There will be some amazing work done this year by the students of Melcher-Dallas High School, all with the goal of preparing them for today’s modern economy.
Melcher-Dallas has announced the Connected Student Initiative, designed to connect students to the world. As other districts in Marion County have participated in Apple’s 1:1 laptop program, Melcher-Dallas considered participating in a laptop program as well. However, according to MDHS Principal Josh Ehn, his school’s goal is to make the laptop/technology program more student-focused instead of concentrating on the device. The goal is connectivity.
“Our kids are smarter together than they are individually,” Ehn said. MDHS does have devices for students. The district chose to purchase Chromebooks for $250 each.
MDHS is also participating in Project Lead the Way this year. This program encourages schools to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
“It’s about creating 21st Century learners and 21st Century workers,” Ehn said. He used Melcher-Dallas’ location as an example. Its proximity to manufacturing in the county, as well as the insurance base in Des Moines, will require students with these skills.
Although MDHS is going to encourage students to have strong STEM skills, the arts will be promoted as well.
Inside MDHS is a room specific for use of devices to express creativity. This includes a green wall, which the students can shoot video in front of to apply the background of their choosing in the video. Equipment is also available for them to make 3-D videos and, when funding is available, a 3-D monitor will be purchased for student use.
The center also has a station set up for students to be able to record podcasts. Print media will also be encouraged this year, as Ehn wants to see his yearbook staff try to write articles on a frequent basis.