Educators from across nation visit Lakewood
A charter bus from the TradeWinds in St. Pete Beach arrived in front of the Lakewood High School auditorium at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, carrying 65 guests, all from various schools across the nation who were attending a conference hosted by Ford's Next Generation Learning (NGL) organization. Pinellas County's academies have some of the best programs in the nation, and the visitors wished to learn about their success.
Students representing each of the three academy programs at Lakewood - the Center for Journalism and Multimedia (CJAM), the Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT), and the Academy of Aquatic Management Systems and Environmental Technology (AMSET) - greeted the visitors. The students are trained ambassadors representing the school's academies, and on Wednesday they acted as tour guides for the rest of the day.
The guest were handed a pre-packed lunch from the TradeWinds and were directed to the school cafeteria. The 54th Avenue Jazz Combo, a Lakewood band, was set up and played a few songs to entertain the guest while they enjoyed their lunches.
With pen and paper ready to go, the guests were broken into groups A and B and taken to the CJAM and AMSET rooms where the teachers and students shared their experiences and what the programs have to offer. After 15 minutes the groups swapped locations and a chunk was taken from both groups to form group C, causing some confusion.
"You're not a part of the confused group," CAT assistant principal Peter Oberg said as one guest tried to join group C.
The groups rotated from the CAT robotics room, to network operations room where students told them about the Oculus program, and finally to CATCOM.
The Ford NGL educators came from schools across the nation. They are thinking about starting their own programs and were using this conference as a learning tool.
"In Cleveland, we're planning on creating our own programs, and its good to see this on a larger scale as we have about 400 to 500 students, " teacher Melissa Sawyer said. "It's cool to see the students being so proud of what they're doing."
The groups wrapped up around 1:58 p.m. to meet in the auditorium for a debriefing and Q & A with the leaders of programs, the ambassadors, and an associate from Ford, Rebeca Maxon. Highlights of what was learned were shared. Ford plans to share this information with others.
"Having this experience as a high schooler is great in my eyes," Maxson said.
At the end of the day, the visitors got back on the buses and headed back to the TradeWinds, holding onto what they experienced and the hospitality.
"I'm impressed with the maturity of the students," Detroit Leadership Academy math teacher Malcom Etaon said. "You guys have goals (to accomplish) and to see your articulation, you'd be great role models to my kids."