AITR is unique in design from any other school or academy in Volusia County. This generates many questions. Below are some of our frequently asked questions. If you do not see your question here, please feel free to send us a message on the Contact Us page.
How is AITR different?
In 2009, the director of the academy, Dru Urquhart, wrote a proposal called, “The “New” High School” to create the Academy of Information Technology & Robotics. This new school within a school opened in 2010 and was designed to teach students high-tech skills in a collaborative environment where they are encouraged to be innovative and take ownership of their own education. A team of seven teachers works together to create and facilitate inter-disciplinary projects with central focuses on science, technology and engineering. These projects are facilitated over time periods we call hexmesters. Hexmesters are six weeks each and there are six of them in a school year. We’ve replaced textbooks with technology and custom-created curriculum. Instead of following the traditional bell schedule, we have flexible blocks of learning time. We’ve also created a mentoring system where each teacher serves as a mentor to a group of 25 students for their entire four years of high school. Mentor teachers track their students whole academic progress, communicate with families and other teachers, and also advise mentees in other aspects of life pertaining to education.
What is the curriculum like in AITR?
For the most part, days in AITR have three parts: Math followed by challenge time in the mornings, and technology time in the afternoons.
AITR uses a “hexmester” design to deliver curriculum to students. “Hexmesters” are six week periods based on the model in FIRST Robotics and the six week robot build season. The six week period gives enough time for students to complete a comprehensive project, but also creates the sense of urgency that often exists in the business world. Each grade level works through six hexmesters each year. The hexmester is designed around a specific challenge or problem based case. Students are divided into teams and throughout the six weeks they work on their challenge plus integrated material from every subject in the curriculum to resolve, build or design their solution to the challenge. At the end of each six week period students have some type of “deliverable” (e.g. a prototype or a mapped out solution) that they present to teams of teachers, business partners, administrators, and other community members.
For a specific outline of the course options included in each grade level, please click here.
For specific information about math, please click here.
I’ve heard that students just teach themselves, what’s that all about?