High school students to make digital portfolios

A new program launched Friday at Carson High School will allow students to display their best work -- somewhere other than the refrigerator door.

For one hour each month, students will meet with their advisers to gather papers, poems and other assignments to include in digital portfolios.

"Remember, the digital portfolios are not extra work," said former student body president Brian Rebholtz during an introductory video. "They're just there to showcase your best work to the public."

A student's portfolio is posted to the school's computer network and may be burned onto a compact disc or e-mailed to a college or prospective employer. Eventually, the work will appear on the Internet.

Freshman Joe McKinney has an idea what kind of assignments he will include in his portfolio.

"The ones I get A's on I'll probably put in there," he said.

During the accreditation process two years ago, school officials received the recommendation to increase students' pride in their work.

Media technology teacher Brian Reedy and a committee made up of teachers from all departments set out to make it happen.

They organized a workbook to guide students through the process of recording a digital portfolio and set up a grading system similar to the one used to grade senior projects -- a three-part project required for graduation.

Members of the business community and staff from Western Nevada Community College also shared time and talent to help organize the digital portfolio system.

"We have a community that believes in progress and a staff that's not afraid to try," Reedy said. "They all knocked themselves out."

Students were divided into groups of about 20 students in the same grade. Each group was assigned an adviser and the group will continue to meet together once a month until graduation -- similar to the homeroom concept so students feel a part of a group and are less likely to get overlooked.

A.J. Fimbres, 15, was unsure of the idea at first.

"I didn't think it would be a good idea but now it's cool," he said. "There's cool people in here and the teacher is fun. It's not boring."

Counselors and administrators joined teachers in serving as advisers.

Principal Glen Adair encouraged his group to use the portfolio as a way to look ahead into future careers and college.

"There is life after high school," he told them. "As a matter of fact, it gets better."

A group of students introduced the new program to the rest of the student body through a soap opera spoof "As the portfolio turns" over digital video Friday morning.

Students will receive a pass or fail evaluation on their portfolios that will be reflected as a citizenship grade on their transcripts.


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