A New Type of Learning Community for the American High School: The DCG Report
The main focus of the DCG is to promote student creativity in connection with public service, lifelong learning, and entrepreneurialism ( the development of innovative products and services).
The DeWitt Creativity Group (DCG) was founded in February of 2008 by two DeWitt High School teachers: Jason LaFay and Jeff Croley. The formation of the group was inspired by the flourishing creative culture at DHS; thanks in large part to the continuous efforts of students, teachers, parents, and other district personnel. The DCG is made up of the following groups; they are as follows: Theater Department, Art Department, Audio/Visual Club, Music Club (this includes the Choir and Band programs), DeWitt Research and Development Lab, Creative Writing Club and DHS International Club.
The main focus of the DCG is to promote student creativity in connection with public service, lifelong learning, and entrepreneurialism ( the development of innovative products and services). Another area of emphasis is to prepare students for the creative economy by focusing on 21st Century Skills (www.p21.org). This is an economy that requires people to develop and exercise skills and forms of knowledge such as: critical thinking, technological proficiency, willingness to accept the differences of others, networking, constant reinvention of the self, and the ability to design and implement innovative concepts/practices. Without these skills and forms of knowledge individuals, communities, and countries will fail to prosper.
The DCG is creating opportunities for DHS students by working with public/private entities to help transform the economy of Mid-Michigan. Here is a list of the past, present, and future projects of the DCG:
- Planned and executed four years (2008-2011) of RiverBash (annual celebration of youth talent/learning in Downtown Dewitt and Old Town, Lansing).
- Planned and executed the Creative Educators Summit (2010-to present), an event that showcases innovative secondary school New Economy practices, organizations, and programs.
- Working to develop a youth innovation center in Downtown DeWitt. The center will be a place where student creativity/entrepreneurialism is developed through regular seminars and other events. Students have created CAD drawings for the proposed center, presented to the DeWitt Downtown Development Authority, and secured a space in the Riverview Office Building.
- Members of the DCG attended the following conferences: Creative Cities Summit 2.0, Michigan Prosperity Summit, FastTrac to the Future: The First Day of Your Entrepreneurial Adventure, Michigan Energy Fair, Michigan Makes Movies Expo, and Michigan Economic Summit.
- Working with the Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP, Inc.), Capital Area Michigan Works!, DeWitt Township and others to create opportunities for students to assist Lansing area businesses through our Adopt-A-Business program, an initiative that partners companies and students to provide real work world experiences. Also, the Youth Business Dynamo is a united effort with the NEO Center (local business incubator) to provide opportunities for student entrepreneurs to collaborate with business start-ups.
- Helped to create the DeWitt Research and Development Lab; a partnership between the DCG and DeWitt High School to enable students to conduct professional scientific research on topics as varied as alternative energy, food security, biotechnology, and environmental conservation.
- Inspired the College of Education at Michigan State University to create a "project based" Ed.D program. The DCG presented at the inaugural 2012 Summer Forum to help students generate ideas for statewide K-12 projects.
- Partnering with Michigan State University and Crossing Borders Education on the Intercultural Film Project to design "toolkits" to be used along with film screenings at high schools, community colleges, and universities across the USA and China.
- Members of the DCG attended and participated in the Great Lakes International Trade and Transport Hub summit (a trade summit between Canada and the United States of America) in October 2011 at Michigan State University. Students and teachers listened to in depth discussions and presentations regarding the issues of foreign trade. Additionally, students were given the opportunity to vote on a binational strategic plan to increase trade between the two nations.
- Produced an original stage production of "Questions?" which was used as an educational tool to ignite discussions regarding education reform.
- Working with the MIchigan Economic Development Corporation to map innovative K-12 entrepreneurial programs.
The DCG is always willing to collaborate with both nationally and internationally organizations. This group "concept" is fluid and ever evolving to meet the interests of students, communities, and educational institutions. We are interested in exchanging ideas and practices with other organizations dedicated to developing learning communities.
Any feedback, insight or networking opportunities can be forwarded to:
For more information go to www.dewittcreativitygroup.org or go to YouTube and search "dewittcreativitygroup" for videos
Jason LaFay and Jeff Croley
Co-founders of the DeWitt Creativity Group