Local high school creates modern study hall

Bellwood, Blair County, Pa. - At Bellwood Antis High School, traditional study hall is a thing of the past.

Now students are encouraged to sign up for an elective where they are in charge.

At the beginning of the school year the high school opened a new media center.

A cafe is next door to a tech help desk--both are run by students.

Jamie Forshey, the Director of Instructional Technology and Media, kick-started the idea.

"I just wanted to sort of create an atmosphere where students could feel comfortable and learn," Forshey said.

Both workshops officially got up and running in December.

Kermit Foor, a junior, said it creates a comfortable environment for students to work together.

Foor is just one of 11 students students and faculty can go to for any technical difficulties.

He said it's a good feeling knowing staff believe students are up to the task.

"I think this school is very unique because I think this is one of the things in the district that no one else has done yet," Foor said.

Typically there's a student working either station at all times, along with a teacher.

It's also a learning hub for Special Education students.

Brandon Bickle is a senior in the Special Education Department and said these programs help better prepare students for the future.

Among other tasks, students can take orders and credit their peers accounts; much like they would at a retail job.

"When you're working in the cafe you don't learn from a book," Bickle said.

Carol Beard, the Special Education Director, said "This is an opportunity for him to get skills that when he goes out and is looking for a job, he already has some experience to bring to the table."

"It may not look like a whole lot of learning is taking place here but actually, there is a lot of learning," Forshey said.

According to the district, the project cost about $11,000.

Forshey said all the funding came from the Bellwood School District Foundation and local donations.


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