Feb. 25, 2009: Learning project a great opportunity

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To The Editor:
After reading Bill Lonecke’s letter last week, I felt compelled to write and make your readers aware of The Experiential Learning Project.
This project began from an idea, multiple discussions with local teenagers, a successful curriculum used in over 1,500 school districts nationwide, and several meetings over one summer five years ago. It has since grown and evolved, and there are now multiple components to The Experiential Learning Project. In short, the project’s mission is to serve as a bridge between the high school classroom, the community and the working world. Students from 12-24. with a focus on 14-22-year-olds, are encouraged and assisted in identifying their interests, curiosities, strengths and weaknesses. They are then offered multiple opportunities to explore those interests, including attending workshops, volunteering, shadowing, mentoring and eventually working for professionals in their areas of interest. There is a community service/interaction requirement as well as measurable student-based goals towards individual, group and community projects that must be achieved.
In addition to assisting youth in fully blossoming, there is a formal academic aspect to The Experiential Learning Project as well. Short and long-term student-driven projects are being established that tie hands-on, real world experience with local professionals, directly to the state mandated regents and non-regents curriculums. Depending on demand, there may also be an opportunity for students to formally conduct research in their interests that will allow them to enter regional, state and national academic competitions. These formal academic projects will be directed by New York State certified secondary teachers and mentored by local, national and international experts in the relevant areas.
The Experiental Learning Project is a locally based, non-profit project that operates entirely on grants, tuition, donations, creative, dynamic, community based fund-raising events, and working partnerships with school districts, businesses, agencies, individuals and institutions near and far. The project’s next phase will be formally launched this spring, to coincide with the returning college students who are a critical part of this effort. There will be several planning opportunities for students, businesses and anyone interested in the design of the spring launch and future efforts. Please look for announcements.
If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please contact me. Thank you.

Kenneth J. Meskill,
Arkville