Gregg Martin, who teaches high school music and philosophy at Capital City, spoke at the University of Maryland on May 3rd as part of a four-member education professional panel. He spoke about issues facing American education, including arts education, teacher unions, and the charter school movement to 22 students, including aspiring teachers, who are enrolled in the Foundations of Education course.
Professor Steven Stakland, who teaches the Foundation of Education course, noted that the course seeks to “help teachers become reflective, critical thinkers about the social and philosophical issues they may face” in the classroom. Stakland wanted his students to hear directly from current educators, providing a diverse perspective of the state of American education. Educators from an elementary Catholic school, Center City Public Charter School, and a future Teach for America participant sat on the panel with Martin.
Martin shared with college students why he chose to work in education and how Capital City’s Expeditionary Learning model stands out from other institutions. Students were especially interested in learning panelists’ views on “teaching to the test” and the quality of education in America today. “Teaching to the test is a problem,” Martin noted, “As policies have been made, we’ve left critical thinking out of the picture.”
Students were interested to know why Martin chose to teach in high school and college while being a professed researcher (his current research focuses on technology’s affect on aesthetics in music with regard to education and personal consumption). “I really enjoy teaching high school,” Martin said. “Half the fun of my research is being able to share it and have a dialogue with my students about it.”
When asked about the funding cuts facing arts and education programs nationally, Martin explained that music gives students “the background to understand the process.” “It increases students’ critical thinking,” he explained. “For example, I teach them about musical form and challenge them to think about how form can be applied to other disciplines, such as writing and math.”
Martin, along with his fellow panelists, stressed the importance of a solid arts and music education to help all students become well-rounded individuals. “We don’t expect all our student to become chemists,” Martin argued. “Nonetheless, we teach them chemistry so they will think differently. The same is true with music.”
Martin, who also teaches at The Catholic University of America (CUA), is currently working on his Doctorate in Musicology with a minor in Philosophy at CUA. He has been teaching full-time at Capital City since 2009. Outside of the classroom, Martin is a professional composer, and his works have been performed at the Kennedy Center.
What is a human right and what are the ways that they have been and continue to be violated in our world today?
This is the central question to the 7th grade Humanities unit focus on human rights. The students have been analyzing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, investigating human rights violations around the world and how the students themselves can become advocates for promoting human rights.
“An important part of this unit is for students to become activists for a human right violation,” said Alyssa McClorey, 7th Grade Humanities Teacher, “I want them to realize that they can make a difference, however small it may seem.”
To help the students learn how to advocate and take ownership of their learning, Ms. McClorey partnered with Ellen Stedtefeld, MS Visual Arts Teacher, to participate in the "One Million Bones" art installation. This art installation project has provided the students with an opportunity to experience art for social justice. The students created clay bones in Ms. Stedtefeld’s class with each bone honoring a person affected by genocide.
Students added personal notes on some of their clay bones.
Their bones will be added to the millions created by artists and students around the world and will be laid on the National Mall from June 8-10th. Students will attend this event to display their clay bones and to bring attention to past and present genocides and the millions of people affected by violence and war throughout the world.
To re-enroll your child(ren) for the 2013-14 School Year, click here.
History came alive on March 22, 2013 as Capital City hosted a school-wide National History Day (NHD) competition for its high school students. National History Day is a year-long academic program that focuses on historical research for students 6th-12th grade. This was the first year that Capital City was able to host a competition on its school grounds.
Through the competition, students developed a research topic and then engaged in primary and secondary research, including interviewing experts and probing through archival materials. More than 5 million students nation-wide participate in this annual competition.
During the NHD competition, students presented their research projects to 27 judges, who represented such organizations, universities, and government bodies as American University, Center for Inspired Teaching, Children’s Defense Fund, Ford’s Theatre, George Washington University, Howard University, National Archives, National Park Service, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Reingold Link, Smithsonian Institution, and the Wilson Center.
The team that won first place in the group exhibit category (presentation pictured) won for their presentation and research of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, “I Have a Dream”. In their research, the students focused on the speech and how it served as a turning point in the struggle for Civil Rights. Students contacted and interviewed Courtland Cox at the Teaching For Change offices near U Street. Mr. Cox who was present during the March on Washington was able to serve as a primary source to the impact of the speech.
Eleventh Grade Humanities teacher Julian Hipkins, III was elated with the students’ efforts and presentations. "Students really demonstrated what National History Day is all about by compiling primary sources and showing clear connections to the theme.” He continued, “The pride that they displayed in their projects as they spoke with the judges was wonderful!"
The students listed below will be moving on to the citywide competition at the National Archives on Friday, May 3rd. The national competition will be held in June at the University of Maryland College Park.
2013 National History Day Capital City Competition Winners:
PAPER: 1) Deyna-Apollo 11 2) Santana -Ramses II 3) Akira-Thermopolis
INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTARY: 1) Chika-Disneyland 2) Mohamed-Operation Barbarossa
GROUP DOCUMENTARY: 1) Skylar, Dalisha-Ebony Magazine 2) Victor, Isaac, Zulma-La Guerra De Las 100 Horas 3) Brenda, Jessica, Gwen, Maria-Crack Epidemic 4) Fredrick, Jocelyn, Marlyn-The Doll Test 5) Pablo, Uriel-The Hubble Telescope
GROUP PERFORMANCE: 1) Jenny, Miriam, Ronald-Small Pox 2) Christian, Jose-Broadway Musicals 3) Daniel, Kevin, Danny-Death of Alexander the Great
INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE: 1) Zhane-Child Labor Laws 2) Tanasia-Joan of Arc 3) Carolina-Dollarization in El Salvador
GROUP EXHIBIT: 1) Priscilla, Kenneth-I Have A Dream 2) Maria, Brandy-95 Theses 3) Jennifer, Colby, Kydadah-From Wolf to Woof 4) Leideen, Sherida-The Wonder Drug: Penicillin 5) Noe, Andrea, Teresa-The 1936 Olympics
INDIVIDUAL EXHIBIT: 1) Noemi-Samurai 2) Isis-African American Women in the Media 3) Fred-The Crossbow
INDIVIDUAL WEBSITE 1) Isaiah-Japanese War Crimes 2) Douglas-The Elevator 3) Chadea-The Egyptian Hieroglyphics 4) Darrell-Knights Templar
GROUP WEBSITE 1) Maria, Jorge, Liwen-Civil War Weapons 2) Dennis, Roni, Sergio, Ricky-Ben’s Chili Bowl 3) Christopher, Milan, Gerizim-Kush Conquers Egypt 4) Juan, Oscar-1968 Washington Riots 5) Tatiana, Luis, Taniya-Tuskegee Airmen
Thanks to Politics and Prose, Capital City was able to host a bookfair with high quality, librarian-selected books during the last week of February. The bookfair, a week-long, annual event, could not have been possible without the support of parent volunteers who generously donated their time and energy to staff the bookfair before, during, and after school hours.
Capital City families purchased $5,046.67 worth of books, helping their children grow their own libraries at home. In total, Capital City raised $1,181.99 to support our library through the bookfair. This allows Capital City to purchase at least one book per classroom.
To help build our school library's collection, Michel Martin and NPR's Tell Me More donated 200 books to be sold in a special Tell Me More book-buying event. All profits from that sale went directly to the library.
During the week of the bookfair, Capital City hosted an International Potluck for Capital City families and students. Again, Capital City Parents were instrumental in helping this event be successful, as parent Danyel Riley coordinated the well-attended and successful International Potluck on February 26th.