The Roosevelt Option is a new project based learning program at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids. Rather than being a pilot program, Principal Autumn Pino, who helped design the framework, said it’s prototype.
“Students will be in a flexible learning area where they will have access to the resources and technology needed to help them gain knowledge through community-based projects,” reads the informational document which went home with students in May to notify families about The Roosevelt Option.
In short: 90 Roosevelt eighth-graders will eschew the traditional class schedule to work with three teachers and learn core subjects — such math and science — through completing individual and group projects that will benefit the community. There is no cost to be involved.
“This program provides our teachers the opportunity to take the students where they are and move them,” Pino said. “For all of us, it’s about empowerment.”
“Project-based learning is a natural platform for discussions centered around each student and his or her connection to the world in which they live,” Pino wrote in an email, stressing the importance of family involvement and support for those involved in The Roosevelt Option. “ I hope that this program is the right venue to unlock the innovation, creativity, and critical thinking skills that our students possess — never underestimate the power of a middle-schooler.”
Cedar Rapids Associate Superintendent Trace Pickering said the idea for a middle school project-based learning initiative arose from conversations between himself, Pino and middle-school instructors.
“We believe this is going to reignite a passion for school in the kids who have drifted away and it’s going to open up a whole new world for students at the higher end,” Pickering said.