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Shepherd Charter School Uses Project-Based Learning, Preparing Students for Future

A tuition-free public charter school in Isabella County is using a non-traditional method of teaching to bring out their students’ creativity. Rather than doing homework and taking tests, students at create projects.

Principal Philip Janis says the project-based method prepares them for their future careers by doing hands-on projects and learning how to work with others.

“The idea is to do it differently than a traditional setting and give students the opportunity to just have a totally different educational experience,” says Janis.

Students are challenged by learning how to use time-management skills, work in groups and collaborate with others.

“The more practice you can get with not just regurgitating an answer but figuring out and formulating a solution to a problem is going to be extremely beneficial moving forward,” says Janis.

FlexTech encourages their students to foster their interests into projects, rather than tests, like 3D printing, paintings and woodworking.

“I feel like its more tangible,” says Junior at Morey FlexTech High School Connor Chubb. “For a lot of people it’s a lot more helpful and it seems like a lot of things we’re doing out there will have some kind of substance that papers and tests probably won’t have.”

Ella Patton is also a junior at FlexTech, she says she’s proud of her projects. “There’s a lot of stuff here that I would have never even thought to have made outside of school. I would never have painted a mural.”

As well as taking ownership of their education, says Janis. “I get so excited to see all of the different things that students have done, the creativity that’s been put into it and just that they’ve been excited about learning.”

The students are hosting a showcase Thursday at 5pm where the public is invited to see all of the projects the students have been working on.