Ken Sinapius is the Director of the ABLE (Adventure Based Learning Experiences) Program at Delaware Valley Friends School. He teaches ABLE courses to all middle and upper school grades. Some are extended trips such as sailing in the Florida Keys, hiking the Inca trails in Peru, or bike touring in Maryland. Others are a series of individual days closer to home including rock climbing and local ropes courses. In the middle school, the ABLE curriculum takes the form of team-building, orienteering outings and experiential education days during the year. Ken has been teaching at DVFS for 14 of his 30 total years of teaching experience. Most of his career has been spent working with students who learn differently.
Q: Why do you like teaching at DVFS?
DVFS has espoused the values of experiential education and kinesthetic learning from its very beginning. The ABLE Director was one of the first positions filled when the school first opened. What more could an outdoor education specialist ask for? As the school and the program have grown, we have been able to include more offerings, including international courses. I can't wait to see what comes next!
Q: How do you help students with learning differences learn?
Beyond what you hopefully learned in the sandbox - how to share nicely and to get along with others - the next important things for everyone to learn are teamwork, leadership and self-confidence. I believe these are essential elements for everyone, and students with learning differences who are strong in these three areas will have what they need to succeed in life.
Q: What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
It is not unique that I learned a lot from past mistakes, but my talent is being willing to watch and allow students to make mistakes and guide them to realize their own mistakes and learn from them. I have accompanied many groups down the wrong trail and eaten a lot of dinners that didn't go as planned.
Q: In your experience, what sets DVFS students apart?
In my experience, what sets DVFS students apart is their appreciation of the people and programs here at DVFS. It is true that the appreciation often doesn't come until late in their high school years, but the fact that they have it before graduation puts them years ahead of students in other schools.