CLINTON — Clinton school officials are continuing to shape a pilot program that aims to get high school students valuable real-world experience in a variety of areas throughout their communities.

Superintendent Gary DeLacy and others are working to bring Iowa BIG to Clinton High School sometime during the 2018-2019 academic year, the district leader said at Monday’s regular Clinton School Board meeting. Iowa BIG is a Cedar Rapids-based organization designed to engage students in “authentic community projects, problems and opportunities,” by connecting them more deeply to the people and resources of their communities.

Iowa BIG was created by the community and through the community building efforts of The Gazette Company and The Cedar Rapids Community School District. BIG’s core design principles come directly from the partnership of school and community, according to the organization’s website.

DeLacy said four Clinton High School teachers will travel to Cedar Rapids during the last week of April to complete “immersion training,” becoming more familiar with the program, which hopes to give students “as many contextually-rich experiences as possible so they not only develop basic skills, but more importantly, they can competently use those skills to solve real problems and make new things happen.”

A student marketing committee on behalf of Iowa BIG is slated to come to Clinton on May 16 to further inform those involved about the program. CHS juniors and seniors (who are currently sophomores and juniors) are the target student groups for the committee, as well as potential community business partners.

“Our goal is to get a pilot up and running during the second trimester next year,” DeLacy told board members on Monday. “We’ll still spend some time in the first trimester working out the kinks, and I’ve picked out an area at the (former Ashford University and Mount St. Clare campus) that I think is perfect for it. There are a bunch of conference rooms, then a bigger room where the kids could meet. That would be our off-site place. We’ll be ready to roll.”

DeLacy said he’s hopeful the pilot could include at least “10 to 15 kids using their creativity and innovation” because that’s what they’re going to need to be successful in this program. The selection of those students may occur in the first trimester before the implementation of the program in the second trimester.

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