By Kristine Sorensen

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Kids are once again hitting the books, but for high schoolers, not much has changed over the last 100 years.

This Friday night, CBS will air “EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live” to get a conversation going about bringing high schools into the 21st century.

Stars of comedy, music, movies and television will come together this Friday at 8 p.m. to challenge all of us to reshape the education system — educators, parents, entrepreneurs, business leaders and students.

The XQ Institute already challenged local communities, and two local women, who are both teachers and moms, were finalists in the XQ Super School competition with their concept for a radically different high school.

They found that the push for all high school students to go to college has left many graduates working in jobs that don’t suit their interests or what they studied in college, and owing massive amounts in loans in low-paying jobs. They want to give kids options.

Maureen Anderson and a fellow teacher-mom are in the process of creating a new public charter school called Career Tech Charter High School.

“It is designed for the makers, the doers, the creators, the builders, the innovators and the entrepreneur — people who are more into the hands-on learning,” Anderson says.

The students at Career Tech Charter High School will take classes in collaboration with places like community colleges, trades programs and other certified training programs. This couldn’t come at a better time, as manufacturers say when the baby boomers retire, there is going to be a huge shortage in skilled laborers.

“Career Tech Charter High School graduates will graduate with a high school diploma in one hand and a career credential in another hand,” Anderson says.

Career Tech will have training for jobs like engineer, computer technician, machinist, carpenter, electrician, welder, cyber security technician and much more. The curriculum will be real world-focused.

“You’re not going to have discreet math or science or social studies class,” Anderson says. “Everything will be wrapped around the projects we do each quarter based on a theme.”

For example, students may create a community garden and use it to teach about the environment, learning botany about the plants, geology for the soil, chemistry for the fertilizer, writing for communicating with the neighborhood, math for where the plants will go and budgeting.

As a public charter school, it will be free and open to all students.

Anderson and her partner hope to find a location in the city that’s central and accessible to everyone. They’re still in the planning stages and need funding, but they hope to open in the 2019-20 school year.

For more on the “EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live” event this Friday at 8 p.m., visit this link.

For more on the Career Tech Charter High School and how you can help with funding or ideas, go to: https://careertechcharterhighschool.wordpress.com/

And for more creative ways people are remaking learning in our region and many resources for families, go to Kidsburgh.org.

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