Speaking to the Montgomery County School Board this week, Blacksburg High School Assistant Principal Adam Simpson presented a way to use a $50,000 Virginia Department of Education High School Innovation Grant to reinvent the high school curriculum.

The lgeaming, conference-center-like campus of Blacksburg High School, which is joining other local high schools like Radford in a project-based learning approach.

“We are very excited about this project and have been working on since July 2018,” Simpson said.

He said that a committee of BHS teachers has put together a plan to restructure the first two years of the high school experience.  The Bruin Academy will be a half-day school within in a school, with an alternate school bell schedule, for 25-50 ninth grade students starting next school year.

These freshman students will be taught interdisciplinary courses with co-teaching teams and project-based learning.  There will be an emphasis on personalized learning by increasing student freedom related to his/her choice, voice, pace and place. Teachers will co-create content and learning targets.

The freshman year in the Bruin Academy would have a course where English 9 and World History One would be integrated.  Another course would meld Environmental Science with Health and Physical Education.  Algebra would be a standalone class.  The sophomores would be offered a combined course of English 10 with Earth Science, Principles of Technology with World…

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