Faith Academy students visit downtown Salisbury to learn from local business owners, art gallery operators

Published 12:10 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

SALISBURY — Getting students ready for life after graduation is a big part of a teacher’s job, but is there a way to accomplish this that doesn’t involve the classroom? Faith Academy Charter School has figured out how to get students exposed to various kinds of jobs they are learning about.

On Monday morning, a bus full of eighth graders arrived in downtown Salisbury for a “community kaleidoscope, extended learning experience.” Students broke off in groups and spent time at several local businesses that match up with the courses they take in school. Besides core classes like language arts, math, science and social studies, Faith Academy also offers health/physical education, theater arts, visual arts and life skills courses.

Waterworks Visual Art Center, the Rowan Museum, SoulFull Nutrition, Lee Street theatre and Soful Yoga all had someone volunteer to instruct students on their job and had them participate in a variety of activities.

“Students say, ‘Why am I taking this?’ ‘What good is this going to do me?’ So, we have tried to design outside learning experience to bring these things together,” Faith Academy Curriculum and Instruction Supporter Jane Creech said. “Bring what they say in the classroom into reality and to experience this, the real world.”

This was the first time Faith Academy has done this kind of field trip. Teachers collaborated so the courses would translate outside of the classroom and then they reached out the businesses and establishments to find ones with staff to speak to the students.

“Add to the whole body, the whole person. Not just the math, the language arts parts, but the creative and expressive side of every person, too. To enrich their lives in a city. How does that come together?” Creech said.

Even when they get back on the bus, the students still have some work to do. For the rest of the week, they will be be doing special projects that show “how they will leave their footprint and their impact as the first eighth grade class” at Faith Academy, according to Creech. One group will be putting in plants for the school’s pollinator garden and building birdhouses on campus. Another will be making puppets for a theater production that will be used by future students and another will be making mosaic tiles for stepping stones in the school’s reading garden.

For the chaperones, it was a chance for them to find out more about how Salisbury businesses function on a day-to-day basis too.

“I think it’s been a wonderful trip for students to see what the county offers and what the city of Salisbury offers. A lot of things that we saw and learned today were things that we didn’t know about. So, we need to take advantage of our wonderful city of Salisbury and Rowan County,” school board member Tim Williams said.

Most importantly, the students seemed to grasp the significance of the places they visited and how that might get them thinking of what they want to do for a career and to think about what drives them.

“I really enjoyed the theater. It was a good experience to learn about the equipment and what they’re doing right now,” Faith Academy student Carson Halpin said. “In general, it was good to see what was happening in Salisbury.”