Students at PFFS-University were finally given their Intersession assignments this morning, met in their Intersession groups for about 20 minutes, and were given parent letters to take home – along with other forms where applicable. PFFS-Downtown students were given their Intersession assignments, met in their groups, and received materials to take home two weeks ago. So now the countdown for Paulo Freire Freedom School’s ‘Spring 2015 Intersession’ can officially begin: There are 17 days until Intersession.
We have posted at PFFS-Downtown and at PFFS-University descriptions of each school’s Spring 2015 Intersession experiences along with links to parent letters, permission forms, and other materials where applicable. These can be downloaded and printed if they have been lost somehow on the way from school to home. Parent permissions and signed waiver documents (if applicable), as well as, fees (and financial aid forms) must be turned in by March 3rd. All Intersession experiences have fees associated with them. However, financial aid is available for any one with financial need. A link to a downloadable Financial Aid form can also be found at both the PFFS-Downtown and at PFFS-University Intersession pages.
During Intersession students partcipate in four days of intense learning with a small group of students around one particular theme/topic. On the fifth day, Intersession
groups meet to reflect on their learning and then with the entire community to celebrate together.
Our primary rationale for creating learning experiences outside the classroom walls (whether they be Intersessions, Friday Expeditions, or any of the other field experiences away from the building) is two-fold:
(1) Research shows that building background knowledge significantly improves students’ performance in their academic classes, and
(2) Helping students make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and experiences in the larger world motivates students to want to learn.
An added benefit of our Intersession program results from our efforts to assign your young person to groups with students who are not necessarily their best friends. This clique-busting assignment strategy and the intensity
of the week-long Intersession experience itself combine to support the forging of new friendships. Upon completion of Intersession week we have always found the PFFS climate and culture to be significantly changed for the better becoming a much more unified and cohesive community.
Also, placing Intersession in the Fall and Spring (at the end of the First and Third Quarters) gives the school community a much needed energy boost. Intersession is something both staff and students look forward to twice a year.
And finally, being able to participate fully in their Intersession becomes a powerful motivator for students to make sure that they are getting their work completed in their core academic classes. Students who do not have all major school work satisfactorily completed prior to Intersession have to miss part of their Intersession to work on completion. For those students who have gotten behind in their academics, the one-on-one instruction time they receive when they are pulled from their Intersession is critically important in helping them to be proficient in the academic core content.