Two years ago, Iowa Falls-Alden High School started an educational experiment. The school, led by then-Principal Tony Neumann, implemented a special short term at the beginning of January, immediately following winter break. J-Term, as it’s called, offers students and teachers a diversion from the normal schedule of English, math and science, and instead focuses on project-based learning. Students take a “class” around a subject that interests them — often the ideas come from the students. The first year those classes included How to Get Away with Murder (a forensic detective class) and Adulting 101 (a class about how to change a tire and understand investments). The term was continued last year, and the third round just wrapped up this year.
The term accomplishes quite a few things in just a few days: