Superintendent Joshua P. Starr is recommending new, innovative programs and learning opportunities for Wheaton High School and the Thomas Edison High School of Technology that will enhance efforts to prepare students for success in the 21st century.
Dr. Starr gave an overview of the changes to the Board of Education at its meeting today (September 11, 2012), as the Board reviewed preliminary plans for the modernization of the Wheaton and Edison facilities, which share a campus.
“As we plan for new facilities, we should also be designing an educational program that will serve the needs of the students at Wheaton and Edison and prepare them for success in college and the workplace,” Dr. Starr said. “I look forward to working with staff, parents and community members as we seek to create a 21st century education program that is a model for the nation.”
Wheaton High School
Among the changes under consideration is the creation of a project-based learning environment at Wheaton High School that would allow students to work across curricular areas and employ 21st century skills, such as collaboration, communication, analysis and creativity.
“In the real world, we use our knowledge and skills together to develop ideas and find solutions,” Dr. Starr said. “Our schools and programs should be structured to help break down barriers and encourage this type of integrated thinking.”
Dr. Starr will create a committee composed of staff and parents from Wheaton High School, as well as local business, government and educational leaders, who will contribute ideas for this new instructional approach and make recommendations for how Wheaton can become a community educational resource for students and adults.
Community input will be gathered by the committee and a vision will be developed by the end of the current school year. Staff from Wheaton and the MCPS central office will be charged with operationalizing the vision to align with the opening of the new building in August 2015.
Thomas Edison High School of Technology
Instructional improvements are also being considered for the Thomas Edison High School of Technology, including the addition of a Homeland Security program that will prepare students for further education and employment in this growing field.
MCPS is also in preliminary discussions with Junior Achievement to offer a financial literacy program at Edison for all MCPS Grade 8 students. The program will serve as the culmination of a multiweek introduction to financial literacy in local schools and will build upon the curricular improvements already taking place in the area of financial literacy. In addition, while at Edison, all middle school students will tour the Edison facility and learn about the unique programs available to all high school students.
Additional staff and community input will be gathered on this concept before program details are finalized.
“I want Edison to continue to be a school where our students can enhance their education by developing career-related skills in relevant, in-demand fields,” Dr. Starr said. “By working with community partners, like Junior Achievement, we can also improve the financial literacy of all students.”