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New Class Period for Passion Projects



Date: 2021/11/10

Bay Haven middle schoolers have a new opportunity this school year to fit fun into their day.


“We have high expectations of our students, and we believe that if students are pushed to do more, they will rise to the challenge,” said Bay Haven Principal Nelson Stephenson. “Rigor is very important along with relevance of the material and relationships established between students and their teachers. To this end I sought out ways for us to maintain our rigor but also to provide our students with an opportunity to work with their teachers in a different, and less stressful way”.


In early 2021, Nelson tasked middle school teachers with developing a “passion project,” a set of curriculum they had always hoped to do, or they had interest in that would build relevance and relationships with students.


“I did not want to lose academic time, so we were able to combine lunches and use some other strategic scheduling ideas to provide students an 8th period,” said Nelson.


The new 8th period, introduced in the 2021-22 school year, is a non-graded "class" that provides students the opportunity to end their day in a way that interests them. The courses run 9-weeks and then students rotate to their next choice. Offerings include:


  • Auxiliary Band. This is another opportunity for students to have band and allows 5th graders to help build the band program.
  • Back to Basics. This class teaches important life skills such as meal planning, event planning, and other useful skills.
  • Bay Cat Company Players. This theater group includes musical theater, acting, and props.
  • Books and Blogs. Students read books and share their thoughts and feedback by developing a blog and corresponding with each other.
  • Celestial Studies and Astronomy. Students explore the solar system and beyond.
  • Body Dynamics. Students exercise and learn about healthy eating choices.
  • Cool Coders. Students learn all about computer coding.
  • Crafting Kindness. Students have time to be creative and come up with items they can build and donate to local agencies, nursing homes, etc.
  • Debate and Geo Politics. Students learn the value of civics education and partner with the debate team.
  • Drafting and Design. Students learn the art of creating and designing.
  • Everyday Engineering. Students explore engineering through sports and everyday objects.
  • Exploring World Cultures. Students virtually pack their bags and visit a variety of countries to give them an appreciation for a variety of world cultures, food, art, and music.
  • Finance for Students. Students learn the art of saving, investing, and other important financial skills.
  • Fit 4 Life. Students provided a course of good eating and exercise habits.
  • G.R.I.T.S.- Female students discuss topics such as peer pressure, bullying, and self-esteem.
  • Having better than a “C” Average. Learning purpose and excellence.
  • Creative Writing. Learning the art of creative writing.
  • Movie Madness. Students take an in-depth look into symbolism in movies, character development, and at trivia regarding the actors.
  • Strategy and Games. Students learn test-taking strategies. They also learn how to play games like Skip Bo, Qwixx, Yahtzee, and Mancala. The goal is to help students take tests as well as get back to playing person-to-person games without using electronics.
  • The Ministry of Magical Literature. Students read and discuss the Harry Potter series.

    “I am just so pleased and appreciative of our staff for going the extra mile to ensure that students get a wide variety of choices,” said Nelson. “This is a great addition, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of increased rigor, relevance, and relationship building, which will positively impact the second part of our school motto—high achievement.”

    Bay Haven Charter Academy, Inc.

    2501 Hawks Landing Blvd., Panama City, FL 32405

    (850) 248-3500
    Haven Schools District