Our Turn: Shifting gears in 11th grade
Greetings and salutations. We are the new kids at Northwoods Community Secondary School! As you may know, being the new kids is never as easy as it seems. But, here at NCSS, all of our peers have accepted and embraced us.
We transitioned from Rhinelander High School halfway through our junior year. We decided to come halfway through junior year because we wanted to be more independent. Also, we really like the senior project idea, getting a chance to focus on what interests us seemed really great. We have never been taught in an environment that so heavily emphasizes project based learning; so far it is a refreshing change of pace.
Here at NCSS, students should be logging about 41/2 hours of academic work a day, but you can choose what you want to be doing, and what classes and credits you want to be working on. Your Tuesday schedule doesn’t have to look like Monday’s, or two Monday’s don’t have to be entirely the same. It is important to stay on top of deadlines, because with it being so independently driven, one can easily get far behind. Students in our class are adamant about making sure we realize that motivation is key; moreover, self-motivation.
NCSS is active within the community-such as shoveling people’s driveways and raking peoples’ yards. Students pride themselves on close-knit advisories. At the beginning of the day, and at the end of the day, we have circle time. Circle time is a time to bond, and we talk about various things, such as issues in the community, our weekends, school subjects and getting a chance to get closer with one another. This is different from what we’ve been used to at RHS because the student body is so much larger, one might only know half of the kids in the building. Here at NCSS, it’s like a small community inside the school; where everybody seeks to know everybody on a personal level.
One of the first projects we finished was a science topic. We learned how to research the Wisconsin State Standards from our teacher, and weave them into what we want to accomplish. Our project focused on GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) and how they affect the community. We examined the effects on plants, animals and food. Some of our main focuses were the different jobs you can have in this field, who do the GMOs affect, how will GMOs help, cause or prevent regional and local issues, where do GMOs usually occur, and why did GMOs become such a big thing.
We have only been here for a couple weeks, and already it is one of the best decisions we have ever made. Being able to bond with the peers, community, and staff is awesome. The independent way of learning is a great way to prepare for college, and get ready for the real world. And finally, the lack of organized hours is an amazing aspect. Now that we are here, we are wondering why we didn’t start earlier.
As you can tell, we are very happy to be at NCSS.