It's the first week of school, and a lot has changed this year at Greater Johnstown High School. Getting on the bus on the first day of school, you'll notice the first big difference over last year-the number of people. My bus, for example, wasn't even half full last year. A good 50% of the seats were open, despite the fact that I was the last person to get on. This year, however, the bus is nearly at maximum capacity, with very few seats open.
Now, why is this? Why are there so many new people then there were in the past? It's pretty simple. Because another whole grade level has been added to the high school this year. In the past, Johnstown High School has consisted of ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. This year, we have added eighth grade to the mix. Johnstown Middle School has been officially closed. Because of this, the district has shuffled around the students.
But that's not all that's new at the high school. The Summit Learning Academy is now active, a new take on teaching and learning that sees students having much greater control over their own schedules and the way that they learn. The program is run by a group of four core teachers-Mrs. Adamine, a math teacher, Mrs. King, an english teacher, Mr. Carosi, a history teacher, and Mr. Tomak, also a history teacher. Several other teachers are also involved in the program-"14 Strong", according to Mr. Heinrich, a school prinicpal, and the principal of the Summit Academy.
The goal of the program is to allow students to have greater control over their schedules in school, as well as the way they go about learning and completing their classwork.
Students have the ability to choose between several different workstations throughout the school-including a cafe, a study, an industrial room, and a studio. They can work on their classwork at their own pace, when they want. For example-if you have english scheduled for second period, and math scheduled for sixth period, but you don't feel like doing english in the morning, you can work on your math instead, or vice versa.