Creating enriching environments where students can learn about life beyond the standard curriculum is one of the hallmarks of some of our Best Schools. Here are just a few examples of how schools go above and beyond to teach students lessons in life.
Miamisburg High School
For a high school program launched in 2016, Miamisburg High School Theater is already experiencing success on stage. The crew took home nine awards for its production of the The Addams Family at the First Annual Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards, far more than any other individual school earned on the night.
Andrea Hubler, parent booster and one of the original architects of the theater program, helped write a business plan that was presented to the school board since “students at Miamisburg didn’t have anywhere to go to grow out of children’s theater programming at the time.”
Through The Addams Family, and previous productions such as “Into the Woods” and “High School Musical Jr.”, Hubler believes the theater program has a profound effect on the educational and social development of students at Miamisburg.
“They develop so many marketable skills for the future,” says Hubler. “Students must think on their feet and react to different situations quickly in theater.”
“A lot of them have found their people,” continues Hubler. “But the coolest thing is seeing kids connect. Some are jocks, some are musicians, some don’t participate in anything else, but midway through you see them connect with each other.”
The Miamisburg High School Theater, searching for additional funds to create more award-winning shows, encourages other students and families in the community to attend the shows.
Northmont High School
Northmont City Schools recognizes that being a student can be complicated and confusing, which can often lead to interpersonal conflict between peers. To resolve issues that may arise, Northmont looks towards high school student leaders in Matt Maiken’s peer facilitation class. Students, who must apply with teacher recommendations to enroll in the course, also educate elementary students on the dangers of bad influences like drugs and alcohol.
The first nine weeks of the course are spent developing student leadership ability, such as listening and emotional intelligence skills. Then, “we turn them loose to be of services to others,” says Sheree Coffman, student assistant counselor. From there students will mediate conflict, lead assemblies at elementary schools on bullying and eat lunch with younger students, among other activities.
“I understand the power of youth teaching youth,” Coffman says. “A sixteen-year-old can be more impactful in delivering a message.”
Students in the peer facilitation class are required to complete 20 community service hours every quarter. Volunteer activities include assisting local non-profit organizations such as House of Bread.
The goal is for this program to “prepare students so they have can have a bigger impact,” remarks Tony Thomas, superintendent.
“At graduation this year,” he says, “there was a student that has anxiety in front of large groups. A girl who happened to be a peer facilitator was sitting beside him. She walked him through everything and ended up having a great experience. If she didn’t have that training he might not have had a positive experience.”