GOSHEN — Goshen Middle School will implement a new program this coming school year that teaches students to master academic skills while also focusing on the mechanics of bicycle repair.
The program, called Changing Gears, is designed for students who struggle in a traditional classroom and need a more hands-on approach in which to learn and grow.
Steve Hope, assistant superintendent of secondary education at Goshen Community Schools, informed the school board of the launching of the program this week
This program will be in partnership between Goshen Community Schools, and Goshen’s community bicycle garage, Chain Reaction Bicycle Program, Hope said.
The idea started when GCS administrators visited Wawasee High School’s Boarding School, where students enrolled make skateboards and surfboards.
“Goshen has long been a community concentrating on quality of life and has invested heavily in walking and biking paths,” Hope said. “Combining a great school with a great community resource seemed like a natural fit for the Goshen Community for our unique version of an alternative school.”
The Chain Reaction Bicycle Project is a non-profit promoting bicycling in the Goshen through a bicycle sales and repair shop, offering increased access to bicycles and bicycle repairs for all people including those with low income and people required to perform community service hours.
Hope said he met with the Chain Reaction Bicycle Project board and said they are thrilled about starting a partnership with GCS.
“One of their goals was to have a greater outreach to students in the Goshen community, and they hadn’t found any inroads on how to do that,” he said. “So, they hope this project will help them along the way.”
The program will be housed in one of the portables at Goshen Middle School.
Students will spend part of the day building and repairing bicycles and part of the day in an online curriculum.
The program will be a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) class with practical and relevant ties between academics and bicycle building, the program handout states.
Hope said students will have access to counselors, teachers, administrators, the school nurse and coaches. The program will use two existing teachers and not require any additional personnel costs.
The program will require $3,000 worth of equipment and tools.
If the program proves to be successful at the middle school, Hope said he would see about the possibilities of launching a similar program at the high school.