Academic Engagement – Humanities and History
The 9/10 Humanities class covers both History and Social Studies curriculum so that students develop a keen awareness of how events from the past affect today’s realities. Our current unit on Native American sovereignty provides an excellent example of how the treatment of Native Americans throughout history has led to their resilience and struggle for freedom still today. We began by analyzing ways that Native Americans were stripped of sovereignty from the 17th through 20th centuries, examining historical documents and events to understand the key players, historical context, and motivations. In the second half of the unit we are looking at ways in which Native Americans are striving to regain their sovereignty over land, cultural practices, and affirmation of their identities and vital roles in our world, reminding us that Indigenous people are very much part of the present rather than characters from the past.
IB History 11 is in the early stages of exploring the Cold War. Students are analyzing the various rivalries and the origins of the mistrust that evolved during that time by participating in a Cold War Simulation that helps them to visualize the complex
geopolitical positions of various key nations in that era.
IB History 12 is in the early stages of exploring the American Civil War. Initial forays have them analyzing primary source documents to try to comprehend the decision Lincoln was faced with and the various factions he was trying to appease. Students are gaining an understanding of the situations in both the North and the South and the various factors that led to the war. Students will later explore the outcomes of the war as well and the impact on the evolution of the nation.
Character Development – Outdoor Leadership
On January 29 and 30 a group of upper school students trekked into Teton Canyon to spend the night in the Teton Canyon Yurt! The 3.5 mile cross country ski to the yurt was on groomed trails and flat terrain, making it the perfect trip for beginner and intermediate Nordic skiers. This “winter excursion” was a component of the Outdoor Leadership Pathway, one of the three pathways upper school students can choose to pursue in their final years at MA. Students in the OL Pathway spend their junior and senior years developing expeditionary skills and learning to execute safe, fun, and productive multi-day trips. In order to practice these skills participants in the Outdoor pathway attend, plan, and eventually lead diverse multi-day excursions over two years. For this first event, Outdoor Leadership students Frank Daly and Dolyn Kinney observed and assisted in the trip planning process including participant recruitment, gear needs, food preparation, and itinerary drafting. Throughout the trip, Frank and Dolyn observed and evaluated leadership techniques modeled by faculty trip leaders (Kelsey & Amelia). They were also responsible for monitoring participant morale and helping fairly allocate roles at camp. After the trip we debriefed their observations so they can start to develop their own outdoor leadership “toolkit” full of strategies for fun and safe journeys that feel authentic to their styles of leadership.
Community Focus – Multi-Age Studies of Voting
The 9/10 Humanities class and the 4/5 class shared some awesome collaboration last month around their parallel studies of voting! We had the opportunity to interact with students of other ages and reflect on the similarities and differences in what we learned as well as what surprised us from this unit. Grades 4/5 students took a deep dive into government with their project on local elections where they learned about both historical and contemporary Jackson Hole elections. Students had a lot of hands-on learning with this unit as they interviewed nearly a dozen candidates running for local office, watched voting days at two different polling places, toured several courthouses and met the judges, visited with the folks that make the political ads at the Jackson Hole News & Guide, and created their own signs encouraging community members to get out there and vote! The 4/5 spent time in the Upper School where they had a gallery walk to see the posters and visual presentations that the 9/10 students had made about the history of voting rights in the United States. High school students explained what they learned about the suffragette movement, tactics and strategies that were used to prevent people from voting throughout history, and why voting is such an important part of our governmental system. We connected our learning to ballot initiatives being voted on recently, and the high school students were impressed with how much the 4/5 students knew about the SPET propositions on November’s ballot in Teton County, WY!
Student Corner – Jacob Collins
When I first came to Mountain Academy, I was looking for a challenge and an elevated education in hopes that I would get accepted into a good college. Mountain Academy has met these expectations, as well as provided a good social environment that I enjoy and has been flexible with my athletics.
One of the main reasons I wanted to attend a different school was the social scene at my old school. It felt almost overwhelming trying to keep track of everyone I know with such different schedules. When I came to Mountain Academy, everyone was welcoming. Because we have such a small class size, we have almost every class together, which creates a tight group of friends to the point where I can genuinely say that I am friends with every student in my grade. This is a huge part of how the positive environment at Mountain Academy is created.
Mountain Academy is also just the challenge I was looking for. I feel like I am not only being mentally challenged, but that I am also being prepared for college in a way I couldn’t have been at other schools. The IB Internal Assessments do an excellent job of teaching me what to expect out of a college assignment, as will the Extended Essay when I begin working
on it in the coming days. Mountain Academy is also very flexible with my athletic training and competition schedule. It is very easy to get any work that I missed completed on time without sacrificing any quality. This is in large part due to how easy I find it to communicate with teachers,
making it very easy for me to understand what the assignment is and how it should be done.
Overall, I think that Mountain Academy is a great school for anyone who is seeking
academic challenge or advancement, as well as athletes or people looking for a strong sense
of community. It was definitely the right choice of school for me.