by MNOHS Executive Director Elissa Raffa
Janet, the mother of a MNOHS summer student told me this story: Her son, Rob, like many varsity athletes wanted to knock off the required health course in the summer. Their family chose the MNOHS Health Issues and Choices course, while most of his teammates and friends chose their district's online option.
One evening, some of Rob's friends we hanging out at Janet's and she invited them to stay for supper. Rob brought a notebook to the supper table and began to take notes.
"What are you doing?" his friends asked.
"My nutrition assignment," he told them. "I'm writing down what I'm eating to analyze it later."
"You're kidding," they said. "You're doing actual work for an online health class?"
"I kind of like it," Rob said. "What do you do?
"We read stuff online and answer the questions. You're doing real work?"
"It's kind of cool," Rob repeated, setting down his pen and picking up his fork.
At MNOHS, 'real work' means active, authentic learning. Whether students are analyzing their nutrient intake in health class, composing melodies in music class, or testing conjectures in geometry, they are engaged in real learning, guided by highly accomplished teachers in the field.
A case in point, MNOHS Health Teacher Bonnie Rosenfield received the 2013 University of MN Women's Physical Education Alumnae Association Helen M. Slocum School of Health Education Honorary Award in recognition of her leadership, dedication and service to school health education. At MNOHS, Ms. Rosenfield's students are engaged in real learning, developing information literacy and critical thinking skills so that they can assess for themselves the validity of health-related claims, make the best possible choices, and develop the best possible habits.
At MNOHS, all learning is real learning. We celebrate students who are pursuing their passions--in academics, athletics, or the arts. All students have their priorities and preferences, and sometimes just want to cross a graduation requirement off their list. Each MNOHS teacher, however, does everything possible to help students engage meaningfully in each course, because every student deserves a high-quality education.