In a meeting with Dr. Kristine Rickey, Megan McDonald (11) and Maddy Gray (11) discuss plans for the school website.

Andrea Salow

Students Build 21st Century Skills in New Class

November 7, 2017

DelCo BEST is a new class offered by West Delaware High School, where students collaborate with local businesses to solve problems identified by students and community members. This community-based class is taught in a flexible setting with the curriculum driven by the needs of students.

Leah Neiers
Tyler Kelley (12), Isaiah Heims (12), Gavin Soppe (11), and Karley VanTheemsche (11) discuss ideas for the remodeling of the chemistry lab with principal Tim Felderman.

According to Principal Tim Felderman, all components of West Delaware’s vision statement are integrated into this class. It deals with relationships, challenging academics, and 21st century skills.

Students addressed six projects during first term.

Senior Kisha Harnack worked with her group to create a marketing plan for West Delaware. Part of this team’s challenge was to redesign the school website making it more appealing and easier to navigate. Another aspect of their challenge was working on how to use social media effectively, as well as using analytics to monitor what is being accessed the most online.

Harnack enjoyed this class and says it helped develop her problem solving skills.  

“It benefitted me to be able to talk to people older than me and to bigger groups,” Harnack said. “It made me more comfortable speaking out.”

A second group worked on a marketing project for the city of Manchester. They looked at ways various age groups in the community connect. Their goal was to figure out effective ways for Manchester businesses to reach their target audience.

Andrea Salow
Karley VanTheemsche presents ideas concerning the new whitewater park kiosk.

Another project involved working with Manchester’s City Manager to design a new kiosk to be located near the whitewater park. Karley VanTheemsche (11) is finalizing this project second quarter.

Two other students were helping Rockwell Collins with various exterior issues. Birds have been nesting in the truck bays, creating problems. Also, water has been pooling in the lawn on one side of the building, and a grassy field needs maintenance.

Felderman is collaborating with another group to redesign the chemistry lab. They are working with a designer and a sales manager as they refine their designs.

The last group is working with Hendersons to create a robot that will automate the process of delivering a cart of parts to a work station.

Madalynn Burke
Team members Kisha Harnack (12), Parker Ostrander (11) and Jim Shover (12) meet with different businesses to discuss the school’s marketing plan.

Partnering up with businesses is beneficial to students, according to teacher Nate Lahr. It helps them create a network within the community and boosts their confidence.

Lahr enjoys working with his students, rather than just directing them.

“It’s something I didn’t anticipate going into teaching math,” Lahr said. “I never thought I’d be in anything like this, so it’s kind of like another opportunity for me.”  

The teachers involved in DelCo Best include Nate Lahr, Taylor Lake, Jordan Pollock and Jennie Voss. All four teachers meet to discuss the class and improvements they would like to make.

DelCo Best is offered all year with Lahr teaching the first semester and Lake teaching the second. Ten students made up the first term class.

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