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Free As An Eagle--Eagle Tech Students Gain New Independent Study Block

Eagle Tech students complete excess work during their new independent study block. (Courtesy Photo)

By Kevin Compton--Eagle Staff Writer

This year is the first time seniors will be attending 12th grade in the Eagle Tech program, and with it, they are introducing a new block.

Conjoined with their science block, Eagle Tech students will have a time of independent study. During this period, seniors will be able to work on any individual work, from extra practice to studying for tests.

"It is a culminating learning experience that allows students to showcase their growth while in the New Tech program," Slone Lang, director of Eagle Tech, said.

The facilitators believe that the class will be a unique chance for the seniors to develop and showcase many skills.

"It is an opportunity for seniors to apply their strengths to design, implement, and complete a project based on their passions, interests, and/or future career choice... They are [to be] more confident communicators, embrace challenges, and responsive to community needs," said Slone Lang.

The change is welcomed by students and staff alike, as it has been shown that this method works, and even improves the mental health of students practicing it.

“Free time allows our middle schoolers to take a break from their academic schedule and breathe. They can use the moment to reflect about their last class or simply connect with another student,” wrote Nicholas Maldonado, Arthur Morgan school facilitator, who did research for the above article.

The facilitators believe it will enable them to work on some of their needed areas.

"In order to ensure that all of our students are prepared for life after graduation, New Tech @ Gereau and Eagle Tech facilitators help students develop project management skills that include, but are not limited to, organization, time management, communication, and problem solving," Lang explained.

The students will be also be making many active steps towards exploring what they care about, as they will also be completing an overarching project throughout the year.

Students will be working on many goals throughout the class to better themselves, which Lang began to describe below.

"[Students will] explore who they are and what they care about; create a post-secondary plan and take action steps toward it; identify a need they see in the world, research the topic’s current status, and find new solutions; design and implement a service-learning project based on a local need; explain and justify how they are prepared for life after graduation due to the skills developed through the New Tech experience," she listed.

There will be measures to ensure the time is not wasted, and instead used to work on themselves or their own goals.

"There will also be the expectation that students help hold their peers accountable by referencing the norms. If a pattern develops, a plan of action will need to be established," added Lang.

Regardless, Eagle Tech teachers are not concerned about it being much of an issue based on their beliefs and past encounters.

"My experience has been that students who are not given the opportunity to be authentically engaged in their learning are the ones who tend to exhibit off-task behaviors," Lang said.

The work time will be used to cover any topic students want, so it's assumed that they will keep themselves preoccupied.

"Students will be exploring and researching real-world topics of their choice therefore leading to more active engagement," said Lang.

Teachers say they are are confident this will work out in a favorable manner for everyone.

"I cannot wait to see their capstone presentations. More importantly, I cannot wait for others to see how prepared our students are for their futures," Lang concluded.

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