Jansen Avenue School

About The Learning Project

The Learning Project

Introduced in September 2013, The Learning Project is an innovative interdisciplinary, project-based learning experience offered to Johnstown High School seniors. This unique, hands-on program encourages students to explore and deepen their understanding of themselves as stewards of their own lives, the community and the world around them. Throughout the year, students develop problem solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills through a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) enriched program of study. The Learning Project integrates these subjects through hands-on exploration of real world problems. Student participation leads to high school credit in math, science, social studies and English. College credit in physics may also be awarded through Fulton Montgomery Community College.

Candidates for The Learning Project must demonstrate good attendance, be willing to work with others, and be interested in learning in a non-traditional way. These seniors have the ambition to succeed in a college or career path, but may not yet have decided what they “want to be.”

Potential topics to be explored include personal electronics and digital communication, energy production and use, community stewardship, and transportation innovations.

The Learning Project Faculty

Heather Buskirk is a National Board Certified teacher who graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Astronomy-Physics and a Master’s Degree in Secondary Science Teaching. She has taught physics in the Johnstown School District since 2005. In addition to her work in the classroom, she serves on the Technology Education Pathways Partnership Curriculum Committee for the Engineering Technology program at HFM BOCES and supports local teachers pursuing National Board Certification. She received a teaching fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation and continues to serve in the Knowles STEM Leadership Initiative and the Professional Development Leadership Group.

Sean Russo graduated with a B.S. in Economics and Management from Babson College.  He has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Secondary Social Studies from Simmons College.  He taught one year at the Cambridge Ringe and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He has been teaching in the Johnstown School District since 1998.  In addition to his teaching, he has been the 7-12 social studies department coordinator since 2010.  Sean is currently pursuing National Board Certification.