Case Study | Connecting Students With Real-Life Problems At NeoCity Academy | Key Code Media, Inc.
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Connecting Students With Real-Life Problems At NeoCity Academy

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Connecting Students With Real-Life Problems At NeoCity Academy
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Real-World Learning Amplified By EdTech

As a STEM magnet school, NeoCity Academy is on the frontlines of giving students the skills they’ll need to solve the world’s biggest problems. So why not start by asking the students what problems they see in their own communities?

That’s the driving question for students at NeoCity. It's a question that has already produced incredible projects and ideas from students at the new school that will send off its first-ever graduating class this spring.

Principal Michael Meechin believes schools are responsible for making these real-world connections.

Partnership With Global Aerospace Firm Brings Learning To Life For NeoCity Students

A partnership with international research institute Imec is one example of the dynamic learning opportunities students are experiencing at NeoCity.

It was through this connection that a group of students had a research project approved for a ride into outer space. Imec’s contract with Blue Origin paved the way for these students to request their project ride along on a future flight.

NeoCity just happens to be physical neighbors with Imec in the brand new technology park where they are both located. Being in close proximity to the research institute allows students to quickly access Imec's staff and resources for various projects.

Beyond the actual learning taking place, students benefit from getting to see the inner workings of a potential career path.

Dr. Jeremy Mares is a research scientist at Imec. He loves working with NeoCity students because he’s reminded of how exciting his work is when he sees it through their eyes.

The biggest lesson he hopes to teach them? That the work of a scientist is never finished.

Teaching Students To Embrace Failure

NeoCity Academy expects, and even encourages, students to experience failure as they tackle real-world challenges. In fact, Principal Michael Meechin says that failure is “essential.”

A Vision For Connecting New Students

Sometimes the real-world problem you need to solve is in your own school. That’s what Jenna and Autumn discovered when they started at NeoCity. 

Because it was a brand new school there weren’t older students on campus to serve as examples to the incoming kids. And because it’s a magnet school, students come from all over the district and many don’t know anyone. 

Jenna and Autumn saw kids who were struggling and decided to do something about it. So they approached the school’s counselors with the idea to create a peer mentoring program. The counselors were keen to help the idea come to fruition. They knew that a peer connection offers something that an adult counselor cannot.

Jenna and Autumn have expanded the program to include matching based on interests, class schedules, and

PLTW learning pathways. The goal is to foster true friendships instead of a connection that only lasts the first few weeks of school.

This connects back to the school’s emphasis on the need for failure.

NeoCity principal Michael Meechin knows that to prepare his students for the 21st century workforce, technical literacy is as important a skill as any. 

NeoCity students are presented with curriculum that requires them to identify real-world challenges, and then use the ample technology at their disposal to collaborate and solve their chosen issues.

SMART is proud to support the innovative approach to education that Meechin and the NeoCity staff are spearheading. 

And as a brand new STEAM school, NeoCity places a high value on the fact that SMART shares one of their core values: a commitment to continuous growth. 

The commitment to continuously iterating on their product is a great model for us, he said. We know that they're going to continue to support and continue to improve on their products which is what we want to do here for our curriculum. NeoCity Academy expects, and even encourages, students to experience failure as they tackle real-world challenges. In fact, Principal Michael Meechin says that failure is “essential.”