Hands-on, real-world based curriculum to begin soon

IRON MOUNTAIN — In just about a month, students at the Iron Mountain School District will begin a new program of project–based learning.

Facilitating Understanding Through Unique Research–based Educational Strategies, or FUTURES is coming to the Iron Mountain School District. The program provides unique and innovative methods to help students not only learn educational material, but apply it as well.

“Making the theoretical work in the classroom come to life by doing real–world projects is the whole goal of this type of curriculum,” said Iron Mountain School District Superintendent Raphael Rittenhouse.

During the beginning stages of bringing the program to the district, 174 surveys were handed out to see what type of hands–on, real–world learning experiences the students were interested in. The results were a sign of good things to come.

“They began to laugh, chuckle a little bit, because what they were seeing the students have selected was exactly what they had been preparing to offer that last six weeks. So there’s a very high degree of alignment.”

“There’s a lot of excitement,” said Iron Mountain Middle/High School Principal Mark Herman, “about learning that will be taking place. You can just see the enthusiasm.”

Some of the areas of study include financial planning, math applied to gaming, forensic science and many more. This exciting opportunity comes with a lot of field trips, and on–site work which obviously costs money. There are two levels to which the school has to find ways to resource this. Fortunately for Iron Mountain, they have a very active and committed booster club. They provided a generous $30,000 donation for equipment and preparation. The other resource has been through work with the custodial crew to re–purpose spaces within the district.

“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to re–claim several spaces,” added Rittenhouse, “Industrial Arts is one of the big projects that we’ve been able to re–claim. We’ve been very impressed with the work that they’ve done on project based learning.”

The FUTURES program is designed to help transfer a set of skills and prepare students for life after high school.

“We’re keeping the student in mind. The college, the work–readiness, the skill sets that are being looked for; our students are very capable of performing on those levels. We want to make sure we are presenting them with those opportunities at every stage of the way.”

The program will be implemented on April, 25th.

For more on FUTURES, click here.

About the Author

Caleb Scanlon
Caleb M. Scanlon is a reporter for ABC 10 / CW 5 and joined the news team in 2015. He grew up in Negaunee, where he attended Negaunee High School. Caleb completed his Bachelor's degree in Media Production and New Technologies from Northern Michigan University with a minor in Communication Studies. Caleb interned with ABC 10 / CW 5 in the fall of 2014. During his free time, Caleb enjoys spending time with his wife Samantha, his kids Fred and Lucy, and his cats Scotty, Remus, and Fitzgerald. Caleb plays a multitude of musical instruments and performs in a band called Concord Through Keys. When there isn't snow on the ground, Caleb can often be found at Al-Quaal playing disc golf.