Walden House Course Report -May 10,
Instructors: Ben, Ore, Will, Arvind
Walden House graduated six students this session. It was a particularly
hard session this time because of events outside of the CDD classroom.
I believe these events contributed to our low graduation rate this
time, but the students who persevered through it all should be commended.
Ronnie Barnes was our presenter at graduation. The first few class
sessions, Ronnie stayed late and discussed how he was worried that
he was "in over his head" and wasn't sure if he could
write an adequate paper. As it turned out, his was one of the best
and he did a fantastic job presenting it at graduation. All of our
graduating students finished up their papers, posted to the blog,
and presented their papers on Saturday, May 7, 2005.
As mentioned earlier, this session was extremely difficult for the
students as they faced almost two weeks of lockdown at Walden House
where their computer and writing privileges were suspended. In fact,
I believe this lockdown resulted in at least a few of our students
leaving the house and thereby dropping out of the class all together.
I believe it also contributed to us not securing many applications
for the internship. As of May 7, only one student had turned in
a completed application. It is unfortunate, but it served as a reminder
that these guys have so much more going on in their lives than just
completing this class.
There are still several guys who have applications and say they
intend to turn them in. I'm a little disappointed in the progress
of intern applications and hope next session that this is addressed
a little bit more. I believe that one of the problems is that Antonio
was not able to make it in and address the men personally. We did
the best we could to answer their questions, but I think hearing
it first hand from someone who has experienced the program would
be more beneficial to lighting the fire. In fact, I'd like to suggest
that Ricky McAllister, who was in my class last session, be invited
to speak to next session's class. From what I understand, he turned
his internship into a full time job. He might also be a potential
candidate to speak at a graduation event. It is clear that sometimes
students need constant riding in order to complete their applications.
I think this should be stressed in the teacher workshop as one of
the four main goals we hope to accomplish (paper, blog, internship
application and curriculum).
In my opinion, the curriculum continued to be very useful and with
each session, I find it to be more and more appropriate. However,
I still would like to see Module 3 turned into an Internet oriented
session. I believe that would retain the "fun" that module
3 currently has, while giving a more practical purpose and would
lead seamlessly into the blog posting. Also, it is clear that review
is a very important part of the curriculum that might not be stressed
enough. Retention of skills was pretty high in this class, but I
think every student would benefit by taking the same exact course
again. In fact, one of my students asked if that was even possible.
He is hopeful that at the very least, even with his earned certificate,
that he could "audit" the class next session if there
are any empty seats. He hopes to be able to just come in and re-learn
all the skills we've taught this session. I told him that I would
pass along that concern and to follow up with Ralph regarding it.
At graduation, I also heard several other students from another
house mention that they thought they could benefit from taking the
Ore, Arvind and Will were fantastic partners and Ore is an unbelievable
instructor. Over the course of this six week period, I've had the
pleasure to meet many of the other men in Walden House and nearly
all of them show unbridled enthusiasm in trying to get into this
class next session. Some of them come into the classroom every week
just to say hello and ask questions about it. It is clear that there
is plenty of demand for our service and I can't wait to return to
Walden House after taking the next session off of teaching.