A school of family, friends and project-based learning-we learn through doing. Our school speaks to students in a lot of different ways. We do community service hours. We have a lot of freedom at our school. We are in charge of doing all of our work. Our teachers are there to help guide us along the way. We learn through project-based learning, which means we pick the scope and sequence that we need in order to fulfill the requirements we need to graduate. We do this by working on projects and meeting the Wisconsin state standards.
We work on the computers all the time. We do math and our project work on the computer. We have books that we have all of our scope and sequence in. We talk with our teachers about our projects and then we write project proposals. We sometimes present them and sometimes we just go over it with our teacher. We don’t get grades but instead, we get credits that are either proficient, advanced or mastery, based on how well we know the information within our project. We log our time every day to keep track of the hours we put into our projects. We do seminars all the time for scope and sequence that we need.
Our scope and sequence is the way we learn; it’s all of our subjects and hours that we need to learn in order to graduate. We work on health and we complete health throughout 6th and 8th grades, and then 6th through 12th grades we have other scope and sequence such as physical science, earth science, life science and environmental science. That’s pretty much all of the science that we have to complete. We also have social studies, such as geography, history, political science and citizenship, economics and behavior science. Throughout our high school years (9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades) we have to read six books for reading each year. We have to do eight writings each year, four oral presentations, six different types of technology-related projects, six projects with research and one language arts seminar or group work. Then for 12th grade, we do a senior project which is based on something that we want to do in the future or something fun; for example, someone did our yearbook for their senior project and was able to get credit for subjects, such as photography, language arts, social studies, etc.
Our school does community service every year because we want to make our community a better place. Each student does 50 hours of community service or more each year. We rake, pick up garbage, and do other fun things such as going and helping at Central Elementary School, the Rhinelander High School Library and the Rhinelander Food Pantry. Our school is about helping the community, so we do a lot of stuff out in the community. We also do projects with businesses; for example, a project we did in 2010 was a business project. We came up with interview questions, and went and talked to them. It was a blast. When you multiply the number of students by the number of hours we put into community service each year, it equals approximately 5,000 hours altogether that we donate our time to help others around us. Since we’ve started requiring community service at school, many of my friends and I have done many fun things for community services hours and we enjoy it.
Our school does a lot of stuff like going out to CAVOC. We go out on the first day and the last day of school. The first day we go out and get to know the new students. There are a lot of activities we have, such as taking hikes, doing scavenger hunts, writing haikus, etc. We also have special lunches like brats and hotdogs, and tons of side dishes and chips, and stuff like that. On the last day, we go out and split up into groups and do activities like we did on the first day. It’s a fun way to spend the first and last days of school. We also go out to CAVOC sometimes for winter fun days, which are really fun.
When new students come, they are always welcomed. We bring them in and teach them our system and they like it, but it takes some time to get used to at first. We have a lot of freedom, which we use nicely, but it also takes time getting used to this newfound freedom. We try to do our best. No one expects us to be perfect in anything. At NCSS, you can learn at your own pace and in your own way. We work hard together and NCSS is truly like one big family that learns together. We do it to make our school and home a better place through a hands-on approach to learning.