again this season; we hope that these episodes help to shed light on schools in this unprecedented era. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
13 minutes | Nov 17, 2021
Strangers on this road we are on...
From TikTok trends to the fine line between the world of social media and in-person interaction, our students are facing a variety of challenges they never have before. In this episode, we'll delve a bit into some of the student behaviors we're seeing and consider overall trends and how our approach this year is different from how we've done things in the past. You'll meet our school counselors/social workers, Sean DeBuck and DeAnnette Roybal, who will bring you into their thinking just a bit more. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
17 minutes | Nov 10, 2021
Stay (Far Away, So Close)
In this episode, we take you closer to the impact of the teacher shortage by examining our own school. You'll meet one of our instructional coaches, Mary Ellen Dannenberg, to bring the educator perspective into the conversation, and a look at a way forward. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
16 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
Digitize This! (Can online education be better than in-person?)
Last year, we gathered our school community every full moon to update them on our plans and engage them in critical conversations. We're the Coyotes. We'd even all howl at the end of the meeting. At our gathering last March, I asked how many families were interested in keeping their students online in the upcoming school year. This year. I presented a possibility for a school within a school, nearly entirely online, with a dedicated faculty and staff. We would serve students in grades 5-8, where we believed the need would be greatest. Within the next 36 hours, the families of 101 students were signed up as interested. Of course, we knew that the conditions around the pandemic would change in ways we couldn't predict between March and August, but we decided to develop the project anyway. We gave it a name that captured the moment. We call it "The Academy of Extraordinary Circumstance". This year, we are asking a lot of questions of it as the future of The Academy is unclear. It was designed to address a community need in a very particular moment in time, but its usefulness may not yet be totally clear. In this episode, we'll explore the still open question of the effectiveness of online learning - specifically two questions:1) Can online learning be as effective or even more effective than in-person learning?2) Has the pandemic changed the way we think about the actual purpose of education for students in grades 5-8? Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
13 minutes | Oct 27, 2021
In the Air Tonight
Should we be comparing the safety of our school against hospitals or against the outdoors? In this episode, we meet Chelsea, a mother of two TTCS students and a medical professional here in Santa Fe. Very new to the area, Chelsea spent all of last year treating COVID patients in New York, where she practiced medicine for 13 years. In this episode, we explore what the outdoors and outdoor learning might have in store for our outlook on safety and education. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
12 minutes | Oct 20, 2021
Are the Kids Alright?
Back on July 12, 2021, a piece ran in New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells entitled “The Kids Are Alright” that led with CDC findings around COVID-19 mortality rates for children. The findings indicated that the mortality risk for children is greater for the flu than it is for COVID-19, including the Delta variant.In this episode, we begin looking at data around COVID for young people, but then bring those data into our school and community to understand how we should be making decisions about our whole community, not just our school. Please subscribe and share. This podcast is produced by "Protect the Pack Productions" at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
3 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
The Hypothesis Season Two Trailer
This season, Season 2, we will take you back behind the curtains as the Delta Variant of COVID-19 presents new challenges and we explore the oftentimes conflicting desires, politics and directives that meet with a community's desire to educate students to the highest and best of our ability. You'll meet parents, teachers, staff, local health officials and students to help bring to life some of the excitement we experience each day along with the real challenges and tradeoffs that keep us working late each night.These issues are by nature controversial and we are very aware that our school community is not monolithic. In no way do we intend to make political statements or provoke arguments. Our bias here is simply around making decisions that will allow the greatest number of students the highest level of education that we can provide. Aside from that, our goal is simply to take you into the decisions themselves as we face them, and do our best to explain why we are making them. In the end, we are not perfect, but we work incredibly hard and our main focus is on the education of our students, taking all health and safety precautions into consideration. Our first episodes will focus on the science around children and COVID, online education and how and when we switch classes to a hybrid of online and in-person. We will plan to post new episodes every Tuesday for the run of the season.We hope that you'll join us, share the episodes and help us to grow a deep and productive dialogue.Stay safe out there and as always, Protect the Pack! Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
16 minutes | Mar 10, 2021
The Kids Are Coming Back!
On Monday, March 8, 2021, the New Mexico Secretary of Education announced that schools should resume full, in-person learning by April 5, 2021. In this episode, Head Administrator Chris Eide records a short, early morning audio message to a friend detailing the confluence of factors that must be resolved in order for the school to successfully reopen as well as some of the most elusive challenges that he is anticipating. We hope that you enjoy this candid moment amid an optimistic time. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter Schools, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
36 minutes | Dec 8, 2020
Season Finale: Pandemic Governance with Secretary of Education Ryan Stewart
We are wrapping this season of "The Hypothesis" with an interview with New Mexico Secretary of Education, Dr. Ryan Stewart, regarding governance of an entire state's education programme during this global pandemic. This podcast, over 11 episodes, has focused on the challenge of governance and leadership at a school that, as a charter school, has the freedom to make decisions apart from a district context. This last episode zooms us out from our school to talk about those challenges at the state level. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
13 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
Save Independent Practice!
The most important component of a lesson is often the first one to go in this virtual context. In this episode, I am joined by TTCS teacher Mark Kolokoff to discuss what is happening in class if it isn't independent practice, and how to think about moving forward. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
26 minutes | Nov 24, 2020
Finding Creativity: A World Away
In this episode, we spend a moment with a person who became a part of our school community in Santa Fe from all the way in Bangalore, India because of the pandemic. Geared toward young people who might be feeling the drone of repetition, this is a reminder that creative and connective moments can happen anywhere and at any time as long as you are open to finding them. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
11 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
In this episode, we investigate the role that suspicion plays in our interactions with one another and with institutions. Over the first many weeks of school, COVID-19 did not find its way into the school building, suspicion came in at the beginning and never left. You will meet Nurse Jennie, who has led the work to do contact tracing for students and families and has worked closely with the suspicion that people have with how close COVID-19 has come to those inside the building. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
17 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
The Return of the Five Year Olds, Part II.
In this episode, we follow up on the previous week in which Kindergarten was brought back to in-person learning in a hybrid model. This week, one week later, we had to shut the program down again. Go behind the scenes to hear about why and how it all unfolded. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
14 minutes | Nov 3, 2020
Return of the Five Year Olds, Part I.
Months of planning and preparation culminated in the arrival of our Kindergarten students who were willing and able to participate in in-person learning. On their first day, the Governor was also scheduled to make an announcement about new health orders. Rising COVID-19 rates across the state had people believing that she would shut schools back down. For the Kindergartners and the teachers, that would mean closing down just as they were starting back up. The teachers who had built the instructional plan for in-person learning were also going through waves of excitement and the anxiety that accompanies a public health threat. This episode introduces you to two of our Kindergarten teachers as well as our Elementary Principal and takes you into the moments leading up to and through that first day back. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
14 minutes | Oct 20, 2020
You Sound Like Mike Pence Right Now
In this episode, launched on the first day back for Kindergarten in a hybrid model, which coincides with a midday press conference from Governor Lujan Grisham where the announcement to shut all schools down may be made, we look at the confluence of school-level and state-level planning. In particular, we look at how a myriad of forces may come together in a way as to make a lifelong Democrat/Independent person sound like Republican Vice President Mike Pence. Special guests this week include former New Mexico Secretary of Education Christopher Ruszkowski and Executive Director of Public Charter Schools of New Mexico, Matt Pahl. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
5 minutes | Oct 15, 2020
Special Short: Behind the Scenes of a Big Week
Nearly every morning on his way into school, Chris Eide records a short voice memo addressed to his friend Latif Nasser, mainly to capture what is happening at the school with regards to COVID-19 and school opening. This week is particularly significant, mainly because the count of students happened on October 14, which determines funding for the next year (particularly important in the face of likely budget cuts), Kindergarten is planning to open up to in-person hybrid learning on Tuesday, October 20, and COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in New Mexico. Tune in to this short episode to listen in on Chris' voice memo from Thursday, October 15.Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Original music brought to you by a Turquoise Trail student.
12 minutes | Oct 13, 2020
The Math of a Classroom
The art and science of keeping students and teachers as safe as possible is a mindset that extends to every nook and cranny of a school and its operations. In this episode, we focus on the classroom, the hallways that connect the classrooms, and the school building itself. Consider the question of how many students may safely fit in any classroom in our current context. Is it enough to divide the total square footage by 28.26 (the area of a circle, 6 ft. in diameter)? Not even close. In this episode, we go into the complexity of that question. How do you consider the impact of furniture, pedagogy, the movement of students in a room given their age and grade not just on the final calculation of how many students can fit in a room, but in a hallway? A school? We introduce the notion of a "pod" to address the issue of humans interacting with one another above the constraints of space in a school. You will meet Peter Nguyen, our Facilities Manager, and again from Danielle Garcia, our Director of Operations, who did the math and economics to solve these problems for our school building. The Hypothesis is the ongoing story of a school with the ability to decide whether or not to open amid this global pandemic, and if so, how. Short episodes released every Tuesday. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
12 minutes | Oct 6, 2020
The Virus: Actual and Perceived
This week, as allergy season continues to bloom and the resulting symptoms become confused with COVID-19 symptoms, many students are out from child care at the school, forcing the decision of how to treat this occurrence. Treat it as COVID-19 and alert the school community of a possible outbreak? Ask students to stay home as a precaution? The former risks the spread of the idea that the school is unsafe, when in fact, it is among the safest places that people can visit right now. In this episode, you'll meet Danielle Garcia, the architect of our safety and operations plan in response to the virus, and go into how the school manages not just the epidemiology of the virus, but the perceived threat that is constantly lying just underneath. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
9 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Welcome to Our School
Before we delve in to the challenge of designing school in a hybrid model and then making decisions around whether to open up school in that model, it's important to begin to understand the context. In this episode, you'll learn a little about our school, what it means to be a charter school, and the context that we find ourselves in at the moment. Brought to you by Protect the Pack Productions at Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
3 minutes | Sep 29, 2020
Introduction to "The Hypothesis"
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused schools to make decisions that they have never had to make before and to change the way in which students are educated. This podcast offers you access into a school that, like many schools across the world, is walking the fine line between public education and public health in an evolving context. New Mexico has been among the most restrictive states in the country with regard to COVID-19, and is treating the opening of schools with an abundance of caution. This caution has led to increasing uncertainty around school opening, mounting guidelines, and tension between school leaders and the state. In this introductory episode, you will get a brief overview of the podcast and episodes to come. Presented by Turquoise Trail Charter School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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