Mr. Matt Jurgens comes to us this semester from Doane College. Mr. Jurgens has already proven himself to be a very capable and passionate educator with a very wide variety of experiences to offer students, from working in the newspaper field to directing to performing for Disney World. I'm very eager to work with Mr. Jurgens and help him on his journey into the world of teaching.
JOURNALISM & THEATRE CHANGES
As our district looks to offer more opportunities to give students relevant experiences in various career fields, the classes formally known as "Intro to Journalism" and "Intro to Theatre" are undergoing some major changes. What were once broad survey classes that dipped a little bit into various aspects of each field are now open-ended, student-driven workshop classes that give students choices in their learning and the freedom to dig as deep as they want.
In a nutshell, all students in each class start together learning basic background information about journalism or theatre to give them a solid foundation of understanding.
After that, they are able to start exploring SKILL STRANDS; a skill strand is a specific skill needed for certain jobs, like photography or writing in journalism, or possibly acting, light design or costuming in theatre. Students independently explore and research those components then practice the skills in an environment where they don't have to fret about a grade dropping if they're not immediately good at it. Every so often, we'll have in-class seminars where students share what they've learned and tried and be graded on completion and exploration.
Once students have found a skill strand they enjoy, they can move into a CAREER STRAND where they dig deeper into that skill and hone that craft. This is where students will work on and create for something bigger than their grade. Journalism students who like writing will be required to publish stories weekly. Students interested in shooting documentaries will have a month to research, shoot, edit and finalize it. Students in theatre who love set design and construction may create a set for other students in the class wishing to perform a certain script which could be directed by another student interested in directing and costumed by a student interested in costuming!
Students can take as many semesters of these classes as they wish and explore or dig in as they wish. This will give realistic, career-relevant skills and opportunities to students that they usually wouldn't experience until they get to college or start an apprenticeship.
ENGLISH 9 & 10
Slowly but surely we are tweaking and modifying the English classes to streamline some of the nuts-and-bolts of English class (like vocabulary and grammar) to allow more time and choice for students to explore reading, writing, speaking and research. You'll notice more lessons and notes and practice quizzes going digital for students to complete at their leisure while we spend our valuable class time digging deeper into concepts that are more life-applicable and of interest to students.