KnightLife: New Opportunities for the Community

Earlier this semester the faculty had the opportunity to venture outside of our cocoon on campus and familiarize ourselves with some of the exciting work taking place in our ASUcommunity.  While we all took something away of value, I found the day especially useful.  Unlike most of my colleagues, I’m new to Albany.  The opportunity to engage with other individuals and institutions in the community provided me with a chance to visit new places, to meet new people, and most importantly, to familiarize myself with new learning opportunities for our students.   My visit to Albany State University fulfilled each.

ASU is the only four-year university in Dougherty County, and with its impending merger with Darton, it stands to become the leading institution for higher-education in southwest Georgia.  Change, however, rarely comes easy, and to say that this merger has been contentious would be an understatement.  We met with Dr. Art Dunning, the University’s president, who provided us with a sense of how the new Albany State can become a point of pride, unity, and economic development within our city and region.  Dr. Dunning was frank and sincere as he addressed the challenges that ASU, Darton, and the community as a whole will face during the next year.  Merging two institutions with such divergent academic and institutional missions is no small task, especially when we consider that this is all taking place under what the historian C. Vann Woodward has called “the burden of southern history.”  Indeed, the region’s social, cultural, and economic challenges are not insignificant.  That the merger is taking place within the context of these challenges is unmistakable, as is the reality that the cumulative history of the region will undoubtedly color how many in our city view the merger.  Nevertheless, Dr. Dunning suggested that we use the merger as a chance to transcend these challenges.  He underscored the point that the success of southwest Georgia and the success of the merger are inextricably linked.  In order for the new Albany State to be an institution that can act as a catalyst for the economic development and social betterment of our region, it will have to embrace the community just as the community will have to embrace it.

As teachers, we have the opportunity to enroll in graduate classes at Albany State and to possibly serve as adjunct instructors.  Each can strengthen our faculty and provide invaluable opportunities for professional development.  The University’s representatives also highlighted the opportunities available to our students who want to earn college credit through concurrent enrollment and online courses.  This has the potential to prepare our students for the intellectual rigors of college and to heighten the level of erudition here at Deerfield.  This merger will undoubtedly be a challenge, but so too will it provide new opportunities for the community.

Jake Clawson, Upper School Humanities

KnightLife: Did You Know?

  • AlbanyTechAlbany Technical College’s Nursing Program had a 100% pass rate on the State Boards for both its LPN and RN program in 2015 and was ranked 52nd
    in the 100 Best Nursing Schools in the Nursing Journal.
  • Albany Technical College offers Dual Enrollment to all area high schools – and its free!
  • Albany Technical College’s Robotics Program (Titans) received high honors at the World Competition held in St. Louis in 2015.
  • Albany Technical College was one of only three technical colleges in Georgia to receive over $3 million dollars to develop a new college and career academy to serve the Dougherty County School System and surrounding counties.

If you didn’t know any of these impressive facts, you’re just like me. I had no idea how amazing ATC’s programs are until we visited the school in early January. Dr. Anthony Parker, the president of Albany Technical College, and a team of dynamic educators are quietly making this educational institution one of the most respected technical colleges in the southeast with little local fanfare or recognition. What a shame! In this very community is a technical college offering college credits transferable to most four year colleges, with state of the art technology in all programs and a team of very impressive instructors ready to offer our local high school students and graduates a quality start to their collegiate careers.

Our visit was an amazing day of discovery that opened many doors for collaborative ventures between DWS and ATC as we begin exploring the world of robotics – kicking off with a group of middle school students attending the FIRST Robotics Competition in March. Teams of high school students will bring their robots to compete by performing tasks such as throwing balls and breaking down defenses in this year’s competition, “Stronghold”. These competitions and the Super Bowl-like atmosphere inspire students to dive into the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and further develop the problem solving skills necessary to succeed in this technology driven world.

Thanks to Albany Tech for opening your doors to a world of discovery for all of us!

Cathy Jones, Middle School Science

KnightLife: What Makes a Community Great?

Have you ever wondered what, if anything, some of our local businesses do to support our community beyond the products and/or services they provide?  Well, I recently received a sascounique glimpse of one such company along with several of my colleagues when we visited SASCO Chemical on Pine Avenue.

Besides the incredibly useful, but rarely considered, products created there (a powder coating to keep rubber products from adhering to each other during transport; a compound that prevents the glues used in composite woods from sticking to the presses in which they’re made; cleaning products that aren’t caustic; and an additive that can take the awful smell out of formaldehyde!) SASCO Chemical gives a great deal back to both their local and global communities.  Locally, SASCO Chemical has carefully crafted a work space that is safe and user-friendly for their employees.  A well-appointed break room, safety equipment (including suits that allow workers to pump in cooled or heated air to stay comfortable no matter the season), and an on-site gym with a regular cross-fit instructor are just a few of the amenities available.  All employees have also been cross-trained in all departments, providing them with a broad set of skills that enable them to grow, make wise choices, and direct their efforts to support the mission of the company.  Notable, too, is the fact that SASCO Chemical sources most of the materials needed to create their products and operate their business from other Albany businesses, all the while keeping our little economy humming!

Globally, SASCO Chemical has worked diligently to make sure their footprint on the earth is minimal.  Their shipping containers are made to be washed and reused, and all of their products are non-hazardous.  In fact, some of their products can be added to something harmful in order to render it safe!  Most notable for me, however, is their sense of conscience.  All throughout our amazing tour the message from our hosts, Rusty Skalla ’01 and Pam McDonald, was one of principles.  They believe very strongly in educating, supporting, protecting and empowering their employees, in fostering and maintaining honest and strong business relationships locally, and in protecting our environment now and for future generations.  They are taking great steps to care for their little corner of the world and the people who live and work in it.

Shannon Lacovara, Middle School Humanities

KnightLife: 3-2-1 ACTION

New Year, new me. That’s how it is supposed to be, right? Well, I found that to be true, just a little bit earlier than the 2016 “resolutioners.” My new year started when I was asked to WALB Group.jpgstart a Broadcast Journalism program at Deerfield-Windsor. Of course, I was thinking, “I can’t take this on my second year of teaching,” but the teacher part of me demanded we bring this opportunity to life.

Getting started was tough. I searched the web, reached out to schools, and read every book I could find on “getting started.” In the end, I realized every school “started” from a different point which reflected what they had to offer.

On this journey, Deerfield-Windsor supported me in not one, but two development opportunities. In November, I travelled with nine students to the National High School Journalism ConventioIMG_1334.JPGn in Orlando, FL. For three days, our schedule was packed with speakers who were experts in their field. Each one of us came away inspired and ready to try something new.

Upon returning from Orlando, we needed access to local expertise, and WALB was our answer! During our behind the scenes visit on DWS Discover Albany Day, we met anchors, directors and producers who were interested in partnering with us in the future.

Due to the support of DWS, we are now working towards coming at ya live from the Design Lab! Here’s to 2016 and what’s yet to come with the Broadcast Program!

Lindsey Horton, Upper School Humanities

KnightLife: Day of Discovery

Our first day back from Christmas break was set aside for staff development, and we were FRQ2excited about the opportunity for a change of pace. Honestly, I am not from Albany and had never visited the RiverQuarium, didn’t know much about the Flint River, and had no expectations for the day.

It was a bright, crisp day as the blue herring swooped down from a tree branch to welcome us, and the turtles were performing their routine morning yoga on a large rock for each of us to enjoy. As a spectator it was breathtaking to witness the wildlife, scenery, and authenticity of the Flint RiverQuarium in Downtown Albany. Little did I know, what was pleasing to the eye was only the tip of the iceberg as there was so much more to gain from this phenomenal staff.

The staff were amped for our visit and planned an incredible morning for us to enjoy the animals and authentic displays while teaching us what was available to educators within the facility and on their website. We were overwhelmed by content spanning all disciplines for educators and students to use inside and outside of the classroom across grade level. Biology, ecology, and other science classes are obvious, but other classes, such as English, could do cross-curricular projects using informational text to guide research projects and writing. Also, there were ideas about using the drama department for developing a script for tours and the Spanish department translating for the community’s ESL students and Hispanic families.

While this place is all about learning, it also just plain FUN! There were games concerning water quality and flooding using technology and hands-on activities, a behind the scenes tour of the tanks and exhibits, a habitat for visitors to feed and observe different species of birds, and much more. I was particularly excited about the touch tanks where I was able to touch a crab, snail, and other marine life. I am confident that students would have a blast, and without realizing it, learn along the way.

The trip to the Flint RiverQuarium was a true day of discovery, collaboration, and enlightenment that opened our eyes to educational opportunities and fun-filled activities for DWS and the Albany community. Don’t believe me? Go check it out for yourself!

Morgan Basone, Middle School Humanities


KnightLife: Just Beyond the Doorstep

This week, our faculty took to the community with the singular goal of a-janlearning what our neighbors are up to. We all know amazing things are afoot just beyond our doorstep, but we become so engrossed with working with and caring for our students, we fail to engage with all the wonderful people and organizations in Albany and the surrounding areas. Given this, it seemed the best thing to do was for the teachers to take a field trip, and leave the lesson plans for another day.

To our surprise and immense appreciation, we found the organizations we contacted were willing to open their doors to us. Ten groups of teachers were sent away from the schoolhouse and each group visited one of the following locations: Albany Civil Rights Institute, Albany State University, Albany Technical College, Flint RiverQuarium, Jones Ecological Research Center, Phoebe, SASCO, Thrush, WALB, and White Oak Pastures. At each and every stop, the energetic people and dynamic undertakings each organization engages in blew our faculty away.

Ultimately, we set off on this adventure to learn about our community, meet and interact with our neighbors, and model the kind of engagement we seek to instill in our students. Our desire is to bring our classrooms to Albany and Albany to our classrooms. With that in mind, we will be running a blog series over the next several months in which teachers will share their discoveries from this experience. We hope you enjoy the upcoming blogs as much as we enjoyed living them!

Geoffrey Sudderth, Middle and Upper School Director

KnightLife: Viva Firenze!

View of Florence from San Miniato al MonteWhen breaks from school approach, most of us look forward to time away from the classroom. Maybe I am just a nerd, but I love learning! For the past six years, I have eagerly sought and found some amazing professional development opportunities that rejuvenate, recharge, and refresh my attitude, my teaching methods, and my desire to be a lifelong learner.

For two weeks last summer, I ventured to every museum, church, restaurant, and Gelato stand in Florence, Italy. As a student with Mercer University’s Florentine Freedoms, I immersed myself in the culture, the history, the beauty, and of course, the FOOD of this unbelievable city. Walking the narrow brick streets, listening to the concerts in the piazzas, gazing on some of the most important art in the world, connecting the past with my present, and standing in places once inhabited by Michelangelo, Donatello, Dante, and Brunelleschi – I became a part of the Renaissance that changed the world.

Venturing out from my apartment on the Piazza della Signoria, I climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa and hiked to San Miniato atop Michelangelo Square; I marched and cheered with the Santo Spirito soccer team and fans after their championship win; I observed the blessing of the horses in the Palio in Sienna; I cried upon seeing Brunelleschi’s Wooden Crucifix; I stood in awe when I turned the corner in the Academia and saw Michelangelo’s David; and my taste buds exploded the first time I ate pear glazed gnocchi. Florence – the city of art, religion, politics, diversity, acceptance, and love. The city of pizza, gelato, street musicians, selfie sticks, and fizzy water!

The courses I teach at DWS have been influenced but this experience as I learned the Harkness Method of class discussion and now implement that practice with my students. That said, I came away with more than just a recharged battery and volumes of new knowledge. My faith grows stronger; my passion for great books burns brighter; my desire to learn continues; and yes, my weight is weightier.

I am forever a part of Florence, as she is forever a part of me.

Viva Firenze!

Debbie Newsome Allen, Upper School Humanities