Students Find Their Own Path At Cedar City’s Launch High School
Things have changed a lot since I walked the halls of my high school, and I think what students have available today gives them many more options than I had, and they have more opportunity to guide their education process.
Cory Henwood is the Innovation Director for the Iron County School District to discuss one option that is gaining popularity for students ready to begin the high school experience. Launch High School puts students in a position where they can discover the direction they want life to go, and to plot their course to achieve their personal goals.
The school district will hold two parents nights on Tuesday, January 16th (tonight) and Wednesday, January 17th (tomorrow). Henwood explained to us what parents and students can expect from these gatherings, and why it is important for those interested in attending Launch High School.
“You'll hear a little bit about why you might consider Launch, and whether it might be the right fit for your child or not. You know, there's a couple of key components to Launch High School that make it really unique from the other high school options in this area and one is that students get to move ahead as quickly as they are able. As soon as they can show what they know, then they move on,” Henwood said.
When asked what he meant by “moving on” Henwood said, “that means they can move ahead in the curriculum and ultimately earn credit, graduate early, or potentially take as many college classes as they're able to within their high school career. Most other schools you move at the pace of the class you finish the quarter at the end of the quarter. Here you can get finished a lot earlier than that and that's one of the benefits of Launch High School.”
But an accelerated program allowing students to begin college or graduate early is just one piece of the program at Launch High School. Another factor of the program is giving the students an opportunity to get practical experience in career opportunities they are interested in.
“(Students) may be interested in learning more hands on or real world skills, and the project component of what students do there at Launch is it's about half of what they take on there. So they just decide something they're passionate about, something they want to explore, and the coaches and advisors guide them through that. And that's something that ends up being ultimately meaningful to them,” according to Henwood.
And how do those projects translate into real world, career building platforms? Henwood gave us an example. “Some of them end up working with local businesses. We've had some that have, for example, (worked) here at Metal Craft and the Syber Jet before they kind of transitioned over, they asked, ‘you know, how do we best value our employees’ and some of our students went in and interviewed the employees. They found out what they really wanted is a better break space. So our students helped design a break space that that group ultimately built out in their facility for their employees, which is pretty neat.”
Cory mentioned that attending one of the parent nights this week, along with a workshop that will be held later in the month would be a real benefit for students desiring to attend Launch High School.
“If you attend the parent night and the student workshop at the end of the month, those give you a really good picture of what the school's about and whether it be a right fit for you,” Henwood said. By attending a parent night and the upcoming workshop, Henwood said, “they're nearly guaranteed a spot in our lottery selection.”
Typically, Launch High School has 50 to 60 open spots, and generally more than 200 students apply for those openings.
If you are wondering if students at Launch High School will still be able to participate in extra curricula activities, the answer is yes. Henwood said that students attend Launch High School on either the “A” or “B” day, and then attend their regular boundary school on the other days, and students participate in activities at the boundary school.
You can find out more about Launch High School here, and you can listen to our entire visit with Cory Henwood below.
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Gallery Credit: Erica Russell