New program expanding at J.L. Mann High School - FOX Carolina 21

New program expanding at J.L. Mann High School

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A different kind of class is in session at J.L. Mann high school.

There are pencils and paper, but there are also laptops and smartphones. And instead of lecturing in front of the class, teachers rove the room.

"It is project-based, meaning students do all of their learning through projects," said Charlie Mayfield, the school's principal.

Mayfield said students work on those projects together.

“It's a very social environment so you are not sitting there quietly listening to a teacher lecture on and on,” student Sam Stuckert said.

“I've been able to get more involved and I can ask more questions,” student Amanda Fischer said.

J.L. Mann High School is the second school in Greenville County, and only the eighth in the state, that participates in the New Tech Network, a nonprofit organization that helps schools nationwide bring innovation into the classroom.

“The first day I was like, wow, this is really something different from normal school,” student Sharan Ravishankr said.

School officials said the program mimics real life, giving students additional freedoms and preparing them for life after school.

“We feel like training the kids now for unknown environments, helping them to be creative problem solvers, being able to work collaboratively is crucial for them to be successful workers in the future,” Mayfield said.

Right now, J.L. Mann has a group of 120 students enrolled in the program, but next year they're adding 150 new spots for incoming freshman and a handful of sophomores.

According to school officials, anyone interested just needs to sign-up. Officials said the program is free and open to any student in the Greenville County school district.

“It is new, so I think some people are hesitant, and our students at J.L. Mann have done very well in the traditional model so I'm sure people are like, 'Why should I try something new?'" said Mayfield.

But he said he stands behind the program so much, his own daughter is enrolled.

“This is the program I chose for my own child because I saw the benefits on what I thought it could do for her," he said.

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