Kennedy Radar | Staff Writer
Peyton Wagner | Staff Writer

Passion Projects are an opportunity for students to explore learning with more choice and voice.

This year, Mason City Schools is giving kids two extra days off, called Personal Learning days, to get work done on their Passion Projects. Passion Projects are aimed at getting students out of the classroom and on their own exploring their own fields of interest.

Seventh grade language arts teacher Joseph Carraher said while some students might perceive the PLD as an extra day off, others will use the day to learn about something they want to learn about.

“I think there is a certain group of kids that will do nothing and make it an extra day off,” Carraher said. “I think there´s also a good group of people that will use it the way it is supposed to be used, which is to enhance their learning about something they want to learn about.”

Seventh grader Shailee Sankhala said that the PLD is just an extra day off. “People won’t learn anything,” Sankhala said. “They’re just gonna stay home and do nothing, like me.”

While many students have elected not to participate in PLDs, seventh grade student Betsy Areddy said she has taken on a project of her own and thinks the projects will help some students.

“I´m learning how to play the ukulele, so what I’ve done is learned how to play a few songs.” Areddy said. “I do think that most people aren’t going to do anything on their Personal Learning Days, because they view it as just a day off school. I think maybe if we did a Personal Learning Day but in school, kids would be forced to do it.¨

Eighth grade assistant principal Lauren Gentene said she believes that holding kids accountable will motivate them to do their project.

“I think by holding all students accountable to having to present their Ignite Talk by the end of the year or present to the administrators before they’re promoted to the next grade, we’re at least making sure that they do a Passion Project,” Gentene said. “Now I don’t feel like I need to micromanage whether the Passion Project occurs on that exact day, but what I’m saying is we value it enough we have given you these two days off to make sure that is at least when you get it done.”