It’s BIG… on Boyson!
Empowering student achievement is a core goal of the Linn-Mar Community School District’s mission. Providing various pathways enables our students the opportunity to ensure their success.
This school year, Iowa BIG offers Linn-Mar High School students an additional opportunity to chart their path to success.This new opportunity for Linn-Mar students comes with the expansion of the Iowa BIG initiative-based high school experience. In the program, students gain real-world agency and time management skills by solving community problems with nonprofit, business, and government agencies.
This new opportunity for Linn-Mar students comes with the expansion of the Iowa BIG initiative-based high school experience. In the program, students gain real-world agency and time management skills by solving community problems with nonprofit, business, and government agencies.
Those who attend call like to call it Big on Boyson (Road) and there are quite a few who do. With Linn-Mar opening its own extension of the program — now in its fifth year — 40 students from Linn-Mar in addition to students from three area districts participate in the program there. The program operates out of the second floor of the Kerndt Brothers Bank at 600 Boyson Rd.
This year, there are 15 Linn-Mar students who participate in the Iowa Big program at the Cedar Rapids location.
Students choose the community-based projects they want to work on at Iowa BIG from a project pool that is custom generated from the community. Each project requiring the participation of at least two students.
The program has been well received by students, staff, and the community. “There is so much energy here,” said Liz Sheka, a teacher at Iowa BIG. “The students have really taken a hold of the program,” she stated. The energy is clearly felt when entering Iowa BIG and it’s been noticed by school board members, administration, and staff who have visited the location.
Each project requires a high-level of energy in addition to lots of research and work with professionals in local organizations. Students are able to follow their passion and take ownership in their work. “That’s what motives the students,” Sheka said. “They don’t have to be here, they choose to be here.”
For Katie Andreasen, a senior at Linn-Mar, class discussion is her favorite part of a traditional classroom, but she sought more. “A big part of why I joined Iowa BIG was for the opportunity to work with other students.” She went on to add that she wanted to get more involved and connected with the community. “You get to work directly with kids from other different schools and organizations,” she said. “It’s very beneficial for students to get to come here.”
For Junior Sophia Lange, Iowa BIG has “opened our horizons and given us a better experience.” Lange feels Iowa BIG will provide her with the experiences that she will need later in life. “Working with people with wide backgrounds and diversity will allow you to be more professional in your career.”
According to Iowa BIG teacher Mark Matson, “there is no limit to what students can or want to do.” It’s great to see their passion on the projects their working on drive their learning, he said. “Here, they are able to take a project in whichever direction they feel it needs to go in.”
Each student’s heart is in every project they do, Matson said. “Iowa BIG isn’t something that students get done. Iowa BIG is something that the students do.”
Iowa BIG prepares students for the real world and they volunteer to be there. Students learn time-management skills, responsibility, communication skills by giving presentations and speeches.
Iowa BIG will host an open house at the Boyson Rd. location. It’s in the upper level of the Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank building, 600 Boyson Road NE (near Java Creek Cafe). The Open House will be held Wednesday, November 8, from 6:00 – 8:00 PM. Students will be on hand to share their projects, answer questions, and discuss their Iowa BIG experience.
Learn more about the program by visiting the Iowa BIG website.