The “academy model,” if implemented at Monument, would be a shift from what Principal Kristi Farina calls the current “antiquated model” that schedules students for eight periods and has them travel to each class for four years.
Participants will spend two to four afternoons per week working hands-on in the work world, on construction sites and working farms, earning both class credit and stipends, and learning skills in virtual and physical ‘makerspaces.’
Led by senior Lucy Doren, about 20 Monument students created a survey to distribute to fellow students, broke up into small groups and began imagining a design crafted around a core schedule, natural lighting, an enclosed courtyard, break-out spaces and more space for the school’s growing career and vocational technical education program.
The morning served as a kick-off to the district’s initiatives to deepen connections between the district and the community, and help even the school’s youngest students start to envision a future for themselves in the work world.
Any new initiatives will build on the school’s strong pre-existing relationships with businesses and nonprofits, fostered in part through its longstanding internship program, which sends dozens of students into the community each year for a portion of the school day.
A common complaint among employees of the district and their families was that district officials did not adequately consult with faculty and staff about what was needed in terms of design and the accommodation of innovative curriculum, for example.
There was not the population for a dedicated vocational school and, over time, the number of programs offered dwindled. Now individual fields will not be stressed so much as the habits of mind and preparation to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.