Enrichment clusters are one small part of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. But they do provide an awesome experience for our students. Not only do our students get to work with other students who share a similar interest and passion, but our students get to learn from the experts.
Part of the cluster experience is learning and investigating with adults who share the same interest areas, so much so that it has become part of their career. What a positive and insightful way for our students to realize that if they are truly passionate about a topic, that topic can become their career as an adult. So with SEM, we do more than just a career day at Laurel Mountain. We make a real world connection between interests and adult life.
We had the pleasure of welcoming many guests over the past couple of weeks to work with and teach our students.
Roby Brown worked with our "Movies, Videos, Reporting...Oh My!" enrichment cluster. Mr. Brown is the Director of Video Services for RRISD. He discussed with the students the steps taken when making a video or movie. Then, to give the children a hands-on experience, Mr. Brown worked through those steps with the students. Here is a link to the video that the students created with Mr. Brown:
Corey Ryan worked with our "Word Up!" enrichment cluster. Mr. Ryan is the Associate Director of Communications for RRISD. The students in this cluster decided that their product would be a newspaper for the school. Mr. Ryan's background is in journalism and newspapers, which was his first career. He talked about the different components that make up a newspaper and he taught the students the skill of interviewing. Here is what the members "Word Up!" had to say about Mr. Ryan's visit: "He was GREAT! It was lovely to share with the class an authentic, real journalist. He shared with the enrichment cluster, then sat down and interviewed with one student. She plans to add his interview to our upcoming issue of "The PRIDE Prophet".
Julia Lenz and Rover worked with our LME Pet Troupe. Ms. Lenz works with the Austin Dog Alliance and Rowdy is a Golden Retriever pet therapy dog. The students got to meet and pet Rowdy. Ms. Lenz shared with the students the process that a trainer and dog have to go through in order to become certified as a therapy dog. Ms. Lenz talked about training and the responsibility of owning a pet. Rowdy was quite calm during the presentation, showing off his pet therapy skills. He also shared a few of his tricks and commands with the group.
Steve Russo and Bruce Kingsley worked with our "CSI: Let's Solve Some Mysteries!" enrichment cluster. Mr. Russo and Mr. Kingsley work for Watchful Eye Investigations. Both are a Private Investigators and one is a former police officer. They talked to the students about their career and the basics of what they do. They demonstrated several of the surveillance tools they use with their job. And the children had an opportunity to try out the different tools. They were "spying" on the cluster across the hall and students working down the hall.
I feel that learning and listening to experts in fields that our students are interested in is a priceless experience. Of course, private investigation is interesting and lots of kids would want to listen to that presentation. Some may listen for a few minutes and fade out and some may be intrigued the entire time. However, in the "CSI" enrichment cluster we KNOW that all of the students in that group are REALLY interested in solving mysteries and detective work. They share that common interest. And to provide them with a chance to meet someone who does PI work as a career, to ask questions about detective work to a REAL detective, to be able to put their hands on "spy" tools...that experience makes a lasting impact!! How awesome is that, especially when you are in 4th or 5th grade?
Learning from the experts is one way that we are creating world-class talent at Laurel Mountain.