7th-12th Grade Students Learn How to Channel Their Passions into a Career

Schools and Libraries

February 17, 2015

Seven hundred 7th 12th grade students from Deer Park, Finneytown, Norwood and Reading school districts, and the Learning Center of North Norwood are benefiting from a unique curriculum that uses music to develop leadership skills and community service opportunities. This new initiative kicked off February 9 at the "Find Your Spark" event sponsored by the Hamilton County Educational Service Center's Learning Re-Engineered initiative and Usher's New Look Foundation. Utilizing music as the vehicle, students will participate in three separate programs at their respective schools - Rock and Roll Academy, Music Industry Leadership 101 (developed by Usher's New Look) and Smart Horizons, a career-based on-line education course.  The focus is on helping students identify and channel their talents and passions into careers and community service.


Learning RE-Engineered is designed to re-ignite the learner within by re-designing classroom instructional practice to meet the reality of today's fast paced, technologically advanced world.  Students will take ownership of their learning using these three highly engaging programs aimed at keeping learners in school and preparing them for careers and/or college by giving them the opportunity to attain work credentials.  The Hamilton County Educational Service Center and the districts of Deer Park, Finneytown, Norwood and Reading received a $7.8 million award through the Straight A Grant, which they'll use to sustain the program over the next five years.


"The participating students are struggling and graduating high school without the 'assurance' of employability." said Sally Demmler, Director of Intervention and Support Services at Hamilton County Educational Service Center (HCESC).  "With the disengaged student population continuing to rise each school year, this initiative is designed to transform teaching practices to meet the needs of students so they can graduate career-ready." 


The Rock and Roll Academy (RRA) takes a whole child approach to learning.  RRA sets up an intentional learning atmosphere in which students learn essential life skills, such as self-advocacy, collaboration, negotiation, mindfulness, and grit by leveraging the power of music and student ownership.  Over the four days of the event, RRA facilitators work alongside teachers from the participating schools, who have also received special training.


"Finneytown is thrilled to participate in the Rock and Roll Academy," said Shawn Maus, Communications Coordinator, Finneytown Local School District.  "We cannot wait to see how the process plays out, beginning with the students forming their own band.  And the culmination is the students performing in a full-blown rock concert what's better than that?"


Usher's New Look Foundation launched a cutting edge, digital education course for students in grades 7-12, entitled Music Industry Leadership 101 (MIL).  MIL 101 exposes students to more than 30 careers in the music and entertainment industry and provides them with direction and guidance a pathway to success in whichever career they choose. 


"Music Industry Leadership 101 will fit seamlessly with the Deer Park Career Academies and Deer Park's goal to make sure all our students are college and/or career ready," comments Jay Phillips, Director of Curriculum, Deer Park Community City School District.  "MIL 101 focuses on understanding the media industry, learning to identify your brand, the importance of marketing, career exploration and leadership, and teamwork in the industry all elements Deer Park strives to instill in our students' curriculum."


For more information about Learning RE-Engineered, contact Michelle Clapsaddle at michelle.clapsaddle@hcesc.org, 513-674-4223, or visit the Learning RE-Engineered website and Facebook page.