All Kinds of News for December 05, 2018
With partisan tensions at a fever pitch, Solstice East Timbersong Academy students took a step toward principles that everyone can believe in: fair representation for everyone. In a two-day seminar this semester, students took intensive courses in various subjects, all centered on the theme of partisan redistricting, colloquially known as gerrymandering.
Nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Solstice East Timbersong Academy students have front row seats to the latest political battle over redistricting. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear disputes between lawmakers over whether the lines drawn after the 2010 census reflect an illegal racial bias. Timbersong Academy students can see for themselves one of the realities of politics, and academic team members were ready to guide their inquiry over the course of the intensive seminar.
While connections to government and history may be clear, innovative teachers in all disciplines found new and engaging ways to bring their discipline into this perspective, providing students with a rare opportunity to build connections between disciplines and see real world applications of the concepts they explore daily in the classroom. Students in math broke out into groups and united geometry and algebra concepts to show just how unfair a given set of lines could be, while their peers in English and history groups saw how these invisible lines have clearly visible effects on the lives of real people. Down the hall in the science classroom, students explored the environmental impact of gerrymandering through the lens of climate change, and in the civics classroom students experimented with potential solutions. And all of this was just the prelude.
On the second day of seminar, students were asked to apply their newfound expertise and tackle the problem of partisan redistricting head-on. Divided into teams, students were given blank maps of North Carolina and told to apportion representation fairly, whatever that meant to them. As a further twist, each student went to a different set of breakout sessions, so students were forced to teach each other the concepts they had just encountered, synthesizing as they went. In rooms that could be mistaken for legislative sessions on casual Friday, students crunched numbers, advocated for new ideas, and came back not only with a map but also a rationale for the way they drew their lines. Demonstrating tremendous poise and diligent preparation, students summarized their proposals in front of faculty and peers with a presentation.
This seminar is only the most recent example of the innovative, multi-disciplinary, whole-student focused instruction that goes on at Timbersong Academy every day. Students are asked to explore the world, handed a set of tools for understanding, and encouraged to make that world their own. Timbersong Academy students are expected to do more than memorize dates and formulae. They are charged with creating new ways of thinking and understanding that will equip them for life after graduation.
About Solstice East
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for adolescents ages 14-18 located just outside of Asheville, NC. Solstice East has helped hundreds of students and their families with issues ranging from depression and anxiety to trauma and behavioral problems. Solstice East is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), and academically accredited by AdvancED and the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Additionally, Solstice East is licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.