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Links to Learning

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As educators nationwide begin talking about school-to-work links, one Los Angeles school is working on links at school.

Students at Monterey Continuation High School in East Los Angeles are busy working on a a six-hole miniature golf course in the space between the school buildings.

Apart from its obvious recreational potential, the Historical Miniature Golf Course also offers the students various academic benefits. Rather than a traditional windmill motif, the 35-by-40-foot course is made up of icons from different historical eras. Hole 3, for example, is entitled "Middle Ages & Renaissance,'' and will sport a castle complete with a water-filled moat.

Principal Ken Easum, a former history teacher, came up with the idea when the school moved three years ago. He thought the course would provide "a lot of different avenues for the kids to learn in many different ways.''

Students researched the time periods and used their mathematics and science skills to create a design that would make the most of the small space.

Students at the school for potential dropouts can earn credit in several subjects, including history, English, and math, for working on the project. Students can choose to work on several aspects of the project, and some even stay after school to work on construction, Mr. Easum reports.

Volunteers from a local contracting firm are teaching the students about construction, and local businesses have donated materials, tools, and money.

"Our kids need ... to learn how to cooperate,'' says Mr. Easum, explaining that this has been the "key benefit'' of the program thus far. Proceeds from fund-raising activities at the course will go toward scholarship funds for students interested in attending college.

The course's grand opening is scheduled for April 29, the anniversary of the riots that devastated parts of the city last spring.

"With all that's negative going on,'' Mr. Easum says, it is important to have something "positive'' happening on that day.--S.S.

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