In installment #4 of Inner Voices, “Kirk”, as he’ll be known here, explains what the project-based learning (PBL) experience has been like for him. Like Alan, Kirk was a part of our first Studio cohort and has participated in the program for three years of high school. While originally Kirk had planned on doing an internship, he instead decided to joint-enroll, which was another common decision made by our seniors. Read on to discover how PBL changed Kirk’s trajectory in education all together.
“Overall, the Studio program gave me opportunities I would have never dreamed about pursing during my high school career.”
Between my Freshman to Junior years in high school, I had the privilege of being a part of the inaugural class in the Studio program at North Gwinnett High School. This program offered me a different high school experience. The center focus behind the Studio program is projects; our motto is “Learning in Motion.” Depending on the course requirements for the current school year, the content of the class would follow the course objectives from an AP Social Studies class, a Gifted/AP Language Arts class, and a multimedia class. Our projects could be about anything that we wanted, as long as the academic content tied the project together.
At first, it was difficult to transition to the way of learning in Studio; however, I adapted quickly, and I feel like I have gained so much from it. My favorite aspect of the Studio program was the real life application. We created project proposals, worked in groups, and presented to audiences comprised of our peers, and sometimes, we presented higher-level county representatives. The goal of the program is to better prepare students for the rigors of college and beyond.
Currently, I am a senior in high school, and I decided to dual enroll in a local college to knock out some credits. The Studio program contributed greatly to my success in my college-level courses. I have had much experience working with peers and completing presentations that these aspects of my college classes came as second nature. The abilities to think creatively and engage with others are some soft skills that have not only prepared me for college but for life as well.
Throughout my Studio career, I I have had the opportunity to plan events, such as the semi-annual Studio expos, and work closely with my school’s administration. I even worked with my local government to plan an event in our town center to raise awareness about getting active.
Overall, the Studio program gave me opportunities I would have never dreamed about pursing during my high school career. I developed a close relationship with the instructors, and I have had the opportunity to present to GCPS leaders on behalf of this program. Without Studio, I would not be in the place that I am today, and honestly, I would not have had such a unique experience in high school.