This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own
It’s been a long time since I was in school. When I attended Springdale High School 35+ years ago, the front lobby was the hub of communication and general meeting spot for early morning discussions. If you needed to call anyone, you used the pay phones on the wall. Class started at eight and ended at three. For research, the Encyclopedia Brittanica or the library, either at school or in town, was the go-to source . Typewriters were the fastest way to write your term papers and I still miss the click, click, click of the keys followed by the distinctive ding when you reached the far side of your paper. You saved your work by putting it in your 3-ring binder.
Times have changed and technology has definitely changed. I experienced this first hand when I visited the Don Tyson School of Innovation (DTSOI) in Springdale, Arkansas.
Named in honor of the late Don Tyson of Tyson’s Foods, the school is bursting with curriculum involving science, technology, engineering, and math or STEM classes. These classes were developed by local teachers and business leaders to prepare students for life outside of the classroom.
The school is designed to be open and adaptable to any size class. Movable tables and chairs can be arranged accordingly. Some classes can be tucked in a corner enclave
while larger groups can occupy separate learning stations.
Smaller ‘think tanks’ are used for working on specific projects
and larger working labs are scattered throughout the building.
Not only does the school offer basic classes, it has paired up with the University of Arkansas, NW Arkansas Community College (NWACC) and Northwest Technical Institute (NTI) to provide students with a wide variety of academic and technical choices.
For example, the University of Arkansas is sponsoring the popular robotics program. NWACC works with students who are interested in taking classes for college credit, and NTI is partnering with the school to offer diesel mechanics, welding, and certified nursing certificates to name a few. These variety of choices provide the students with options other than college or allow them to graduate high school with an Associate of Arts or Science degree.
I was particularly fascinated by the hydroponics operation they have on campus.
Housed in a small trailer on campus, the school is experimenting with several varieties of lettuce, spinach, kale, and swiss chard.
If you are not into agriculture, construction classes from birdhouses (which are painted by the talented art students,)
to storage buildings are being made.
For those students interested in building a drone, they have a class for that as well. Using specific software to design their project, a 3-D printer is used to make the final product.
Need a shoe? Design and make it right in class.
Here, let me give you a hand.
This amazing school is part of the Springdale School district but any student in the state of Arkansas (including homeschoolers) are eligible to attend by enrolling in the online school. DTSOI also offers a flexible, hybrid learning option which is a combination of attending class on campus while taking additional classes online. There is no fee for any of the traditional classes and a small fee for the college classes.
For students attending public schools, the deadline to enroll for the 2017-2018 school year is May 1, 2017. This deadline does not apply to homeschoolers and they may apply at any time. If you would like more information about the Don Tyson School of Innovation, please visit their Facebook page or website at http://soisdale.org
I, for one, can’t help but compare the difference in learning to when I was a student. I’m not going to throw away my encyclopedias yet, but when I think about these students being our future leaders, I feel better about the world.