Students now go to school on Friday. Well, kind of.
A new program for students is gearing up this year at East Grand Middle School called the Fifth Day Program.
The Fifth Day Program is being organized by Katrina Larson, a middle school teacher, with assistance from around half-a-dozen additional district teachers and community volunteers.
“The Fifth Day program is an enrichment option for students in grades four through eight,” Larson said. “We will be working on a series of projects based on STEM. They are all projects based on enrichment. Everything we will do is based around a project the students will create.”
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, which many forecasters believe will be job fields with the most growth opportunity in the future. As such, many schools are hoping to get students excited about one of those core areas, and projects like those the students will work on during the Fifth Day Program is one way of accomplishing that goal.
The Fifth Day Program, which will run throughout the year, will be broken down into seven separate sessions, with each session having anywhere from two to four Friday programs. Sessions will cover a wide range of topics, from airplanes and flight, to illustration and writing, to cooking. Each Friday program will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
Depending on the topic of the particular session students will be participating in various tasks. There will be a robotics session later this year. Larson provided a basic outline of what a Friday program will look like for the robotics session, and noted middle school technology teacher Missy Quinn will be working closely with the students during that segment of the Fifth Day Program.
“The students will be building robots and programming them, either individually or in small groups,” Larson said.
The first session, to be held later this fall, will be the airplane and flight session. Middle Park High counselor Ben Polonowski will be assisting Larson with that portion of the Program. Students will be discussing the basic principles and history of flight, and will also build Delta Dart model airplanes to see how those principles work in action.
“Right now I am just trying to organize this,” Larson said. “It is new, we are still figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. That is the same way the projects are that the kids will be working on. The kids will have to learn, to see what didn’t work, and try new things. That is life.”
Students, or parents, who are interested in participating in the Fifth Day Program will be able to sign up for future sessions through the school, though interested parties should check sooner, rather than later, because each session has only 20 students slots available. Larson said she is working to find a way to insure opportunities for the program are spread out amongst students.
The Fifth Day Program was made possible by a grant from the Donnell-Kay Foundation. The grant from Donnell-Kay provides three years of funding for the Fifth Day Program.
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