A Day at EDGE
By Grace Gialde, EDGE Class of 2023
My day begins outside of EDGE in my first hour FLEX. I often utilize this time by working on homework or our current EDGE project that surrounds one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Most days I sit in the commons, near the front of the cafeteria, and socialize with my friends while we work. I enjoy being able to spend time with them since we have very different schedules for the rest of the day. Today, however, I am doing ACT prep independently in a quiet corner of the VIEW. My teachers are in their plan hour, but they allow EDGE students to work in the microschool. Being able to work in a quiet, open space is very important to me, and allows me to enhance my learning because distractions are minimized.
At 9:00 AM, second hour begins and The VIEW comes to life. Students flood into Headquarters to attend our Monday morning Kick-Off session where we will schedule our week and receive important information from our teachers. I greet my friends who come from different first hours such as Biology II and Health before Kick-Off begins, making sure to connect with my classmates about our learning progress and ask questions if I have any. Mr. Baldwin walks around, asking students how their weekends were and offering support for those who might be struggling with missing assignments, scheduling, or mental health. Mrs. Comegys is checking in with her ELA, AP Language & Composition, and AP Seminar students on their projects and competencies, and Mrs. Carpenter is helping lead the Kick-Off by informing students of the upcoming field trip for our science classes to Hyde Park to study the ecology of streams with professional ecologists.
Once we are finished scheduling and second hour is over, I head to my third hour Practical Leadership class, which is outside of EDGE. I enjoy having two classes in the regular school during the day, because it gives me the opportunity to see more of my classmates and gain more understanding of the perspectives of my peers.
When the bell rings, I head to my fourth hour AP American Government class downstairs in the 900s. We are currently learning about Federalism and the importance of the different branches and levels of government in the legislative process. I love that I can take this class along with my EDGE courses, because I can utilize the things I learn in each to make real world connections. For example, I am able to connect the concepts of legislative power and democracy to my individualized Water Project over Green and Sustainable Water Infrastructure in Kansas City by examining the impacts of environmental legislation on water quality and accessibility.
I’m using my fifth hour for personal learning time today, so I can work on one of this week’s Earth and Space assignments over the conservation and depletion of natural water sources. The period is broken up by lunch, which takes place around noon. EDGE students still eat in a normal lunch shift, so I get to spend time with some of my friends that I wouldn’t see throughout the day, otherwise. When I get back from lunch, I spend the second half of fifth hour meeting with Ms. Ajayi to get some additional help with my Statistics homework, and chat over my individual learning goals for math.
Having the flexibility to divide the time I spend on various assignments or subjects within a single period is one of my favorite things about the learning environment of EDGE. I love that I am able to move to a different part of the VIEW and begin working on a different class upon completing an assignment during my unstructured, or personal learning time.
I attend my AP Language & Composition class with Mrs. Comegys in sixth hour to review different strategies for taking the AP exam, and discuss the elements of rhetorical analysis. Then, I head to Spanish IV class that takes place within the microschool. I have found that I really enjoy having this class within EDGE because it makes me feel more connected to my classmates and additionally, what they are learning.
To wrap up my day, I relocate myself to a quiet, independent learning space where I can work on my Water Project. Sometimes it’s harder for me to focus in Headquarters where there are usually more people collaborating, so I really value that I have access to a quiet space I can concentrate in. I am doing my presentation on a trifold, so I work on preparing my final product for Exhibition Night where it will be displayed for students, parents, and community members. I am very excited to present everything that I have learned about my personal topic to my friends and family, because I am very passionate about it.
It’s 9:00 and we are beginning our weekly kick off in EDGE. My friends and I are all coming from different classes within the main high schools where we all take at least one class during the day. I’m coming from Body Sculpting class, while my best friends are coming from AP Physics and Orchestra. We like the option to take a class within the larger high school because it gives us the best of both worlds. We get to experience everything within EDGE, but we also get to take classes that are available to all high school students in Liberty. We kicks off with a casual exchange of things that happened over the weekend. I love that I know all the students and teachers at EDGE. It creates a connected vibe and I’ve found some people that I can really go to if I need advice or have an idea. We also are made up of students from both high schools, so I’ve gotten to know some people that I probably would’ve never met if it weren’t for EDGE.
It’s Monday, so we spend 15 – 30 minutes mapping out our week using our Learning Calendar. I’m currently working on a project about food insecurity related to the global goal of Zero Hunger. This week has some cool things in store. On Wednesday, we’re having a summit where several of us will engage in a solution-oriented discussion about how we can reduce hunger throughout KC. Each of us are researching a different area of KC to understand the issue more deeply. I’ve got to make sure I plan time before then to finish my research and prepare for the summit. Some of us are also going later this week to Nourish KC where we will actually help with meal service at a Kansas City community kitchen. We did this when we kicked off this project and it completely opened my eyes to the food insecurity issues in our region. My quad squad has an interview later this week with a Peace Corps member who worked on food insecurity issues in Zambia. I cannot wait to meet her.
Once I finish my plan for the week, I’ll share it with my teachers and they really help me make sure I’m on track and making progress with my learning. EDGE gives me a lot of autonomy and flexibility as a learner, but there’s also a lot of accountability that keeps me on track. As I map out my week, I’m creating a plan of what learning experiences I’ll be doing and how those will help me develop the evidence that shows I’m competent in the subject areas I’m working toward. My teachers offer a variety of different learning experiences each week, so I have a lot of control and choice in what each week looks like. I love that every day or week can be different, and there isn’t a set time of day for every single class. It allows us to go deeper into the subject areas and see the connections between them.
Now that I’ve planned my week, I have a 15-minute consult with my Personal Finance teacher. I’m learning about one aspect of budgeting by actually planning, saving, and tracking for the international trip that EDGE students can go on this summer. It’s hard work, but I’m really learning what it means to save for something and plan a budget. My executed plan will be part of the evidence I need to earn my Personal Finance credit.
Now it’s time for our Socratic seminar. We’re exploring the impact of war on food insecurity and to prepare I’ve been reading primary and secondary sources on the Vietnam War. We had choice in which war we wanted to investigate, and this seminar will give me the chance to show what I know about the roles of government, the effects of war, and my ability to demonstrate perspective-taking. It’s been interesting to analyze the issue from the Vietnam perspective and the US perspective.
My friends and I have decided to do a working lunch today to work on the statistical model we’re developing to target food insecurity in Kansas City, and the eradication of food deserts. This afternoon, we’re meeting with our math teacher to present our model thus far and learn the next math component. She’ll walk us through several problems and we’ll have time this week to practice more problems and get immediate feedback using our online math practice tool.
After lunch, I head back out of EDGE for Theater class. It’s one of my passions, so I like that I still get to do that.
Following lunch, I’ve got a science lab scheduled with my EDGE science teacher. We’re doing a lab on the chemical makeup of different foods. I’m guessing some of my favorite junk foods are not going to fare well in this lab! It’s nice because we’ve been able to block out over an hour so we can complete the lab in one day. I like that the EDGE schedule allows us that flexibility. I’ll then use the rest of the day to type up my lab report and meet with my ELA teacher to get some feedback on the technical writing components before submitting to my science teacher.
Once the day wraps up, I’ll head to Cross Country practice. I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and preparing for our meet on Saturday.
Note: This narrative is intended to provide an example of what learning at EDGE looks like. Specific subjects and experiences will vary based on student need and interest.