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One Month Already

posted Sep 3, 2012, 1:11 PM by Michael Reilly
Time flies when you're having fun, so we must be having the time of our lives!

I'm not saying the first month of school was the most wonderful thing ever, we had plenty of challenges and long days.  But the point is, we can't believe that we've already finished four weeks of school!

Here are some stories from our month:
Almost 80 9th grade students joined us with CDAT, almost double last year, and almost triple year 1.  While we thought we knew so much from two years of experience, 80 students is a whole new set of logistics.  It's even more of a challenge in that we only have each subject-area teacher for two periods, so flexibility and scheduling can be complex.  But we did it, settled it down.  We should find out next week how our first common assessments in Science compare.  The group is fairly representative of the school, but we will try to be exact in our comparisons.  We started off with learning about movie production and special effects, and now we are going to head into music technology and photo editing.  The kids learned how frustrating it can be to work in a group, and so we will work on how to plan and communicate for a better product.  In short, a great start.

Our 40+ 10th graders are an amazing group.  They all finished on time, and delivered some cool products.  While not all judging is done, one group had a project from last year win "Excellence in Media" at the International Student Media Festival, and we anticipate even more from this year.  Some of the students are also interested in taking the lead in establishing various ventures:  our inaugural FIRST FRC Robotics team, some video business possibilities, and more.  The interests are diverse, but they have interests and that's what matters.

Finally, our 11th grade group.  They are on a quest to be entrepreneurial from the start.  We have evaluated various online educational tools, and we see an opportunity.  By the end of this week, we should have some prototypes for products that will eventually go online to generate real revenue.  This is a new approach to learning for real entrepreneurs, and that will also begin this week.  We have multiple entrepreneurs that are very interested in having students work "virtually", from the school, and report to the entrepreneur along the way.  We will get the students out to the workplaces as well, but the move toward working "remotely" is a realistic option for our students.

Some other cool news: we have applied to a STEM Program initiative from the State of Georgia, demonstrating our unique approach to teaching Science and Technology so others could follow our lead.  This follows the Autodesk University request to be a presenter at their national conference, as well as a nice mention in Suzie Boss' new book about PBL, Bringing Innovation to School. I think we're doing something right!

We will have some amazing products developed this year, can't wait to see what they are.  Thanks to all for your support and participation, kids are enjoying school AND learning (both core academics AND relevant technology).