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Halifax County Schools recently held a Student Showcase to share the work and accomplishments of its students.

The accomplishments centered on project-based learning stand out as exceptional contributions to the student's educational career.

“The student showcase was a great opportunity for students to take pride in the work that they have completed over the school year,” Superintendent Eric Cunningham said. “This allowed students to present to community members, businesses, and stakeholders. Student achievement remains our top priority, and with project-based learning, our scholars can experience, learn and communicate what they have learned.”

Project-based learning allows students to work on a project over an extended period that requires them to innovate, solve real-world problems, and answer complex questions. 

All of this promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. In some instances, the projects are associated with community partners.

“What I was able to see in the Student Showcase was clear evidence that students are learning deeply about topics they care about, but they can make a true difference in their communities and learn skills that will serve them for a lifetime,” said Ben Owens, co-founder and chief innovation engineer of Open Learning Way. “With examples from the arts, technology, alternative energy, math, agriculture, civics, and more, it is obvious that Halifax County Schools is creating the conditions where High-Quality Project-Based Learning is the new norm across all curricular areas.”

Said Owens: “It's a solid model other schools and districts can learn from to create a culture of community-facing, learner-centered instruction that aligns with the future of work.”

The nine showcase stations are as follows:

Teen Court

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Teen Court provides an opportunity for diversion from the court process while still holding the participants accountable. 

It offers participants a chance to share in the judicial experience as a prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, clerk of court, bailiff, and juror and encourages ongoing participation with other prosocial peers and activities.

Lighthouse Solar

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Halifax County Schools, North Carolina State Energy Office, and NC A&T State University joined forces with Halifax Community College, the governor’s office, and the Center for Energy Education to produce a solar camp where juniors and seniors received a 96-hour training program to expand their knowledge of photovoltaic and solar energy. 

Upon completing the 96-hour training program, the students were skilled and career-ready with four certifications.

IT Help Desk

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The IT Help Desk is an internship work-based opportunity that offers skilled students a chance to get paid for working while in school and an opportunity for employment in a technical occupation upon graduation. 

The program will help students gain technical and high-level academic skills, thus, equipping them to be lifelong learners. 

The desk will introduce students to the global marketplace by offering experiential learning, post-secondary credits, and industry certifications.

Windmill Challenge

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Scholars from William R. Davie STEM Academy participated in the KidWind Regional contest hosted by the Center for Energy Education. 

Scholars designed and constructed a wind turbine. 

Through research, they understood the science of renewable energy, were analytical about testing protocols, thought creatively about solutions to problems, and worked collaboratively to complete their project on time.

Makerspace

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A makerspace can be defined as a collaborative lab or studio space where students create, think, share and grow using various materials and technologies. 

These spaces can have high-tech maker equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, coding kits, or simple, no-tech tools such as Legos, Playdoh and cardboard. 

Every makerspace is unique, and what materials and technologies are used often depends on the types of projects the space is built for and who it serves.

August Wilson Oratorical Contest

Halifax County Schools held its second August Wilson Oratorical Contest this year in March. The contest is designed for scholars to gain experience in public speaking, perfect self- expression, gain self-assurance, and improve communication skills.

Hill Family Farm

The Hill Family Farm Education is a grassroots community organization dedicated to improving the health, educational attainment, and opportunities of youth, adults, seniors, and the disabled in Whitakers. 

Halifax County Schools has partnered with The Hill Family Farm Education Center to provide scholars with learning opportunities.

Dr. C’s Math Moment

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Halifax County Early College has developed a school-wide research-based strategy to promote math literacy. 

To fill in the gaps that some students face because of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cunningham challenges principals and their teams to develop instructional strategies that are engaging and effective. 

Hence the Math Moment was born. 

Each week students who attend the HCEC HS have been presented with a math problem or concept that is NCDPI standard-specific and must be solved.

Greenleaf Farm

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Greenleaf Farm is an outdoor learning lab for students enrolled in horticulture and agricultural science classrooms. 

It also becomes an exploration activity for our business students interested in entrepreneurship and marketing.