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Education

Grand Rapids high school trades textbooks for robots, ambulances, and tiny houses

students in innovation EMT class
Students at Innovation Central can earn credits toward their EMT certification while still in high school.

How can schools tap into a student's passion? How can businesses develop and retain talent?

And how can graduates make sure they have the skills that Michigan businesses, non-profits, and government needs? 

School districts across the state are working hard to answer these questions.

Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids is one of those. 

kid holding saw
Credit Grand Rapids Public School
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One of the academies at Innovation Central High has students build houses as part of class.

It puts four "academies" under one roof: Design and Construction; Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship; Modern Engineering; and Health, Sciences and Technology. Next year, the school will add a teaching academy to its roster as well.

The mix of college preparation and vocational training allows students to pursue areas relevant to their career interests. Students can learn how to become an ambulance driver, make solar-powered cars, and interpret health science terminology in Spanish.

In addition to the curriculum, Innovation Central students have frequent exposure to community mentors, industry experts, and field trips.

Principal Mark Frost constantly asks students, “Who are you going to be after high school?” His hope is that young people will leverage the curriculum and professional development opportunities to answer this question for themselves.

Listen above for Stateside's full conversation with Frost and Ronald Gorman, assistant superintendent of Pre-K through 12th grade instructional support for Grand Rapids Public Schools.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)

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