Teen Zone at Atlantic High School meets on Fridays from 3:30 until 5:30, though most students stay until 6. We have 17 students who have come together to form a place where each of them belongs, despite their differences. We encourage our students to get involved around campus and connect with other student groups and academies. During our weekly 2 hour after-school meetings, we focus on student success. We offer mandatory tutoring during the first hour, which includes homework help. Students are taught to advocate for themselves. We review their progress towards graduation and adjust plans to assure that each student is meeting the goals needed to succeed. Students review their grades and create plans for improvement. We follow-up each quarter to see if the plan is being followed and whether or not it is working for each student.
The second hour of Teen Zone is dedicated to different activities that build character, leadership, awareness, and togetherness. This year, we used several incidents around our county and state to discuss bias, racism and tolerance. We used art to create mind-maps that help reveal how we see ourselves. The students designed a campaign to collect socks for the homeless in our school and community after researching why socks were important to this demographic. They researched the homeless population for our county and student homelessness. They then designed a plan to create awareness within our school and collect socks that would be donated.
We use fieldtrips as a way for our students to experience education in a new way and give back to our community. Every field trip is followed with discovering new local restaurants and cuisine. This year, students learned how STEM is tied to the Daytona Ice Arena. All of them experienced ice skating for the first time. Our group made dog and cat treats at Halifax Humane Society. (One or two students may have tasted an organic treat…ew!) They learned about different ways the public can help homeless animals and then they were able to feed the animals in the shelter. AHS TZ students dressed their best when we attended the opera, La Traviata, at the Peabody auditorium. Afterwards, we participated in a Q & A session with the performers. Not only was this a unique experience, but several students discovered they enjoyed opera.