Education News

Nov 16, 2012 4:58 PM by Robin O'Day - KPAX News

Explorers Program: Learning that sticks for Potomac students

POTOMAC - This last fall, Potomac school slimmed down to a four-day school week, but they are beefing up on their hands-on learning, with a Friday event called the Explorers Program.

From pitching a tent to starting a fire, the program is completely voluntary for kids who want to show up and learn and many of them feel like they are not even learning, although they are...therein, lies the secret.

"He makes it really fun, so it's not like you're even learning stuff," says Potomac seventh grader, Mariah O'Boyle.

"It's like not really school work, but we're still learning and doing fun activities to do so," says Potomac sixth grader, Isabelle Allen.

The Friday Explorers Program gives students a place to be if their parents are working and the open platform for teachers leverages an unorthodox learning opportunity.

"Nothing is more frustrating as a teacher, than to force someone to learn something. So to have a program that is appealing, starts off on the right foot when it comes to student motivation and engagement," says Principal Tim Johnson.

Johnson says the decision to go to a four day school week was more about optimizing longer days to learn and less about saving money.

Roughly 25% of the students attend the Friday program.

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