WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH)–For the first summer ever, Westerville City Schools is investing in programming focused on students’ passions. The money comes from the pandemic relief fund.
The course catalog is one based on passion projects. Basically, what are students interested in and what do they not get to experience during the school year?
The idea utilizes staff who are not teachers. For example, the bus fleet manager Shawn Dawson is taking on a new role as an instructor.
“To be able to see oh this is how you change a tire this is how you hook a truck and a trailer up or jump start a car, things we would want our kids to know,” he explained.
Dawson is steering the automotive life skills for the Summer Ignite programming. He says it’s an opportunity to instruct and mentor.
“They’re used to coming in sitting down in their chair and here they’re operating air tools and seeing buses up in the air and getting to do things they’ve never done before,” he said comparing your typical day of class to what they’re doing now.
There’s podcasting, fossils, poetry, and forensics for students to dig into.
Caley Nestorbaker who spearheaded the program said it’s about fun and much more.
“They’re coming together and connecting with each other over their shared interest and building those new friendships and that is as important as the material that they learn,” she said.
There are one and two week long programs that were created with students input.
“There are a lot of standards we have to cover in school, but they don’t cover everything in the world there is a lot of interest we really don’t get to touch on all that much during the school year.”
Dawson said he’d like to do this more and show students what is possible.
“I’d like to see that more often once every nine weeks. Have a group of kids come in at least give a few hours to explain what opportunities there are out there in the world when they leave the high school setting.”
The program costs about $45,000 to put on and is being funded by pandemic relief money.
It is first come first serve and student may be placed on a waiting list for programs in case an opening becomes available.
Those involved hope this is something they can do again next summer as well.