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More than a dozen Little Elm High School students are taking part in a new program that will advance a student’s voice to the next level. The Accelerate student leadership program is designed to work in collaboration with District professionals to identify problems and find solutions through projects that fall within a student’s career pathway.
Hayden Kruzel, a LEHS senior, is a business marketing student. He heard of the new program last spring and wanted to explore the new practicum course. “I am always looking to try something new.” Kruzel and his team in the morning are working with the afternoon students to establish the foundation of the program, beginning with their professional working space. “Right now, we are working as a group to design our own space for future Accelerate students. We are planning within the budget given to us, which is really cool. I haven’t been able to do that as a student,” said Kruzel.
Manuel Castillo, Tech App teacher at Prestwick, is the facilitator of the morning class. Eboni Hammond, business and marketing teacher at LEHS, is the facilitator in the afternoon. Both classes meet at Zellars Center for Learning and Leadership, the District’s Support Service Center. The facilitators are there to guide the students. “At this level, the Accelerate students are given a deadline to get their projects completed and up to a professional standard. We don’t tell them how, where, when, and so on. They are responsible for creating their management processes, how they spend their budget, and use their creativity,” said Castillo.
Accelerate students will be given real-world problems throughout the year to find solutions through projects and working collaboratively with each other and District professionals. Cecelia Jones, a former CTE teacher who now works in Communications Services at Little Elm ISD, knows firsthand that students have great ideas. “We need to tap into the young and brilliant minds of our students. We are in the business of educating students and providing every opportunity we can to accelerate them as they advance their knowledge and skills. I am a firm believer that students can do amazing things, and this is a way for them to showcase their talents while having an influence on what we do here at Support Services.”
Accelerate is open to LEHS juniors and seniors who will be taking practicum-level courses in the fall and spring. Students go through a rigorous process will be given the chance to apply in the spring. Accelerate is a full-year course and meets every day at Zellars.