When we began planning for iLEAD, they used a process called Design Thinking. This methodology helps solve problems by gathering insights from and creating solutions for the “end user” of a product/service - in this case, students! The process begins with “empathy interviews.” Superintendents and members of their administrative teams asked students “How would you improve your high school experience?”
Students’ answers drove how iLEAD looks and feels, how teachers teach, how students learn, and how adults support every student in the school. Students told us:
Each iLEAD student designs his or her own schedule from day-one - selecting courses relevant to preparation for career interests, personal passions, and aspirations. Online curriculum opens up a world of opportunity for students with a vast selection of courses.
Students and teachers to establish a baseline of their academic knowledge, where their skills are strong, and where they are challenged. Teachers get real-time information about how students are progressing to provide support and more direct instruction when needed.
The system enables students to progress at their own pace and advance when they master concepts and standards - not by grade or school year.
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Students choose career pathways of study aligned to the region's high-demand, high-wage STEM occupations. Teachers help students understand which courses are relevant to their career pathway and students are encouraged to take courses simply for the love of learning.
Students may take classes at the Carroll County Area Technology Center (CCATC) in Automotive Technology, Carpentry, Construction, Electrical, Health Care, and Welding. Over four years at iLEAD, students can earn two work certifications of high value to employers in the region.
Students work at their own pace with the goal of becoming College Ready (benchmark on a College Entrance exam) at the end of their sophomore year. Students then enroll as full-time college students at Jefferson Community and Technical College's Carrollton Campus.
Here at iLEAD, we turned the two-century-old model of high school education upside down to meet the needs of our students. There are no desks, no bells, no textbooks. What we do have is passion for students' success and a commitment to knocking down barriers that might be in the way of achieving their dreams.