Category Archives: Williams Crew

Expedition: Cartographers and Commanders
Students will begin by learning the basic means of navigation during the Age of Exploration: compass and map. They will learn how to operate these tools effectively, generate maps, and apply these skills in the field on an overnight camping trip to the Sierra Crest. The students will then research what motivated different countries’ explorers to sail into uncharted waters and risk their lives during the Age of Exploration. Students will debate what impact famous explorers had on the world and if their impact was positive or negative. The expedition will culminate in a high quality board game that incorporates map and navigational skills, historical facts, and explores legacies all in one.
Expedition: What the Cell?!
What do we have in common with plants, animals, and bacteria?  Throughout this spring expedition, students will begin by diving deep into the world of cells:  the building blocks of life.  They will learn the form and function of plant, bacteria, and animal cells.  We will use this foundation to progress towards genetic theory.  Students will learn the basics of genetics, apply that knowledge to their own genetic background, and analyze controversial current genetic issues.  After exploring the microscopic world of cells and DNA, students will then explore the various body systems and how each cell has a specific task throughout the body.  This expedition will be highlighted by field work in the bay area at premiere genetic laboratories and Stanford Medical School.
See the Williams Crew’s website >>

It is hard to believe but we are over half way through the school year. The semester finished on Friday, January 29th. I’m sure you know that progress reports came home on Friday (or for students that missed Friday, they will come home today). I wanted to provide more of an explanation for you.

4 = Exemplary: This grade means the student went above and beyond what was expected on the assignment. I provide a rubric with what qualifies for a 4, but I do not require the students to achieve a 4. It can also mean the student tested perfect or nearly perfect on a test, or above what I expect them to know.

3 = Proficient: This grade means the student has met the required criteria. They are at grade level. This is my expectation for all students to be at grade level.

2 = Developing: This grade means the student has not yet met the required criteria, or has not completed the assignments or turned them in late. Many of the 2’s on the progress reports reflect poor habits of work (organization, focus, use of time).

1 = Beginning: This grade means the student is far below benchmark and my expectations.

Spring Expedition “What the Cell?!”
We started our spring expedition this past week, asking the question: “What characteristics do all living things have?”

We will be focusing on cellular biology, genetics/heredity, and evolution between now and the end of the school year. If you or someone you know has experience in any of these fields and would be willing to present to our crew please let me know, we love having guest presenters.

The fieldwork for this expedition will be a 4 day/3 night trip to the bay area exploring the cutting edge genetics companies, universities, and museums while camping at Half Moon Bay State Park. It will take place on the 26-29 of April (Tuesday-Friday). The educational opportunities are exclusively set-up by the student liaisons (students who have applied to be the contact people for this fieldwork). I will be explaining the fieldwork to the students on Monday and the students will be applying for a liaison position this week if they choose. Once the students have confirmed the stops with the organizations, I will send out a more detailed schedule.

On a side note, students have been doing very well since coming back from winter break. As a whole, students are motivated, focused, and engaged in learning. I was gone the past three days last week taking care of my kids while my wife was away on business. I am happy to report that the students continued their exemplary behavior and work ethic, helping the guest teacher when she had questions and staying on task all three days I was away. This is truly a great group.

As always if you have any questions, let me know.

Williams Crew Update

Hi all,

It hasn’t been too long since our last crew update but I wanted to send out some information on upcoming events:

I will be gone at my brother-in-law’s wedding from Thursday, October 15 – Monday, October 19. Megan Maciel will be the substitute teacher on those days.

SELS Summit Day, Friday October 16th: Students will leave SELS via bus to the Sierra summit near the Sugar Bowl Academy to start our hike.  We follow the PCT north and will be meeting the younger students at Flora Lake for lunch. After lunch we will continue north to the Forest service parking at the Boreal exit where we will be picked up by parent drivers (at 1:30).  We will drive back to SELS in time for the regular dismissal time.  Make sure students bring a sack lunch, water bottle, journal, hat, sunscreen, and wear their SELS shirt if they have one (students who need to leave school early, and are not attending SELS Summit Day because of sports or other events, need to be picked up at 9:30 because there will be no one at SELS to supervise your child after that.

Bear Walk October 30th: The Bear Walk is our annual fundraiser put on by the PTC.  Students will be given instructions to ask for donations for our school based on how many laps they can run around the track (or field if the track is not finished by then).  On the 30th the students will run laps and are also allowed to wear costumes.

Goal-Setting Conference November 4th and 5th: We are having conferences on Tuesday, November 3 from 12:00-5:30, and Wednesday, November 4 from 12:00-3:00. See here for the Google document to sign-up for a half-hour time slot. There will be two families scheduled for each half-hour time slot.  During that 30 minutes, you and your child will come with the goals you created (on the student’s Google Classroom account) for this school year.  I will review these with you to make sure they are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely).  Students worked on the first draft of their goals today. Sometime between now and the conference, each parent will need to sit down with their student and talk about their goals.

If your child has set goals that you agree with, help them word their goals in an appropriate way that makes them SMART goals.  If you do not agree with the goal that your child has set, help give suggestions about areas that you think they should focus on improving.

For families who come to the conference prepared with their goals, the conference should be very quick.  I will read over the goals, make sure they are SMART, answer any questions, and send you on your way.  For families who are not prepared with their goals, I will leave you alone to come up with your goals and review them with you when you are ready.

Sailing Fieldwork November 9-10: We have all of our drivers selected and are all planed and ready.  I will send out more details as we get closer.

Student Mentors: Students need to interview their mentor by November 2.  We have a few students that have not found a mentor yet. Is anyone interested in being a mentor for another student, or if you know someone who would, let me know.  Interests include medical and science, we’re open to ideas or any person that you think could be a good mentor for one of our students.

Important Dates at a glance:

Oct 16: SELS Summit Day
Oct 21: Minimum Day
Oct 30: Bear Walk
Nov 2-6: Minimum Days all week
Nov 3, 4: Williams Crew conference days
Nov 9, 10: Sailing Fieldwork in the Bay
Nov 11: No School, Veterans Day
Nov 13: Gratitude Night
Nov 23-27: No School, Thanksgiving Break
Dec 9: Minimum Day
Dec 17: Celebration of Learning

Lot of events coming up.  Make sure your child is prepared. If you have any questions let me know.