Our Opinion: Students share vision of academy concept

A group of middle school students have completed a project that may influence the future of education in the Jefferson City Public Schools.

Seventh-graders in math and science integration classes as Lewis and Clark Middle School created models based on the academy concept.

The academy concept is designed to enhance high school education by bringing together students who have similar interests and career goals. The academies focus on specific interests, including fine arts, science, math, technology, social sciences, physical education, etc.

The local public school district began exploring the concept two years ago, when Superintendent Brian Mitchell formed a 40-member committee to study the future of secondary education.

The committee advanced three options: creating two separate high schools; expanding the existing high school campus; and combining the existing facility with satellite locations.

A virtue of the class project at Lewis and Clark is tapping the creativity and vision of middle school students, who soon will be part of the high school experience.

The students familiarized themselves with the academy concept with guidance from their teachers – Kate Leary and Christina Kirchner. They also learned about the range of classes and instruction each academy might offer.

The task for the students then was to create practical scale models consistent with the educational goals of the academy concept.

Those models were presented to school officials and the Board of Education last week. We find this class project to be mutually instructive. Students were given an opportunity to help shape the future of local secondary education and district officials will benefit from the students’ perspective and vision. Learning from each other through sharing is a fundamental component of education.

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