Open Program restructures Leadership

Social Studies teachers Robert Panning-Miller, Joshua Fisher, and English teachers Michelle Ockman and Mary Manor are the new Open Coordinators

Emily Barnhill

Social Studies teachers Robert Panning-Miller, Joshua Fisher, and English teachers Michelle Ockman and Mary Manor are the new Open Coordinators

Ellen Gantenbein, Staff Writer

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As Administrative Intern Diane Manley Bagley dives into her new position this year, the Open program has restructured and allocated the role of program coordinator to be shared between four Open teachers.

The new coordinators are Social Studies teachers Robert Panning-Miller and Joshua Fisher, and English teachers Michelle Ockman and Mary Manor. These coordinators will work to promote the program and facilitate communication at a “parent/community” and “district/state” level, elaborated Bagley.

The decision to reformat was made collectively by the Open staff when Bagley resigned, as she could not balance the time commitment with her new position. Fisher stated  “we decided that it would reflect some of the values that we as a program are trying to focus on if we spread out the responsibilities of the decision making process.”

The program hopes to promote these philosophies along with progressive learning as a whole. “[We would like] to promote progressive education practices both in the Open program and generally at South, because progressive education practices are really best practices in most cases.” Manor stated. The program also hopes to build the continuity between Open curriculum within the same grade, and between grades. “Then all of the core classes have some kind of shared experiences and consistency as far as the program goes,” commented Fisher.

Another area the program hopes to improve in is the way other students and staff in the building view Open.  Fisher commented, “I think there’s a level of lingering misconceptions out there about who Open students are, who Open teachers are, and what types of academic activities we’re engaged in and if we can kind of straighten out that this is an academically rigorous program then I think it works to dispel some of those rumors or myths.”

These teachers will balance their full curriculum schedules with coordinator duties by delegating tasks and organizing with weekly meetings.

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