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September 11, 2013

New programs highlight back-to-school season

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Macomb Community College instructor Jim Carlson explains a concept to Design Your Future & Development Academy student Megan Balfour, 17, of Warren, during a class on drawing for product design at the college’s South Campus Sept. 4. The class is one of many new courses at the college this fall.
Design Your Future & Development Academy students Rick McQuiston, 17, of Warren, left, and Joshua Ahlstrom, 17, also of Warren, right, work on an exercise together during the class. It is one of many new classes at the college. The program focuses on various steps of the design process.
 

MACOMB COUNTY — Even though Clintondale Community Schools has been under a deficit reduction plan with the State of Michigan the last few years, educators haven’t forgotten that teaching is at the district’s core.

In an effort to provide additional learning tools for students, school officials purchased more than 300 Chromebook computers for Clintondale Middle School and Clintondale High School students to use this school year. The Chromebooks, which come with a keyboard, are personal computers that can be logged on from any computerized device, such as the iPhone or laptop. School began Sept. 3.

“It’s a thinned-down laptop. It’s all part of this movement toward the cloud. They’re saving documents in the cloud,” CCS Board President Jason Davidson said. “It’s customized to get the computerized power of a computer. The Chromebook is relying in the storage in the cloud. Instead of running on a local device it’s running on a server. It is where technology is going.”

Davidson said the cost of the Chromebook is about one-third less than the cost of the iPad.

“(The Chromebook) can do more. It allows us to extend the student learning and work beyond the classroom,” he said. “They’re easier to control and upgrade. Students can utilize them for history and social studies research, and writing reports.”

This past summer, the district’s technology department worked to install the wiring necessary for the Chromebooks. Because only 300 were purchased, the students will have to share the Chromebooks with each other.

“They’ll check them out in the morning and check them back in before they go home,” Davidson said, adding that not all classes will need them.

Another change was the installation of new furniture inside the Santilli Library, which both CMS and CHS students use. Davidson said the Steelcase company, based in Grand Rapids, donated the new desks and chairs for the media center.

Although summer flew by for the board president, he is ready for the new year. 

“The staff has been here a week now,” he said last week. “It is exciting to see the buses rolling in, the students rolling in.”

Macomb Community College students went back to school Aug. 19, some taking advantage of several new programs offered for the fall 2013 semester.

Offered for the first time this year at MCC is the Design Your Future & Development Academy. The new option — offered through Early College of Macomb — provides students a chance to earn a high school diploma and 65-plus college credits that can be applied to an associate of science degree in product development technology.

The program focuses on various steps of the design process, including creative idea development, using computer-aided design to create 3-D renderings, developing a prototype and creating a tangible product.

“We’ve established the Design & Development Academy as a fantastic opportunity for high school students to accelerate their launch into this career area,” Joe Petrosky, MCC dean, engineering and advanced technology, said in a prepared statement. “The resurgence of the automotive and manufacturing sectors has heightened demand for skilled design professionals. This program not only provides the necessary classroom education but also includes important networking opportunities with industry experts.”

This year, MCC also is offering a revamped entrepreneurship program that can set students on two different paths. One option is for students with a desire to work in a business that emphasizes constant innovation. The second path is molded for students with plans to start a small business. A certificate and an associate degree are available for both opportunities.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.