Headline News
The WAY to a Diploma
From nilesstar.com
Article by Aaron Mueller

WAY Program Lab Picture

It was an exciting day Tuesday for several Niles-area students as they brought the classroom into their homes through the Niles Community Schools'€™ Widening Advancement for Youth (WAY). It was the induction for eight students into WAY Tuesday. They received training on their new iMac computers and iPod Touches that will facilitate the online learning program from home.

A total of 60 students will be in the new program, according Bill Prenkert, the team leader for WAY. It is designed for students who aren'€™t enrolled in school, are behind in credits, struggle in a traditional learning environment or are homeschooled.

Prenkert and WAY program technician David Barr will be training the rest of the students on the equipment throughout the week. '€œWe teach them how to get online and attach emails, familiarize them with the Mac and the learning community,'€ Prenkert said. At the end of the day, the students take the equipment home and are ready to begin the online classes.

When the students set up their email accounts, they will already have a message from their mentor teacher. '€œMentor teachers are there for tips, guidance and support. Basically, they are the student'€™s best cheerleader,'€ Prenkert said.

If the students pass the 20-credit program, they will receive a high school diploma. And as an added bonus, they get to keep the technology. Prenkert said the WAY program is focused on project-based learning, allowing students the freedom to do projects in a variety of formats, including PowerPoint, video or multimedia presentations.

The first year of the program is supported by $6,846 in state funding, coupled with a Michigan Department of Education grant. For more information about the WAY Niles Program, visit www.nilesschools.org or contact Rich Klemm at 684-9554 or rich.klemm@nilesschools.org, or John Fonash, academic adviser, at john.fonash@nilesschools.org.