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FALL

2016 —

Ins id

Issue № 22

his t e

issue

THE ART OF

Pretend

pes + DIY Halloween ca

OUT OF THIN AIR

Tweaks and techniques for baking at altitude

DECODING THE COMMON CORE Bringing to light changes in education

THE ENERGY WE EAT An intro to Biodynamic farming


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FALL

2016 Issue № 22

4

Contents

8

10

18 —

FEATURES 26 32 — — MAKING HAY WHILE DECODING THE THE SUN SHINES

COMMON CORE

Two area families turned seasonal jobs into decadelong careers. But they just can’t wait for fall ...

Local teachers, administrators, and parents talk about the elephant in the room: the Common Core State Standards.

By Christina Shepherd McGuire

By Sue Muncaster

2

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

Departments A Note From the Editor Mountain Style LUNCH WITH A SOUL PURPOSE For the Jackson Hole Classical Academy, lunch is full of healthy lessons. SOUP’S UP Laina Shill’s Glory Bowl soups offer locals an artisanal “hug.”

12

In the Garden THE ENERGY WE EAT An intro to Biodynamic farming

16

Ask the Expert SOCIAL MEDIA AND TEENS A look into their secret online personas

18

Conscientious Cook OUT OF THIN AIR Tweaks and techniques for baking at altitude

22

Cabin Fever THE ART OF PRETEND Growing up with costume designer Chloë Brightman

On the Cover: Eliza DeBone, of Driggs, Idaho, lets her Halloween cape fly outside Pierre’s Playhouse in Victor. Photo by Camrin Dengel

32 —

Photography by (top) Camrin Dengel (bottom) Bradly J. Boner


Planning for your perfect day? Women & Infants Center

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Welcome to

A note from the EDITOR seamstress, I secretly wished there was one in my size. (Am I too old to pretend?)

The other day, I was driving past Habitat in “inner city” Driggs, Idaho, when a guy I used to know (who’s about six years my junior) popped out of a full-size pickup truck. I recognized him— tousled long hair and trucker hat—as a local pro snowboarder who ran in my circle back in the day. My ten-year-old daughter turned to me and, with the cruel honesty of a child, said, “Mommy, that guy looks like Daddy when he was younger.”

It’s often hard to tell how old someone is in a mountain town. I guess you could say we take care of ourselves by playing outdoors, breathing fresh air, and—especially this time of year—eating vibrant food. If you put us next to our city-slicker counterparts, nine times out of ten, we actually appear younger. Or at least we think we do.

There I was feeling sorry for my aging self, when I interviewed the Mackenzie family for “Making Hay While the Sun Shines” on page 26. Dana Mackenzie relayed to me—with a brightness more luminous than the shining sun—that having a successful business, being a proud father of three more-than-motivated kids, and also having the freedom to play is something only accomplished with age. Equally, Annie Fenn’s high-altitude baking article on page 18 outlines tips that would take many of us years to figure out on our own (thankfully, she did it for us). And all of this hubbub over the Common Core (page 32), well, if I were a mother in my twenties, I might not give it a second thought.

This leaves me contemplating my emotional journey through this issue. Molly Absolon’s piece on teens and social media (page 16) first got me thinking about age. Sure, I use Facebook, Instagram, and sometimes Twitter, but I’d never even heard of Yik Yak or Omegle. With my tail tucked between my legs, the marketing professional in me felt dated, yet much better informed. Then I attended the photo shoot for “The Art of Pretend” on page 22. After ogling over the beautiful DIY kids’ Halloween capes designed by a local

You see, getting older has its merits. And while our bodies creak a little more when we pedal, garden, or ski, it’s only a reminder of the sweet life our vessel has served. If we add up all the years spent trying to “figure it out” in this mountain town, we can actually sit back and revel in the fact that we now have it dialed. It’s less effort for more reward and, ultimately, a much more fulfilling life than that of our peers who chose the traditional route. Trust me—it shows on our faces.

Getting old sucks.

Contributing WRITERS

Feeling grateful for a life full of friends and family, Andrea Swedberg enjoys the outdoors on her bike, skis, and hockey skates. If she’s not in the kitchen baking to her heart’s content, she’s playing with her daughter and friends in the water, on the dirt, or in the snow.

Writing, gardening, cooking, teaching, and improvising are just a few of the things Mel Paradis does in her spare time. In addition to Teton Family magazine, Mel writes for Teton Valley Magazine and scarymommy.com. She lives in the booming metropolis of Tetonia, Idaho, with her husband, kid, and dog. 4

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

Molly Absolon writes to support her outdoor habit. She’d rather be hiking, biking, or skiing in the mountains than just about anything else. A former outdoor educator and current mother of a teenager, Molly lives in Victor, Idaho, with her husband and daughter.

Sue Muncaster, former editor of Teton Family magazine, is a local mom who balances work and play by tipping the fun scale whenever possible. These days, you can find her zipping through the forest at Snow King Mountain Resort, where she serves as Chief Adventure Officer at the Treetop Adventure Park.

Editor photograph by Paulette Phlipot

Tibby Plasse thinks the poet Gary Snyder got it right when he said, “Find your place on the planet. Dig in. And take responsibility from there.” Her boots are covered in chicken coop matter and compost, and she’s constantly stepping on kids’ abandoned snacks, wondering why the dog won’t clean them up.


Contributing WRITERS

After practicing medicine for twenty years, Annie Fenn, M.D., retired to the kitchen to write about the place where whole foods, health, and sustainability meet. Her current passions include educating people about how to cook and eat to prevent dementia. Find her stories and recipes at jacksonholefoodie.com.

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Sara McWhirter is a fourteen-year-old aspiring poet and scientist who is currently studying bioengineering. She attends the Journeys School and enjoys Nordic skiing, lacrosse, and cycling. Sara confesses that her hours spent petting her cats in lieu of doing homework and her multiple readings of Harry Potter are true signs of an introvert in the making.

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tetonfamilymagazine.com Publisher Kevin Olson Associate Publisher Adam Meyer Editor Christina Shepherd McGuire christina@tetonfamilymagazine.com Art Director Kathryn Holloway Copy Editors Dorothy Jankowsky Pamela Periconi Contributing Photographers Bradly J. Boner Kisa Koenig Camrin Dengel Paulette Phlipot Ryan Dorgan Ashley Wilkerson Advertising Sales Sara Adams, sara@tetonmediaworks.com

Lydia Redzich

12 —

Ad Production Sarah Grengg

Natalie Connell

Distribution:!Kyra Griffin, Hank Smith, Jeff Young Teton Family is published three times a year and distributed at more than seventy-five locations for free throughout the Tetons. To request copies, call (307) 732-5903. Visit tetonfamilymagazine.com for additional content and insightful blogs. © 2016 Teton Media Works, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine’s original contents, whether in whole or part, requires written permission from the publisher.

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LUNCH WITH A SOUL PURPOSE By Mel Paradis // Photography by Ashley Wilkerson

W

hen you think about school lunch programs, you probably don’t envision Aristotle. Instead, you picture old ladies in hairnets slopping green beans on a tray. Yet it’s Aristotle’s quote, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” that is the core of both the curriculum and the lunch program at the Jackson Hole Classical Academy. The Academy, which opened in the fall of 2014, aims to develop intellectual and moral foundations within its students, while encouraging good habits and strong academic achievement. “We want to be consistent in our model,” says headmaster Polly Friess. “We want our students to desire the right things. In literature, we want them to read great books. In music, we want them to listen to great music. When they eat, we want them to desire healthy foods.” The Academy added a kitchen to the original building design, but it remained unused for the school’s first year. Then Chas Baki—father of a student, husband of the school’s kindergarten teacher, and a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute—offered his services. Baki moved to Jackson with his family in 2014 and has worked at The Blue Lion, Couloir, and Gather. Currently, Baki and three other parents prepare lunches at the Academy on Mondays and Wednesdays. “My goal is to [someday] serve lunch five days a week, while providing healthy meals that parents can feel good about giving their children,” he explains. Though the meals look like traditional school lunches on the outside, students

are surprised to learn Above: First-graders Morgan King, six (right), that healthy ingredients and Magnolia Baki, six (center), debate the are often snuck into the tasty options on their plates, while classmate homemade fare. Baki Renny Roberts, seven, enthusiastically slurps makes almost everything his chicken fettuccine. from scratch—even the Opposite: Chas Baki, a chef at Gather, mayonnaise—and adds prepares a bean salad for students at the ingredients like black Jackson Hole Classical Academy. beans to the brownies and sunflower seeds to the chocolate chip cookies. When the children ask, “What are these green things?” it opens the opportunity to teach them about healthy ingredients. “One of the main reasons I got into the culinary arts was to learn about our relationship to food and how it affects our overall health through mind, body, and spirit,” Baki explains. The school’s families add even more heart and soul to the lunch program through a unique model of financial support. Approximately 90 percent of enrolled students participate in the program. And while the actual cost of each meal is five dollars, some families pay only three and others opt to pay seven. “We built a community,” says Friess. “We support each other in a nice way.” At the Jackson Hole Classical Academy, even lunch comes with a little dose of education and a whole lot of heart. For “food is the foundation of it all,” says Baki. tf

BOOK

A go-to for young, aspiring chefs, Kids’ Fun & Healthy Cookbook (Dorling Kindersley, 2007)—by food writer, editor, and stylist Nicola Graimes—is an easy-to-follow cookbook for children ages six and up. Visually striking depictions of favorite recipes from fruit smoothies to corn chowder to salmon parcels entice readers young and old, while treats like sticky date muffins and tropical yogurt ices are sure to be staples in your kids’ rotation. Each recipe comes complete with step-by-step directions and accompanying photos, giving little ones a full visual on preparation methods. And Graimes’ “tasty twists” and “food facts” only further your children’s appetite for healthy eating. For a book that will get your novice foodie up to speed (and perhaps up for tackling family meal preparation once a week), Kids’ Fun & Healthy Cookbook just may be the Joy of Cooking equivalent for kids. – Christina Shepherd McGuire

Review

Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

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SOUP’S UP By Mel Paradis // Portrait by Kisa Koenig // Recipe by Laina Shill

W

hen Laina Shill purchased Glory Bowl Soup Company from founders Price Gilroy and Ramsie Rue in 2014, she knew she’d made a solid investment. Word on the street was that people loved having delicious soup delivered to their doors. “I couldn’t believe someone thought of this before I did,” Shill shares. “I think it is in the genetic makeup that some people just need to feed others.” Feeding others is something Shill had already been doing through her “addictive” condiment business, Teton Pepper Friends. After the purchase, Shill stuck with Glory Bowl’s model of delivering soup and 460° Bread to homes and drop-off locations in Jackson, Wilson, and Teton Valley. But she also added other offerings, like eggs from her flock and a rotating assortment of condiments, including her Teton Pepper Friends sauces, herbed goat cheese spread, and chicken liver pâté. Shill rapidly diverged from the original recipe book, too. Instead, she honed in on customer favorites and added her own flair with international additions like Duck and Crawfish Gumbo, Brazilian Moqueca (fish stew), and 10

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

Ukrainian Beef Borscht. “It’s amazing that you can travel the world culturally through soup,” she says. Shill ups the ante by using local meat and cheese in her soups, broths, and condiments. Her backyard-raised chickens and turkeys provide all the meat and broth for her poultry-based soups, and she utilizes local sources, such as the 4-H auction, for her pork and beef needs. Additionally, the chèvre for her herbed goat cheese spread comes from a Teton Valley goat farmer. So, what’s next for Glory Bowl Soup Company? Shill would like to expand her market. “A lot of people live alone … or have a hard time getting out. I introduced pint-size jars last year, hoping to reach more of the elderly population,” she explains. Senior citizens receive a 10 percent discount on their soup orders, and people can give “soupscriptions” as gifts, too. ”I think soup— unlike other foods—is comfort, is healing, is like getting a big hug. And it’s great because you can order it! You can’t always order up a hug,” Shill says. tf


Cultivating Intellectual Curiosity and Integrity

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP —

Makes 4 servings or a half-gallon

I love the pristine simplicity of this soup. It’s perfect for a chilly fall day when local squash is fresh off the vine.

Photo: Paulette Phlipot

3 pounds butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed 1 tablespoon olive oil Sea salt 1 medium yellow onion 2 tablespoons butter 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 12 sprigs fresh thyme (approx. 1/8 oz.) 6 sprigs fresh sage (approx. 1/8 oz.) 2 bay leaves 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (plus more for garnish) 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/3 cup whipping cream (plus more for drizzle) 1. Halve squash. Drizzle and coat with olive oil; sprinkle with salt. Place cut-side down on baking pan and roast at 350˚ F for 1 hour, or until tender. Remove from oven, flip, and allow to cool. 2. While squash roasts, chop onions coarsely. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot; add onions and garlic. Caramelize over medium-low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Add stock to pot once onions are caramel in color. 3. Strip the leaves off of half of the fresh thyme and sage; reserve. Tie remaining sprigs in a bundle with cotton thread and add to pot with bay leaves. Cover and bring to a medium boil for 15 minutes. 4. Add nutmeg and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and uncover. Remove bay leaves and herb bundle. 5. Scoop squash from skins and add to soup with the reserved whole thyme leaves and chopped sage leaves. Puree soup using an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. 6. Add cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with stock, if desired. 7. Serve in bowls and garnish with cream and ground nutmeg.

Now Accepting Applications for 9th–12th grades Interested students are invited to shadow for a day! Contact Admissions Director Ella Farnsworth for more information: efarnsworth@jhcschool.org 307-733-JHCS ext. 104 | jhcommunityschool.org

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Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


THE ENERGY

WE EAT

An Intro to Biodynamic Farming By Tibby Plasse // Photography by Camrin Dengel

M

y first jam season at Paradise Springs Farm in Teton Valley piqued my curiosity about Biodynamic1 practices. After a few weeks of picking raspberries and some long nights of canning, it was clear that different things happened on different days. And while my husband, Mike, would let me know what days would be best for picking berries and processing (based on the calendar, which read like a Star Trek prop), I only half paid attention, working around my own schedule instead. But I learned something. A jar of jam processed on a “leaf day” was muted and pallid, whereas the “fruit day” batches were an iridescent fuchsia. I couldn’t believe the difference in taste and color, even though they all shared the same recipe. Years later, I know it’s not just the fruit. Calves show up during oppositions, weather shifts with planetary positions, and some days are just blank, do-nothing days. If I plant a root crop on a blank day, it may never come up … proving there’s a bigger picture to this type of farming. Biodynamic agriculture—which treats soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated tasks, with the aid of an astrological sowing calendar—is a dense and intimidating field on which to gain footing. In 1924, philosopher and scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner presented a system that bettered the outcome for a crop, or a herd, and also healed the soil in the process. When modern industrialization changed production practices, farmers sought Steiner’s opinion on how to salvage and, hopefully, restore the health of their crops. This resulted in a series of holistic management practices that incorporates energy from the cosmos (right down to burying cows’ horns as an antenna for this energy), to herbal ground preparations, to composting. He believed that “food should be grown to nourish the mind, body, and spirit, and not just be stomach filler.” By 1928, the Demeter Association Inc. was formed in Europe to promote Biodynamic farming and a certification system was implemented. And in 1962, farmer Maria Thun devised a Biodynamic Full Circle Farm uses Biodynamic calendar, which was based practices to work toward a regenerative on a lifetime of planting farm ecosystem. Already organically experiments that resulted in certified, the owners plan to apply for proven patterns. Biodynamic certification in 2017. Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

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Every farmer and anthroposophist struggles with Steiner’s dense texts. And while my farmers-market spiel doesn’t include everything, it surely gets the conversation going. I hit the following key points: Biodynamic farmers view their farms as self-contained, self-sustaining ecosystems responsible for creating and maintaining their health and vitality without any external or unnatural additions. This ebb and flow of a self-serving unit uses on-farm recycling to improve the character of the farm for animals and crops. Farms minimize inputs for pest management. Water conservation is critical to a balanced operation. And specially prepared medicinal plants, minerals, and composted animal manures (known as “preps”) are applied to crops and lands as a means of improving vitality. Additionally, Biodynamic farms are required to maintain at least 10 percent of their total acreage as a “biodiversity set-aside,” which includes riparian zones, grasslands, and forests. Accountability, traceability, and transparency are starting to become critical concerns for large agricultural productions, but they’ve always been badges of honor for Biodynamic farms. The Demeter Biodynamic certification includes fourteen different standards, incorporating those for wine, cheese, olive oil, dairy, and body care products. These standards guarantee an unbroken chain of accountability from farm to the finished product. It’s the ability to show anyone how your operation works, that its existence is based on the purest rules, and that it yields a well-taken-care-of plant and a nourishing ingredient that sets Biodynamic farming apart. Demeter USA’s product We’re fortunate enough directory can be found online to have two certified at Biodynamicfood.org. operations in the Tetons, 14

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

serving both Jackson and Teton Valley: Cosmic Apple Gardens and Paradise Springs Farm. Additionally, Full Circle Farm practices under the tenets of holistic management, but is not yet certified. Cosmic Apple’s founder, Jed Restuccia, was the first person to bring Biodynamic practices to the area. In 1994, he began experimenting with preps. “The difference is apparent—it’s the best food anyone’s ever had,” he enthuses. Cosmic Apple’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program is a local tradition and a shared introduction to alternative agricultural practices. Farm owner Dale Sharkey explains: “We don’t try to force [Biodynamic farming] on people. The biggest thing we teach is that there are alternative methods to organic foods. The quality speaks for itself.” Erika Eschholz, founder of Full Circle Education and cofounder of Full Circle Farm, first learned about Biodynamic farming from Restuccia in 1997, while working at Cosmic Apple. “This holistic approach to agriculture immediately resonated with me as a complement to my background in environmental and earth education,” she says. Eschholz and her husband, Ken Michael, work their land in a way that is accessible to learners of all ages by providing opportunities for the community to connect with the natural world on their farm. At Paradise Springs Farm, my husband, Mike Reid, starts each day by checking Maria Thun’s calendar. First introduced to Biodynamic farming while studying botany and biology at Colorado State University, he now operates a 200-acre Biodynamic dairy farm at the base of the Big Hole Mountains. When asked what strikes him the most about Biodynamic practices, Mike responds, “Organic agriculture is fine, but it doesn’t present a practical system that encompasses all aspects. … Some of the things we do


on Biodynamic farms sound far-out, but in reality, it’s the best and easiest path to take for the long term.� There’s a growing market for Biodynamic foods. Demeter USA works with companies like Lundberg Family Farms, Amy’s Kitchen, Lakewood Juices, Zhena’s Teas, and others to match the consumer demand for products. As Elizabeth Candelario, codirector of Demeter USA, explains, “It’s absolutely unquestionable that the quality of product is there—terroir is not just for wine.� A rice farmer from Lundberg Family Farms describes his first Biodynamic crop as more varietal-accurate than any other crop he had ever had. “It’s good for us. It’s good for the farm. It tastes good,� he says.

As impossible as it all sounds—incorporating the power of cosmic energy, the planets’ placement, the requirements to meet certification, and the sheer intestinal fortitude it takes to be a farmer—the end result is sparkling. Local clairvoyant Carol Mann sums it up: “Scientists and metaphysical experts acknowledge that everything is energy. Food with a higher frequency totally enlivens the body, mind, and spirit. Plants absorb energy, plants communicate, have memory, and respond to their environment.� This type of integrity creates a higher quality for existence. In other words, you are what you eat. tf 1

BiodynamicsÂŽ is a registered trademark of the Biodynamic Association.

   

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SOCIAL MEDIA And the Secret Lives of Teens

M

y friend was shuttling her teenage kids between activities when she overheard a troubling conversation. They were talking about a teen they knew who posted a moving selfie on the app PHHHOTO. It showed the thirteen-year-old bringing a bottle of vodka back and forth to her lips. My friend found herself in a tricky position. Part of her wanted the girl’s parents to know. But part of her, also, did not want to betray her own children’s confidence. She opted to honor that bond, but she couldn’t help but feel unsettled. I’d never heard of PHHHOTO before, so I asked my fifteenyear-old about the app. Of course she had it. She also had Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and countless other apps that come and go in popularity. Have you heard of Whisper? Kik? Yik Yak or Omegle? I hadn’t. Some apps seem to have lasting power, like Snapchat and Instagram. Others come and go quickly. All of them lure teens into a private world where adults are not welcome. Peer connections have always been important to teenagers. Social scientists estimate that by early adolescence, more than 30 percent of children’s social interactions are with their peers. These friendships provide a personal support group for kids as they go through

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Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

puberty and experiment with becoming adults. While none of this is new, what is new is that much of their social networking is now done online rather than face-to-face. Laura Santomauro, a therapist and the owner of JH Family Solutions, says teens are addicted to the peer connections and affirmation they get through social media. On the plus side, social media allows teens to be creative and explore ideas and feelings that they may not be able to articulate in person. They can find people with similar interests and develop a broad network of friends that extends beyond the confines of their school. And they can tap into a hip, interconnected world ruled by teens. But on the flip side, social media allows teens to distort their images and live in a cyberworld instead of the real one. It pushes them to create personas designed to appeal to their peers, and it can expose them to hateful comments, bullying, or worse. “Teens, particularly girls, are very attentive to what they are putting out on social media,” says Travis Gay, a therapist with Teton Behavior Therapy. “They really like the ‘likes.’ It’s like getting a pat on the back [that reinforces the teen’s image of his or herself].” But is that image real? Or is it one that is carefully constructed and manipulated to portray what is trending as cool or beautiful?

Photo: Shutterstock - ponsulak

By Molly Absolon


Such distortion is easy. Some apps can remove blemishes and allow you to enhance your cheekbones. You can soften edges and make your eyes look bigger. Watch any teenage girl and notice the “perfected” selfie: They hold the camera at an angle, tilt their head just so, and pout. The looks are so prescribed it can be hard to differentiate one girl from another. But the connection found in such uniformity builds a bond and makes the girls feel pretty, sexy, and “in” … if they get enough likes, that is. Teenage boys manipulate their online images, too, but tend to post shots of themselves looking goofy or doing something athletic. They seem less prone to modifying their appearances to fit preconceived notions of what is hot. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t keeping track of their likes and carefully planning their images in the digital world. The problem is, “likes” aren’t a very nuanced way of gauging your impact on others. “The biggest concern I have with social media is how it affects social development,” says Santomauro. “We are designed in relation to one another. As a social mammal, I understand my behavior based on your reaction. It helps me develop an understanding of myself, my world, and how I impact others.” She explains that without being able to see the other person’s response to a post or text, teens miss an integral part of brain development because they cannot access the feedback. “In other words, I can text something that is hurtful,” she says, “but cannot see the hurt in your eyes or on your face, and I don’t have the regulatory guilt response to redirect my behavior. Therefore, I am more likely to do it again.” Being mean also isn’t new for teenagers. And while parents tend to be more aware of the potential for online cruelty, kids brush it off unless they have been targeted themselves. Most of us have a story of some horrible experience from our teenage years when people were mean. But the difference with Internet socialization is how quickly that meanness spreads and how easy it is for people to be hateful without facing their victims or signing their names. That ease also means they might never learn that such behavior is not OK. That’s where parents need to step in.

Gay explains that parents need to support their kids in navigating the online experience and have conversations, so their teens will come to them when problems happen. “We have the ability to demystify things and give kids some perspective,” she adds. We also have to acknowledge the importance of social media if we want them to listen to us, and there are tricks for doing so. One is to ask them to explain the different apps they use. Let them be the experts, walking you through how an app works and showing you what they like about it. Gay recommends using specific language: “My perspective is this, what is yours?” She encourages adults to avoid being judgmental and to seek understanding by talking in the abstract. “I ask about kids’ friends,” Gay says. “Often they are much more open to talking about what their friends are doing than what they are doing.” Ultimately, it’s about balance. “It’s important to recognize social media is a part of our kids’ lives. We have to respect that. But we also have to help them carve out time in their day when they put their devices away. As parents, we need to model this as well,” says Gay. She adds that parents should strive to find a middle ground on the subject of social media. Being at one end of the spectrum— either too strict or too permissive—tends to backfire. tf

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH SNAPCHAT? — Teens love Snapchat and use it daily. Snapchat allows them to send pictures, videos, and texts—or “Snaps”—that disappear once they are viewed. Snapchat is spontaneous.

Snapchat gives you a posse.

Snapchat’s spontaneity allows teens to be daring or silly because the

Snapchatters have followers, rather than friends. They can send Snaps

message will not haunt them later on. Connecting through instant

directly to a follower.

communication is the lure.

Photo: Shutterstock - kenary820

Snapchat tells a story. Snapchat is real time.

You can broadcast a “story,” made through a series of photos or videos.

Snapchatters can use “Chat” to text or “Here” to video chat.

Stories show up next to your name and are visible to your followers until they vanish 24 hours later.

Snapchat uses filters. You can change your appearance by applying filters to your Snaps. You can

Snapchat scores you.

put a cat on top of your head or switch your facial features with those of

Rather than “likes,” Snapchatters get a score. This score loosely

someone else.

corresponds to the number of snaps they have sent and received.

Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

17


OUT OF

Thin Air

Tweaks and Techniques for Baking at Altitude

18

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


Delivering More! By Annie Fenn // Photography by Paulette Phlipot

O

ne of the best things about mountain living is breathing that delicious high-altitude air. Low in pressure and humidity, crisp and clean, the air up here makes for light powder in the winter and never a muggy summer day. But as a baker, those same conditions do a number on your favorite recipes. Cakes crater in the middle, cookies spread like pancakes, brownies stick to the pan, and yeast breads rise too fast, ending up tough and dry. I’ll never forget the first time I baked in my tiny Jackson rental, elevation 6,400 feet. It was a beloved family recipe for pumpkin bread—the one I had cranked out perfectly since the age of ten. I watched in horror as it rose up out of the pan, toppled over the sides and onto the oven floor, and then collapsed. We still ate it, but it was enough to discourage me from baking at altitude entirely. Yet I didn’t want to give up just because I moved to the mountains. So, for the love of homemade pumpkin bread, I decided to outsmart the baking-at-altitude conundrum by taking a scientific approach. I measured carefully, followed recipes exactly, and made notes in a spiral binder dedicated to my baking projects. By adjusting my favorite recipes a little at a time—cutting back on baking soda here, adding flour there––my baked goods eventually emerged from my Teton-based oven just as good as they did at sea level. While achieving perfection at altitude took me some time, armed with a few tips (and a basic grasp of science) you, too, can bake in the mountains like a pro. tf

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"EVERYGENTLEWITHYEASTDOUGH'OFORALONGER COOLER SLOWER RISEANDDONTLETDOUGHMORETHANDOUBLEINSIZE&ORBREAD WITHATENDERCRUMB Â "READBAKER*EROD0FEFFERADVISES h'IVEITALITTLEMORETIMETOFERMENT4IMEBUILDSmAVORv

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Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

19


FALL HARVEST FOCACCIA ˆ

Makes two half-sheets (9 1/2 x 13-inch)

ˆ

This rustic flatbread benefits from a slow fermentation at altitude, with three rises.

ˆ

TO PROOF THE YEAST:

2 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast (not instant!) 1/4 cup warm water

ˆ FOR THE DOUGH:

2 1/4 3 7 1/2 1

cups water, plus 1 tablespoon (if needed) tablespoons olive oil for the dough, plus more for finishing cups, plus 6 tablespoons, all-purpose flour tablespoon fine sea salt or table salt Flaky sea salt for finishing

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RECIPE TWEAKS —

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Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

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LEMONY ALMOND YOGURT CAKE —

Makes one standard loaf or 3 small loaves

—

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cup all-purpose flour cup almond flour or meal teaspoon Kosher salt teaspoons baking powder cup plain whole-milk yogurt scant cup sugar (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) large eggs Zest of 2 lemons teaspoon almond extract teaspoon vanilla extract cup olive oil Butter and flour (for coating pan) cup pistachios, toasted and chopped (optional)

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— GLAZE:

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 3/4 cup confectioners sugar 1. Preheat oven to 350º F and place oven rack in the center position. 2. Coat the pans (either a standard loaf pan or smaller pans measuring 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch) with a generous amount of butter and dust with flour. 3. Place the all-purpose flour, almond flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk to combine. 4. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, almond and vanilla extracts, and olive oil. 5. Fold dry ingredients into the wet ones until combined. Scrape the batter into loaf pan(s) with a spatula and smooth over the top. 6. Bake for 50 minutes for the large loaf or 38 minutes for the smaller loaves, checking frequently. The cake is done when a skewer placed into its center comes out clean. If it’s wet, cook another 5 minutes and test again. 7. Place the cake on a rack to cool. 8. To make the glaze, place 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl and whisk in 3/4 cup confectioners sugar until smooth. Add lemon juice or sugar, as needed, to make a pourable frosting. 9. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides. Top with chopped pistachios (if desired).

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21


BIKE HIKE CAMP FISH CLIMB WATER ATHLETIC

THE ART OF

Pretend

Plus an Upcycled Halloween Cape Pattern By Andrea Swedberg // Photography by Camrin Dengel // Pattern by Chloë Brightman

“H

ellooo, Mama! And welcome to ‘Gnomesville’!” says my nine-year-old daughter, clad in her seriously red, gingham-lined hooded cape, layered upon a polka-dot sweater and watermelon leggings. On top of her head rests a handmade red felt hat with a heart tassel.` “In Gnomesville,” she carries on in her best English accent, “there is every type of gnome. I am a Baker Gnome.” And so it goes for about ten solid minutes. Her imagination continues to flow uninhibited, thought-for-thought, and I—very willingly—twirl myself up in her world; a world rich with the smell of fresh-baked cookies, crunchy fall leaves, and roaring bonfires. This is the inherent ingredient of childhood: imagination. The make-believe. Children possess the natural ability to act out the personas that reside in their minds. And the cape? Well, the cape gives them action. Fall—and most specifically Halloween—lends itself to imagination and creativity. At this time of year, we find ourselves, as parents, mixing up the ingredients needed to foster imaginary worlds. With this in mind, I turned to Victor, Idaho, seamstress and costume designer Chloë Brightman for her thoughts on pretend play, creativity, and crafting a cape from household materials. So, with the Halloween spirit looming in the rustling leaves, come with us to create a simple cape (instructions to follow) that will cloak your own little gnome or superhero. Teton Family: How would you describe what you make, and where do you find inspiration? Chloë Brightman: I like to take raw materials and turn them into something useful or beautiful. I love the process of turning a 2-D object (i.e., fabric) into something 3-D, with character and dimension. I start a project by identifying a need; then it often ends up encompassing more than originally planned. I can’t pinpoint any one source of inspiration … it comes from everywhere, really. Continually creating is my inspiration. TF: When did you learn the art of needle and thread? CB: My grandma taught me how to sew when I was about four. We started with doll blankets and clothing. She bought me my first sewing machine and over the years has given me immeasurable amounts of material and advice. She can sew anything! I still call her with sewing questions.

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TF: Did you always want to Above: Victor seamstress and costume designer Chloë Brightman create your own designs? CB: At the age of two, I went to poses outside her hometown the doctor wearing a red sweatsuit theatre, Pierre’s Playhouse. and a turquoise tutu, paired with cowboy boots and a towel pinned around my neck (mandatory cape). In middle school, I would take thrift-store finds, cut them up, and sew them back together to create fun “Frankenstein” outfits. I remember calling my mom in college to tell her I had changed my major to costume design. Her response was, “Finally! I can’t believe you didn’t just start there.” TF: Would you say that you make art or craft? Is there a difference? CB: Some projects are craft, but others are art. Generally, items that I make multiples of would be considered craft. One-of-a-kind creations would be more in the art realm. “Art” or “craft” can depend on my mood and intention while creating that particular something. TF: What percentage of your creations use recycled materials? CB: I grew up in a house where reusing something was not a question. Then, I pursued a degree in theatre. Theatre is hugely underfunded, so budget is one of the main factors for deciding what is put on stage. Creativity is maximized since you need to create something from nothing. TF: What is your thought on the idea of pretending? CB: In theatre, we don’t consider it “pretend.” You are trained as a theatre student to get into character. Your practice is to actually “become” that person. tf


HOW TO MAKE A HALLOWEEN CAPE FROM AN OLD T-SHIRT —

Jackson Hole Classical Academy

Materials:

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T-shirt

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Ruler

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Scissors

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Steps: 1 ,AYA4 SHIRTOUTONATABLE mAT ANDSMOOTH FRONTSIDEDOWN

Classical Education. Revolutionary School. 2

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“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.�

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Decorate your cape: 

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Visit www.jhclassical.org to apply or to schedule a tour.

SEWINGSKILLS 

5SEBUTTONS BEADS SEQUINS GLITTER GLUE STICKYFELT ORFABRIC PAINTTODECORATETHECAPE



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25


y a H g n i k a M WHILE THE

SUN SHINES

Two families that can’t wait until fall 26

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


By Christina Shepherd McGuire Photography by Ryan Dorgan ountain towns are so typical … at least to those familiar with the scene. People move in or grow up here, develop an ingrained fervor for anything outdoorsy, and land a seasonal job that barely pays the bills. Then, after several years of just scraping by, they either abandon the lifestyle for less-thangreener pastures or hunker down, committed to making their passions their life’s work. I guess you could say that those who stick it out here—in a seasonal economy more fickle than the mountain weather—really want it. Or maybe they just got stuck in a rut (albeit a good rut to get stuck in). I caught up with two families that made economic success stories out of what were once just seasonal summer jobs.

M

And while, arguably, they just can’t wait for the downtime, it’s the “go time” that feeds their souls.

A Hard Rock Life When I first called Dana Mackenzie, owner of Mackenzie Masonry, to interview him and his two sons, Gary and Max, his tentative response was, “The boys are a bit cranky.” “Why?” I asked. Left: Frank (left) and Patty Ewing (right) started Barker-Ewing Whitewater with the Barker family in 1963. Today, their daughter, Heather Ewing, keeps the company afloat and thriving. Right: Dana Mackenzie (center) has worked alongside his sons, Max (left) and Gary (right), since the boys were young. Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

27


“Well—because ski season just ended, and they have to go back A few years later, Above: Dana Mackenzie of Mackenzie Masonry to work, of course,” he said. he went to work for stacks stone while working on a home south of I understood completely. The last thing Gary and Max wanted his step-uncle, Brent Wilson. to talk about during the “letdown season” was how they bust their Hammond, who butts all summer for their family’s masonry company, specializing dabbled in masonry. Right: Gary Mackenzie works on a piece of in custom decorative stonework. Brent started out laying stone to finish up a porch. I’ve known the Mackenzie family for—let’s say—twenty years, cinder blocks on the and I like to tease that when I first met Gary (thirty-three), Max ends of potato shelters and then branched out into rock art, teaching (thirty), and Kelly (twenty-three), they were barely out of diapers. himself how to build stone fireplaces. One summer, when Dana’s I spent my summer weekends at their camper enclave on Palisades hours were cut to part time after he asked for a raise, he decided to Reservoir—wakeboard in hand—hoping the Mackenzies would branch out on his own. He bought himself a turquoise pickup truck, give me a tow behind their boat. Dana would show up late to a wheelbarrow, and a trowel—determined to make it in rock art. camp on Friday night. His eyes were glazed from his sixty-hour So, with stovepipes around their legs (to fend off potential workweek, but the party didn’t start until he got there. I put them snakebites), Dana and his wife, Deb, collected rocks near Hell’s on a pedestal—this hardworking Half Acre for his first real job family that played equally as in Jackson. And, in 1983, he hard—hoping that someday my hooked up with a partner to run a husband and I could replicate “It didn’t matter if it snowed three feet anymore. successful business for twenty-five their lifestyle. years. “That was officially the end I had entered the real world at a time when of my ski bumming,’’ says Dana. You see, entrepreneurship is Jackson was going bonkers.” in Dana’s blood. At the age of “I had two kids and a beautiful twelve, he remembers picking – Dana Mackenzie wife. … It didn’t matter if it rocks from the fields on the “lower snowed three feet anymore. I had eighty” of his family’s 160 acres entered the real world at a time that straddled the Wyoming-Idaho line. They were a ski family when Jackson was going bonkers.” from Sun Valley that migrated to the Tetons well before Grand Today, Mackenzie Masonry has three bosses (Dana and his two Targhee Resort took root. sons) and a revolving door of employees that they hold to high “Just about anytime there weren’t ranch chores to do, guess where standards—standards they were all taught as kids. The three men you ended up? Picking up rocks,” Dana recalls. He remembers go back and forth explaining the ethic and pride they aim to instill thinking (pitchfork in hand), “What if we could just turn these in those who work for them. “There’s a certain way that [artistic into money?” rockwork] needs to be done,” says Gary. “It’s the difference between 28

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


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Ea

Trea

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having a Sara Lee box cake and going to a real baker.” Gary and Max both agree that working in the family business has taught them a level of forward-thinking and problem solving that cannot be learned in the classroom. “This is our college education,” says Gary. To that Max adds, “Some people may call it old-school [to work in a family business] and some may call [it] rare,” but what they have is special because they can provide an art form that many others don’t have the talent or know-how to do. It’s apparent that the struggles of running a dynamic jobsite every day take a toll on these men. Still, the family unit is unwavering and proud. “I have drug these guys through the college of masonry,” explains Dana. “What it has brought to them and my family is confidence and a compassion for fellow humans that can’t be taught, only experienced. When I look at them now as young men, I personally couldn’t be prouder.” Deb admits that all three of the men take so much pride in their work that their daily pressure is amplified. Still—as I learned when I first met them—it’s the collective head on this family’s shoulder that knows when to let its hair down. “Max and I get up at 5:30 a.m.,” says Gary. “We make coffee, pack lunch, sometimes spend two to three hours commuting on top of an eight-hour work day. All you really want to do when you get home is relax, but you almost always have to just take a run or walk to shut it off.” To find balance, the boys save enough money over the summer to skate (or ski) through the winter season. They are both regional ambassadors for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, trading photo sessions for season passes. They attend regional big-mountain ski competitions and enjoy lift-accessed, backcountry, and snowmobileaccessed skiing. “We like to live in the moment,” says Max. “Skiing is a good way to take your mind off of masonry [or anything that might be

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29


putting weight on our shoulders].” And while they all agree that there’s many a lost night of sleep in this business, it’s the hard play and the solid family values that make it all worth it.

Ewing Scenic Tours was Heather and Frank Ewing reminisce inside the Barker-Ewing Whitewater boathouse in east born in 1963. Heather’s not really Jackson. sure whose bright idea it was, but in the early ’70s, Frank, Patty, Dick, Barbara, and Not Just Floating By two veteran guides dropped into the Snake River Canyon for an “Timing is everything,” says Heather Ewing of Barker-Ewing exploratory run and an “aha” moment. On this first whitewater Whitewater, as she speaks about the pioneering of the guided trip—in a nonarmy-issue boat with twenty-foot ash oars—they got boating industry. fully worked in a massive hydraulic. “Everyone was wet and cold, Whitewater rafting wasn’t even a concept in the early days, and and the men were scooping up the ladies and relocating them in no one foresaw the tourist boom that would overtake the region. the boat for counterweight,” says Heather. They managed to clear But Heather’s father, Frank Ewing—founder of their family the feature without upsetting their boat, but broke all three oars. business and the first-ever river boss for the Grand Teton Lodge Today, this Class V reversal named Company—was more than in the Three Oar Deal Rapid is one they right place at the right time. look out for when running the “He was green as green can be,” canyon. And despite the scare, the she says of her father, who ran “They started out with no life jackets. experience nudged them enough guided tours on the Snake River People wore top hats and to add whitewater rafting to their in the late 1950s, “but he tackles were dressed to the nines!” commercial offerings. everything with 110 percent.” In Barker-Ewing Whitewater— fact, his first blind date with wife – Heather Ewing with a season solely reliant on Patty included a ski on Mount Mother Nature—offers scenic Glory and square dancing at float trips, scenic trips with meals, overnight trips, and whitewater night (I guess he hoped she could keep up). And keep up she did rafting trips. But when they shove it all into four and a half months as, years later, this schoolteacher fully supported Frank’s decision of summer, it’s only natural to question the lifestyle. “It’s not a handto guide on his own. over-fist, moneymaking thing,” says Heather. She explains that “It was so small and organic back then,” Heather says of the times. while they make their money in the summer, they also hope the “They started out with no life jackets. People wore top hats and phone rings in the winter. The company operates under the same were dressed to the nines!” The couple later met Dick and Barbara permits that it did in the ’70s, keeping the real estate tight and the Barker, and, with no real vision (according to Heather), Barker30

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


need to come up with creative trip offerings essential for survival. It’s challenging to keep the pocketbook afloat during the offseason, too. “In 1985, we leased our whitewater shuttles to Start Bus [in the winter],” says Heather. She explains how they built ski racks for the shuttles transporting skiers from town to Teton Village and back. If there was a maintenance issue, Frank would work nights at the boathouse making sure the shuttles would go. Frank also moonlighted as the ski director at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Today, the company employs only three year-round staff, 95 percent of their shuttle drivers are also school bus drivers, and a few of their guides are teachers. As for Heather, she also runs a property management business where you’ll find her doing fieldwork or fixing something. Last season, she got on the river only once. “You do what you have to do to be in this place,” she says. “This unique community collaboration is what keeps the wheels turning.” Growing up on the river taught Heather the value of this area. “There is a limitless world out your doorstep that gives back to you infinitely,” she says. This sentiment is apparent in every trip BarkerEwing offers. It’s a sentiment that keeps tourists grasping for the dangling carrot once they return home. And sometimes it’s the trip that hooks them on the area’s lifestyle. “My goal is to give that person a great experience so that they want to do it again,” says Heather. And she’s completed her goal—time and time again—because while many go back to their desk jobs only to dream about their trip, there are also those who return because the experience altered their life. I suppose I might be one of them. And maybe you are, too. Because despite the hardships we all endure to finally “make it” here, we were able to stick it out—as the bug was much bigger than the bite. tf

every day during my recovery.

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Explore fine art depicting humanity’s relationship with nature dating back to 2500 BC.

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D e c oding t he

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Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016


By Sue Muncaster // Photography by Bradly J. Boner

Victor Elementary School first-grade teacher Sarah Granado organizes her class into small “publishing houses” and uses mentor texts to push their writing to higher levels. Fall 2016 ¤ Teton Family

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“T

he federal government is telling our teachers what to teach.”

“Education is being dumbed down.” “It’s too hard, and there’s too much high-stakes testing.” “We don’t have the resources; teachers will leave.” “It’s a leftist agenda.”

As with anything revolutionary, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are highly debated. Now fully adopted in both Wyoming and Idaho, as well as in forty-two other states, the real impact of these standards will not be known for several years. And I certainly have my own opinions. As a parent of a second-grader who transferred from Victor Elementary in Idaho to Jackson Elementary this past March, and of a freshman at Journeys School (who had spent seven years in public schools), sorting through the facts to present a coherent argument was more than just an assignment for me. It was my mission.

Education Advancement

Standards define what a student should have mastered by the end of each grade. The No Child Left Behind Law—a 2002 update of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—required that each state adopt content standards in core subject areas. But because they were developed at the state level, the standards varied across the nation in content, rigor, and definition of student proficiency. The CCSS— spearheaded by the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and a wide range of stakeholders—were developed to define a consistent, clear progression of what students 34

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

should know in English Victor Elementary first-grader Maggie Language Arts (ELA) Schultheis (left) enlists the help of Ellie and Math for grades Schumacher (center) and Olivia Cherry to share kindergarten through ideas about their how-to pieces. twelve. However, curriculum choices and instructional methods are determined at the local level, and state adoption of the CCSS is not mandatory. “The misperception of how the [CCSS] were set is unfortunate,” says Monte Woolstenhulme, Teton County, Idaho, school district superintendent. While much of the public thinks the standards follow a national curriculum, it’s actually the districts that plan their own strategies. “The biggest challenge was that the individual districts were initially left on their own to figure out the curriculum and assessments at a time when we were hit with major budget cuts,” he explains. Contrary to popular belief, the intent of the CCSS is to help students become problem solvers, critical thinkers, creators, and innovators, rather than just memorizers and repeaters. Additionally, the standards insist that all teachers in all subjects share responsibility for developing students’ literacy skills. The CCSS highly support differentiated instruction. And students at different levels can choose (with teacher guidance) their own ways to learn, ways to demonstrate what they have learned, and ways to progress at their own pace. Students are also allowed to explore subjects that resonate with them, giving them ownership of their own learning.

The Big Rollout

Idaho adopted the CCSS in 2009 under the name Idaho Core Standards and began implementing them in 2013. Wyoming adopted the CCSS in July 2012, with a goal of implementation in


2014. But it wasn’t until 2015 that CCSS-aligned math was taught in Wyoming, countywide. Curricula—the instructional methods and materials used to deliver instruction—differ, as states, districts, and schools adjust them to fit the standards. According to Teton County, Wyoming, Superintendent Gillian Chapman, “In K through five, we have specific curricula [such as Lucy Calkins for ELA and EngageNY math]. … In middle and high school, teacher teams, principals, instructional coaches, and consultants have worked to align our instructional program to the standards, which includes selecting common instructional materials as our district curriculum.” Teton County, Idaho, also uses Lucy Calkins and EngageNY math in elementary school, as well as a variety of other curricula. And at the upper levels, the district is working toward alignment in much the same way as Wyoming, with professional development workshops, resources provided by the State Department of Education, leadership networks, and direction from regional specialists. Superintendent Woolstenhulme says, “We saw a big shift in resources—teaching is no longer textbook-driven, but is structured to use a variety [of resources] to reach students, including the Internet and leveraging local community experts.”

What’s Up with the Math?

Reso

It’s the math curriculum that has caused parents and teachers the most heartburn. Every educator interviewed for this article expressed frustration over parents confusing “the curriculum” with “the standards” (which is easy to do when your kid’s EngageNY math homework says “Common Core” on the bottom). “It’s definitely not math the way we learned it. It took a long time, but now I see how it addresses different learning styles and makes everyone understand multiple ways of getting to the same answer,” says Victor mom Janene Witherite. Another local mother, Leslie Heineman, says, “It’s a good way to pull in kids who learn from a different perspective, but for [my fourth-grade son], it gets really repetitive and boring. I worry about keeping the fire going.” Sarah Granado, a first-grade teacher at Victor Elementary, lends her opinion: “As a student who struggled with abstract mathematical concepts, I remember complaining loudly, ‘When am I ever going to use this?’ My students will never be able to say that. They solve an ‘application problem’ each day and are even asked to write their own.” u rce s

Parent Resources: s

What Parents Should Know about Common Core Standards: corestandards.org/what-parents-should-know

s

Parents’ Guide to Student Success In Common Core: pta.org/ parents/content.cfm?ItemNumber=2583

Math Homework Support: s

Khan Academy: khanacademy.org/commoncore

s

EngageNY Homework Help (videos for EVERY assignment): oakdale.k12.ca.us/ENY_Hmwk_Intro_Math

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YouCubed (Stanford University): Resources for Parents: youcubed.org/parents

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Principal Megan Bybee of Rendezvous Upper Elementary in Driggs, Idaho, has seen a definite improvement in equity, alignment, and progression of skills that she attributes to the CCSS. “I love EngageNY,” she says. “When you look at the data, we have more students now proficient in math skills than I have ever seen. I am so excited to have kids come into school next year with a couple years of EngageNY as a baseline.” Individual schools seem to be working out their own ELA curriculum, which concerns Teton County, Idaho, school board member Nan Pugh. “We were in the midst of budget cuts and the district was left to figure out a curriculum based on minimal training. At times, what teachers created and modified looked different in each classroom.”

Alignment and Execution

In Teton County, Wyoming, many teachers expressed a general discontent with the lack of resources, training, and direction, leaving them with the responsibility to interpret the standards and invent curriculum on their own. One teacher says, “CCSS leaves so much to interpretation, it’s hard to see how that is viable and consistent from classroom to classroom. We are scrambling for resources and have smart people who paid attention, but curriculum, so far, has been a moving target.” Victor’s Granado paints a different picture. “When I first started teaching reading to first-graders thirteen years ago, my focus was on decoding. I felt that my students needed to be able to figure 36

Teton Family ¤ Fall 2016

out the words and Granado gives instruction to her first-grade read fluently. … Deep class at Victor Elementary. comprehension was left to the grades above. Now, I am delighted with the intelligent way my readers think. They compare books about the same topic. They track characters in a series. … They read and talk about books in analytical ways. … Granted, this happens at different levels, but they are all expected to grow these skills.” A major challenge for all schools is the expectation that CCSS are implemented across all subject areas. Jackson Hole High School Principal Scott Crisp explains, “By high school, we are not used to making kids better readers, but that was our school-wide goal this year across all subject areas. Aligning to Common Core means developing an ‘academic vocabulary’ and being able to identify evidence in text to justify an answer.” And what about differentiated instruction and how the CCSS impact special-needs and English-language learners (ELLs)? Granado says, “When I switched over to a workshop model for language arts, it did wonders for my student engagement. Because students are allowed to read and write at their own ‘good fit’ level, they are not forced to endure instruction that doesn’t apply to them.” Superintendent Woolstenhulme believes the CCSS are “driving teachers and empowering students beyond regurgitation and route learning.” When visiting classrooms, he now sees improvement. “It’s not just what you know, but how well you can share and communicate it,” he says. Granado agrees: “One [good] thing


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Wyoming: Pursuant to the Wyoming Accountability in Education Act, districts are required to administer assessments to all students in the appropriate grade levels and may not allow students to opt out, or their parents to opt them out, of the assessments provided by law.

Idaho: Idaho Code 32-10-12 allows parents to make choices that

Jim Litt April N Jenny F Layne Cecelia

affect their children’s education, and opting out is one of them. However, if a school goes below the 95 percent participation rate mandated by the federal government, it could jeopardize district funding.

about CCSS is that the responsibility is transferred to the students to be teachers. This occurs in all subjects in my classroom now. … Today, I even watched a writing partner help revise and edit his partner’s poem.” She says ELLs and special-needs kids also take part in this “teaching” and that all students are now thriving in an environment where they feel valued.

The - Dare I Say It - Tests

Classroom and district assessments inform teachers how well students are succeeding, while statewide, or summative, assessments give a broader look at how they compare nationwide. The federal government requires all states to test students annually in grades three through eight and only once in high school in reading, language arts, and math. However, students must be tested in science once in each grade. And while none of the tests are specifically mandated by the CCSS, state Departments of Education and local districts determine which ones are given. Idaho has joined twenty other states in adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), a summative test developed by a state-led consortium. Currently available for grades three through eight, and for grade eleven, it fully aligns with the CCSS and is designed to address long-standing concerns (historically, standardized tests measured the ability to memorize facts, rather than critical thinking and applied knowledge). The SBAC is “computer-adaptive,” meaning that a student who answers a question correctly will receive a more challenging question, while an incorrect answer generates an easier one. This method is designed to provide a more engaging experience, be more time-efficient, and—especially for low- or high-achieving students—produce more accurate results. The SBAC is also designed to eliminate visual, auditory, and physical access barriers for students with disabilities, so they are essentially able to take the same test as their peers. And it provides tools to help ELLs demonstrate their knowledge, regardless of English proficiency. The first SBAC was taken as a “field test” in Idaho in the spring of 2014. Wyoming will administer the state-developed Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) test in the 2016-17 school year, and is in the process of choosing a CCSS-aligned test that will be implemented in 2017-18. Currently, both districts use the formative test, MAP (Measures of Academic Progress). And while it’s not totally aligned with the CCSS, it’s designed to inform teachers where students are at the time of the test and to help develop growth goals and instructional strategies for the

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Victor Elementary first-grade students use story maps as a plan to write their realistic fiction stories.

It’s yet to be seen if the more rigorous standards, backed by rigorous assessments, will prove the naysayers’ prediction. I’d contend that it’s not the results or volume of testing that makes us uncomfortable, but rather the amount of time spent “teaching to the test.� Principal Bybee balks at this idea. “We don’t need to. If the tests are adequately and appropriately aligned to the standards, and we are meeting the standards, our students should do well.� She feels that the writing requirement is excessive, but understands where it comes from. “If you are expected to write twenty pages in college, you have to be able to pull off one paragraph in fourth grade,� Bybee says.

The Be - All and End- All

coming year. At the high school level, benchmark exams are given throughout the year, and the ACT Aspire and ACT are still the summative tests for upperclassmen.

So, How High Are the Stakes?

The “suburban mom� outcry against the CCSS is blamed on the fear that with a new system and a new way of scoring, students would not perform as well as they did historically. There is no way to compare new scores with old ones or compare states taking different tests.

What do I know? Last spring we took our family to South America for one month in January. An inch-thick packet of EngageNY worksheets (to keep our first-grader, Nico, up to date) weighed us down. But once we got the hang of it, the homework sessions began to fly by. “If I know it in a snap, my teacher says I don’t have to do all the explaining,� Nico insisted. Three weeks after returning to the Tetons, we moved over the hill and enrolled him in Jackson Elementary. His new class was within a couple weeks of the exact same math lessons, and the spelling and writing workshop processes were almost identical.

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This made the transition seamless. In early April, I noticed Nico wasn’t completing the “please explain� portion of his daily math homework. “If it’s on the test, I’ll explain it,� he said. “Do you talk about the tests at school?� I asked, knowing that the end-of-year assessments were a couple weeks out. “Yeah, that’s pretty much all we practice,� he said. And my heart dropped. But not ten minutes later—after he whipped through a Fly Guy book I know I couldn’t read until third grade—he started telling me the intricate plot of the story he was writing. It was about three friends who fell into a crevasse “as thick as a car� in the Alps and dug their way out through tunnels with hammers. An informal survey of his classmates was also reassuring. Thirteen out of fourteen kids liked presenting their work to their peers, saying it made them feel proud, it was motivating, and they got to help out by being the teacher. Locally, Teton County, Idaho, recently hired a curriculum assessment director, and both districts look forward to continued improvements for teachers’ professional development, with the sharing of open-source resources and collaboration within districts, across districts, and across the country. Many argue that the paradigm shift to deeper learning for all students will take a generation, or even more. But is it really the curriculum, the district, the funding, or the teachers that will determine whether our students succeed? Superintendent Woolstenhulme says (and volumes of research support this), “Of course we take ownership of quality teachers and curriculum, but the biggest factor in student success is a stable, supportive family—we can do amazing things with that partnership.� tf

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Some people say that a blank page is art but I think complexity is enticing intricacy is elegant and while simplicity may be essential sometimes I find beauty in the twisting limbs of gnarled trees and in chaotic rivers singing and shouting at the sky is better than silence and nothingness


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