The Grosse Pointe Academy initiated a pilot elective program this past school year for its middle school students called “R.E.A.L.” (Real world Experiences and Applied Learning). Each elective class met once a month through the spring for a total of five sessions, and students chose from a variety of options.
“One of the goals of the program was to get our students into the community to see how a particular interest might translate into a career or a passion,” said Middle School Principal Lawrence DeLuca. “The teachers tried to come up with ideas that aligned with their own areas of expertise that they thought might be of interest to the students. The idea was for these young people to go out in the field to experience a taste of the real world.”
Examples of R.E.A.L. classes included Investigative Reporting and Video Production, in which students produced their own documentary and toured a local TV station; Service Discovery, in which students researched and visited local non-profit organizations, ultimately choosing one to support; CSI, in which students learned crime scene analysis techniques; Moot Court, in which students learned the art of debate and visited a courthouse; Team Leadership in the 21st Century, for students interested in examining qualities of leadership; Teach Green, for the socially conscious, and Application Design, for future innovators.
In Marketing Program Design class, students prepared a marketing plan for a new concert teen series for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. In addition to attending a classical concert at the DSO, the students wrapped up the experience with a visit to the DSO executive offices, where they presented their marketing plan.
“My colleagues and I were very impressed by the team’s work,” said Paul Hogle, Executive Vice President of the DSO. “Not only was it well researched and articulately presented, but we think they’re onto a really interesting idea that could very well find itself on the stage of Orchestra Hall!”