Three Atlanta schools have been selected for a grant to solve real world problems identified by the United Nations.
Atlanta Public Schools has collaborated with Ciena Corporation and Digital Promise to provide a unique learning opportunity for Benjamin E. Mays High School, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and B.E.S.T. Academy 9-12 educators and students.
Through an application process, these three schools were awarded a $45,000 grant to provide digital tools and resources to engage students in the Ciena Solutions Challenge, where students solve real-world problems identified in the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals that impact them and their individual communities.
Students will collaborate with each other to come up with a real-world problem they want to solve and use various tools and processes such as digital fabrication, coding, robotics, and media production that support student creativity, innovation, and invention to solve that problem.
“Expanding this collaboration exposes students to digital tools and industry level tools that are rarely seen in a traditional classroom,” APS Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Technology Dr. Aleigha Henderson-Rosser said. “Students learn how to use these tools to really increase critical thinking around standards-based instruction.”
Through this program, Benjamin E. Mays High School, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and B.E.S.T. Academy now join a cohort of model schools participating in the Ciena Solutions Challenge. Teachers will gain professional learning experiences to guide their students through the creation of solutions to problems that affect them and the world that they live in.
Students that are a part of this initiative are encouraged to think critically about their lives both inside and outside of school to gain an understanding that they truly can make a change to those things that matter most to them.
“This program is an amazing opportunity for the students involved to become changemakers in their communities and leave their impact and legacy for years to come,” APS Instructional Director Dr. Natasha Rachell said. “Through this collaboration with Ciena, our students will be exposed to and learn how to use 21st-century digital tools and resources, thus gaining valuable knowledge that they can carry with them as they matriculate to college, career, and beyond.”
“The Ciena Solutions Challenge model school program is a unique investment of professional learning for teachers, mentoring for student teams, and state-of-the-art learning labs that support hands-on, inquiry-based learning,” President and CEO of Digital Promise Jean-Claude Brizard said. “We are thrilled to launch the first U.S.-based cohort of Ciena Solutions Challenge model schools at Atlanta Public Schools, a cohort selected for its commitment to supporting students to make a positive difference in their communities. We look forward to working with teachers in the cohort and celebrating students’ creativity and innovation as they engage in the Challenge.”
Atlanta Public Schools join the first cohort of Ciena Solutions Challenge model schools from Ottawa Catholic School Board and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
“When students are given the chance to explore real challenges in their local communities, it is amazing to see the big ideas and innovative solutions they create,” President and CEO of Ciena Gary Smith said. “The Ciena Solutions Challenge gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences in the latest technologies and also provides an immersive learning environment that fosters digital skills that will be critical to our digital economy.”