Patriot Path was initiated in early August of the 2016-17 school year and is held every Wednesday from 1:07-2:02. This is a time for students and teachers to de-stress, and it allows for many student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-community connections to occur. Hopefully, some global connections can be established as well. Students can choose the path/session they want from multiple options offered each week. Some sessions will continually be offered weekly and others will come and go; however, each week a new session is presented for students to choose from. Whether the students are leading sessions or are choosing sessions of interest, there is much excitement surrounding Patriot Path. The opportunities are endless as we bring students, faculty, and community together through a wide variety of activities that foster relationship building, creativity, communication skills, and so much more. We know this is a positive experience for our students based on their feedback; however, research conducted supports what we hope to achieve as well. One study showed that students who participated in student-centered learning/play had higher self esteems and lower anxiety than their peers who were not able to exert their locus of control with regard to choices about learning activities (Post, 1999).
Another highlight of the initiative is that several students have felt passionate about a topic, talent, or issue, and have asked to lead sessions. School leaders and Patriot Path planners hoped students would eventually lead sessions they created, but a group of students came forward and asked to lead a session about organizing a male vocal ensemble during the first week of implementation. Since that time, the number of student-led sessions has grown. Two things, in particular, stand out; students felt empowered from the orientation they received that they could lead a session, and they used collaboration, creativity, time management, and communication. These are all real-world soft skills essential for success in the classroom as well as in the workforce, and students are applying them during Patriot Path!
Students at Bob Jones High School have been exposed to guest speakers and ideas and concepts through Patriot Path they would not normally encounter. We are fortunate to have the support of a diverse community who is willing to share its talents and experiences with our students. Guest presenters have included a human resource manager who shared tips and suggestions on building strong resumes and job skills, a NASA employee spoke about his work on the Space Launch System that will enable the Mars mission in the not-so-distant future. He inspired students to consider how they might use their unique talents to serve in this endeavor because he said a project of this magnitude will need artists, writers, accountants, and managers, not just engineers and science-related thinkers. One of our recent graduates spoke about her experience in developing a non-profit during high school. Many other community volunteers have come alongside our school faculty to support sessions. For example, several knitters have joined with students to share their expertise.
Patriot Path has incredible potential to impact the instruction at Bob Jones in ways we can not yet measure. We look forward to the future and how inquiry/student lead-learning will become the norm in classrooms of all contents.
CONNECT Student to Student
CONNECT Student to Faculty
CONNECT Student to Community