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Cedar Rapids’ new City View magnet high school looking for students
The project-based learning program will launch in August 2023
CEDAR RAPIDS — Parent information meetings are being held this month for families interested in sending their rising ninth- and 10th-graders to City View Community High School — a new project-based magnet school in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.
Parent information meetings are open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 22, in the auditorium at McKinley STEAM Academy, 620 10th St. SE, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 26, at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
“A lot of kids have great experiences in traditional high school, and it’s the right place for them,” said Trace Pickering, former director of Iowa BIG. “There are some kids that for whatever reason it isn’t. I’m excited the district is offering another choice for those families. It’s really about what kind of learning environment feels best for you.”
Iowa BIG — a concept championed by The Gazette’s parent company as the community rebuilt after the historic 2008 flood — is a part-time program where high school students team up with businesses to work on projects. Pickering — who retired from Iowa BIG earlier this year — is a part-time consultant for City View.
City View students will achieve academic standards through the Edgenuity online learning program, which is what students use who are enrolled in Cedar Rapids Virtual Academy. Online learning at City View, however, will be done primarily in the classroom, where teachers can answer questions as needed.
This frees up teacher time to focus on the project-based learning aspect of the program. “The advantage we see is if a student has online courses, the computer does the heavy lifting,” Pickering said.
A school day at City View would include time for online learning, community and project-based learning and seminars.
The online learning at City View will be “driven deeper through project-based learning … pushing students further in their knowledge and learning will happen through that lens,” said Dan DeVore, principal of the high school magnet program and Iowa BIG.
“I want City View to be for all students in Cedar Rapids — a student that might be bored in their classes and wants to explore what’s out there,” DeVore said. “We know there are some ties to friend groups and things like that will make it hard to leave a traditional high school experience, and we get that. The goal is to build those same ecosystems in our buildings.”
Earlier this week, students in the Iowa BIG program pitched entrepreneurial ideas to community members and partners from around Cedar Rapids. Pitch sessions like this are “conduits” for community and business leaders to network and build relationships with each other and students, DeVore said.
“We’ve learned a lot in 10 years at Iowa BIG,” Pickering said. “It’s going to be similar in that we want students at City View out in the community, engaged in projects they’re interested in.”
City View “can make a big contribution” to helping businesses in Cedar Rapids find qualified workers who are willing to stay, Pickering said.
“So many students — for whatever reason — don’t think there’s any opportunity here,” Pickering said. “We just want to make sure they understand in this city there is almost any career they would want.”
School officials are exploring downtown Cedar Rapids for a location for the school.
Officials are beginning to recruit up to 200 primarily rising ninth- and 10th-graders to enroll in the school for the 2023-24 school year. The school will eventually serve up to 400 ninth- to 12th-graders. If there are more than 200 students interested in attending next fall, the district will use a lottery system to select and accept students to the program.
The school will not offer athletics or music, which students can still find at their local high school. Other Cedar Rapids high schools have between 1,300 and 1,700 students each.
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