Students who participate in the Wayne County Learning Academy have gotten off to a great start this school year, learning about the importance of sacrifice, the value of history, and an overview of the local judicial system during their first field trip of the school year.
There are currently 17 students enrolled in the program that serves students in grades 7-12. The program was established in 2013 for students that were not gaining academic ground in a traditional classroom setting.
The program that is located in the heart of Wayne County’s campus is getting somewhat of afacelift with the students remodeling the classroom, along with a fresh approach to the instruction and classroom environment under the guidance of veteran Social Studies Teacher Jason Kennett. Although Kennett has ‘left the building’ at the high school, his heart is still with the students that he will be teaching in a neighboring building. He sees his new position as a calling to help change young people’s lives and make an even greater difference through education.
“I’m as excited about this year and our prospect for success, than I have ever been in my careerover the past 25 years,” said Kennett. “I truly appreciate being given this opportunity and am looking forward to the challenge.”
Kennett is excited to provide many opportunities for his students’ growth, ranging from credit recovery to the development of life, social and work skills. “We are focusing on the value of setting goals and the rewards that come from hard work and determination. Each of our students share in the
process of setting his/her own short and long term goals, both for the educational term and life in general,” explained Kennett.
“Our students and staff share in each individual’s successes, constantly striving to make a true positive difference,” said Kennett. Staffers Adam Chaplin and Barbara Simpson-Laws who also care deeply for these students join Kennett.
“We are providing a customized education to benefit the individual needs of the students in anenvironment that nurtures their probability for success,” he said. We’ve made some changes to the program to customize it some because we know one-size does not fit all in education today.”
“We have a lot of seniors in our program and they are 100 percent on track to graduate and walk across the stage in the spring,” said Kennett proudly.
Each student’s schedule is individualized and they may take a class at the high school orvocational school during their day, besides being based at the Learning Academy. Students use Odysseyware on-line software to help gain academic ground, follow a career pathway, and become
However, that is just one instructional strategy used to help them become well equipped with the core competencies necessary to succeed. Kennett is mixing up the learning strategies and adding special speakers and field trips to perk his students’ interests. Students have already learned about a five-month Appalachian Challenge program offered through the National Guard that Scotty Sloan is coordinating. Plus, they have met Bradley Armentrout, a U.S. Army recruiter, who offered possiblecareer guidance, already.
“Mr. Kennett is making a great effort to reach many different learning styles of the students,” said Assistant Superintendent Allen Clark. “That is one of the hardest things to achieve as a teacher.”
His students benefitted from the recent downtown field trip by seeing it through Kennett’s eyes, with all kinds of historical information packed into what many take for granted. Besides a wealth of historically rich stories handed down from his father, a retired Social Studies teacher, they learned about the war monuments from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam and the significance of those that served. A complete tour of the Judicial Center featuring district and circuit court rooms was also enlightening. The students topped off the trip with lunch at the local City Pool Hall.
They are looking forward to their next trip touring KCTCS at the Somerset Community College campus on October 4th
Learning Academy students and teachers checked out the monuments in front of the judicial center
Jason Kennett, Ray Upchurch, and Pat Lay explained courtroom procedures
One of the students served as county attorney in a mock situation
Jason Kennett is showing the Sally Port, where they bring prisoners in for a court apperance
Jury deliberation room
The emergency exit has special security features
Students concluded their downtown tour with a visit to the Pool Hall
The City Pool Hall
The former drug store
Learning Academy students at the Doughboy statue