The Adam’s Hub NewE program at Carson High, through the Career and Technical Education program and in collaboration with Billy McHenry, is guided this year by author and teacher Molly Dahl.
Dahl’s curriculum YOUTH Positive, Exploring the Unique Genius of Every 21st Century Adolescent, is being used in Entrepreneur classes as well as Freshman Transition program. YOUTH Positive is a collection of the research and best practices of Positive Psychology written for the adolescent audience. As a school curriculum, it offers a full set of tools and techniques that guide teens toward a more enthusiastic, successful, and enjoyable high school experience.
After 15 years in the high school classroom as a Spanish teacher, Dahl took the leap and left the formal education setting. She took three years off to write and publish a set of four books that comprise the YOUTH Positive series: the high school book, a middle school workbook, a nine-week lesson plan and activity book for K-3, and a teacher’s guide.
This year finds Dahl back in the high school classroom as the liaison between the Adams Hub for innovation, a local business incubator and co-working space, and the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program at Carson High. In collaboration with Billy McHenry, the Business and Entrepreneur teacher, Dahl brings the real world into the high school classroom with lessons from YOUTH Positive on problem solving, developing a growth mindset and positive attitude, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset, and the roots of creativity, to name a few. Local business owners and entrepreneurs add their rich experiences as guest speakers, encouraging students to develop the entrepreneurial attitude at an early age.
In the Freshman Transition program, Dahl works with the teachers, both in their classrooms as well as in professional development trainings, on how to best tailor YOUTH Positive to the needs of their students. Being back in the classroom and working so closely with students is “refreshing and encouraging”, says Dahl.
“It really makes me see how important it is to offer them as many tools as possible so they can create the future they hope for. Creativity in education has long been cast aside,” she explains. “It’s interesting to observe the students as they are turned loose to work on problem-solving. They’ve forgotten how to be creative. They make lists and outlines. The come up with the usual answers. It’s hard for them to break out and think creatively. So it’s a really fun and challenging process for me as a teacher. How do I help them understand that they can’t “do” creativity wrong? How do I encourage them to find their unique genius through their own expression and ideas? Creativity is as individual as they are. It should be fun! And challenging.”