High School Alternatives
Three cities are expanding learning options for students who struggle in traditional settings.
Like a lot of other teenagers, Raven Ratcliff is a big fan of television’s “CSI” series. But she’s turned that interest in crime-scene investigations into something more: a real-world learning experience. As part of her just-completed junior year in high school, Ms. Ratcliff did a part-time internship at the Marian County, Ind., coroner’s office in Indianapolis.
If getting to watch autopsies firsthand sounds unusual, that’s part of the point at the Indianapolis Metropolitan High School. It brings a decidedly unconventional, student-centered approach to education, from internships that send all students out into the community and workforce to an emphasis on project-based learning and promoting tight-knit relationships between students and teachers.
The belief that many young people would benefit from a different, and more personalized, approach to learning than is typically served up in U.S. high schools has led Indianapolis officials to join an effort to help such alternatives proliferate. The Midwestern city, along with Nashville, Tenn., and Newark, N.J., is taking part in a pilot project to develop and expand its menu of educational options for students who struggle in traditional high school settings, are considered at risk of dropping out, or who...
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