Durant HS has shown a definite growth in its STEM education options over the last several years. Not only are the Communications Technology I, II, III, and IV classes filled each semester, but the AP Computer Science, AP Chemistry and Physics Honors classes, Web and Digital Design, and the Academy of Information Technology classes are also highly sought after by students who have a flair for technology and do well with a “hands-on” approach to learning.
Gail Jayson, who has an extensive ESE background, has been teaching the Communications Technology program at Durant for many years. She has seen a definite upward movement of students who see the value and pleasure of learning in a hands-on, applied technology environment. According to Jayson, her program has three very important goals. “My students should be able to find answers on their own. They need to appreciate and value becoming adult learners, and they need to realize that smart people do not have all the answers, but they know where to find them.”
This year, many of Durant’s successful STEM students have chosen to apply, and have been accepted, to Florida’s newest university – Florida Polytechnic University (Polytech), located in central Florida near Lakeland. If you have driven up or down Interstate 4, then you have seen the iconic, attractive and unusual building that is the center of the campus, and is known as the Innovation, Science and Technology Building. According to the university’s website, the mission of Florida Polytechnic University is “Prepare 21st century learners in advanced fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to become innovative problem-solvers and high-tech professionals through interdisciplinary teaching, leading-edge research and collaborative local, regional and global partnerships.” That is precisely why Durant High School and other local schools are sending some of their best and brightest to Florida Polytechnic, versus the other traditional university choices in Florida.
Meet Emily Stitt, a Durant senior who is heading to Polytech for several reasons. She says that, “I really like the non-traditional classes and classrooms, and they are one of the few schools that offers the field in which I want to major, which is nanotechnology or nanoengineering.” Tyler Francis, also a senior, likes the “small, focused classrooms.” He has a very specific major, electrodynamics, and hopes that the intense, academic culture at Polytech will help him stay on task and moving forward without so many of the distractions found on traditional campuses.
Please enjoy seeing photos from the classroom of these focused and talented students from Durant High School by viewing the Flickr album below. You can also learn more about Polytech by visiting the website at floridapolytechnic.org. For more information about the Communications & Technology program at Durant HS, go to http://durant.mysdhc.org/Programs/.