Posted by: reneewildes1 | January 23, 2012

HS – How Times Have Changed

We’ve been looking at high schools for Joshua, and it’s come into play how schools have changed from when WE were kids to now. He’s been looking at an alternative charter school called Wausau EGL (Engineering & Global Leadership) Academy, which occupies one SMALL eastern wing of Wausau East. Now, my husband is a hard-core traditionalist, and is resistant. But I’m hoping the Parents’ Open House on the 30th will convince him that this might be a good fit for our son.

With his ADHD, he’s not the kind of kid who does well sitting in a classroom having a teacher yap at him all day. When Josh & I took a tour, there are only like 6 classrooms and a lounge. Each student has their own Dilbert cubicle and their own computer. There were only 49 students this year – six in graduating class. The teacher who showed us around took us into a room with lots of strange items in it, asked Josh if he knew what a Tesla coil was. When Josh said yes he took him over to a copper-wire wrapped contraption and said, “You want to meet the kid who built this?” Turns out it actually worked.

They learn hands-on. Classes multi-task. Like they learn the science of friction, resistance (and probably gravity) by skiing. We never got to mix PE & science! They do a lot of technical reporting & writing, which counts towards English. Their scores in standardized tests are WAY above the state average, even our district average. They use Rosetta for foreign language and have 2 hours of math a day. They get to choose their own science projects to do – like making Tesla coils. Josh wants to design computer games – they’ll probably teach him the basics. Maybe he can build his own computer.

They also do community service and have internships with local Wausau businesses in various engineering and technical fields that the kids might someday be working in. I can see Josh volunteering in the computer room of the Boys & Girls Club, and going on to a summer apprentice program with some design company.

Kids now have options for learning, and can gear what they do now towards what they want to do later. It’s up to us parents to listen to our kids, know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and be an advocate for them – help them find the best path for them to achieve their dreams. Most of all, keep an open mind, open ears and eyes.

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