Discovery High School students are now working on a real-world project that addresses the challenges the City of Newton is currently facing. The “For the Civic Good” initiative seeks to engage citizens and build community across public-private and civic sectors while advancing practical learning for students. The overall goal is to foster the transformation of Newton from a small city into a smart small city by connecting schools, government, citizens, and businesses with technology-based solutions.
Twyla McDermott from Second Nature Technology, a technology consulting company based in Newton, and Michael Waltuch, product engineer for the mapping software company ESRI, have volunteered to work with DHS students in the months-long project. The group has already met to discuss the students’ community interests and combine those interests with the city government’s needs in order to define the scope of the project. Newton City Planning Director Randy Williams and Newton Main Street Coordinator Shannon Johnson are helping students develop and implement a plan that will have a positive and substantial impact on the city.
Students have also developed their own app that they will use in the field as they collect data throughout the city. Subsequently, they will analyze their data and continue to refine their purpose and plan. Ultimately, the students will develop a presentation that incorporates story maps and high-tech graphics to present to the City of Newton. Topics currently being discussed by the group include the revitalization of downtown, attracting new businesses, retaining our young population, filling empty buildings, and general beautification.
Discovery is a project-based school where students take the initiative to tackle real-world problems that impact our community in a variety of ways. Students Zach Perry, Jacob Dillingham, Jalen Johnson, Max Bailey, Tanner Abernathy, Jackson Lamb, Marisa Carlton, Liz Hornick, and Matthew Byrd are the student-leaders in “For the Civic Good.” These students are working hard to make our community a better place to live.