For many Carson High School students, being sent to Opportunity High School is anything but an opportunity. For them, it is more like the "Last Chance Ranch."
For several students in one math-media class, however, it has become an opportunity to create something that will go a long way. All the way to Iraq, in fact.
In order to apply the knowledge they learned about business letters, research, summaries, as well as fractions, percentages and decimals, the students completed a project about games.
They researched the origination of the game of horseshoes, quoits, or washers (poor man's horseshoes). Then, using that information they designed their own versions of the games. Using donations from Lowe's and Copeland Lumber, they are building the games they designed. They will then ship the games to a military unit in Iraq.
The project has given the students a chance to use the information they learned rather than just complete more worksheets. They also have had the added incentive to build something that will contribute to the community by showing their support to the soldiers in Iraq. This has been an opportunity to participate in service learning.
Opportunity School was originally created to be a temporary placement facility for Carson High School students who had violated discipline policies. Once they had been suspended for 90 or 180 days, they served out that suspension time at Op School.
Nowadays, it is also a facility for students who have transferred into the district late and have lost credit, or for those who are simply waiting for an opening at Pioneer High School which is located on the same campus.
While they are on the campus, students must prepare to take the high school proficiency exams and earn credits to graduate just like they do at CHS. Projects like this make the learning more "hands-on" and interesting than traditional coursework.
Hopefully, the soldiers receiving the games will appreciate the effort taken to make life a little easier while away from home.
n Submitted by Beci Rodina, a teacher at Opportunity High School.