About the team

Ravenna Public Schools has launched the Grow Mainstreet Project, which will serve 125 students enrolled in Ravenna Middle School and High School. Ravenna has identified a need to shift student mindsets around technology careers; many students may not have the awareness and confidence to use emerging tech for agriculture applications. The Grow Mainstreet Project also addresses a lack of exposure and access to technology experts within the community through hands-on exploration and inquiry-based learning experiences. Within the Ravenna community, all students have dedicated internet-connected devices and access to the school’s high-speed internet provided while on the school site. Therefore, Grow Mainstreet will be made accessible on mobile devices.

The Grow Mainstreet Project aims to empower students at Ravenna Public Schools to develop competencies and build portfolio experiences in three categories — technology, science, and business — with the goal of stimulating economic growth within the Ravenna community. Combining these three categories, students will create a model precision-agriculture company that produces Internet of Things (IoT) temperature-sensing devices for agricultural commodities. Students will develop a smart sensor and IoT measurement systems for advanced monitoring, learn about various agricultural commodities from raw material to production, and design an e-commerce enterprise. By developing proficiency in these categories, Ravenna’s leadership plans for its students to be equipped with the transferrable skills needed for lifelong learning and career readiness. The project also intends to establish new paradigms in teaching, learning, and collaboration with community partners.  

As Ravenna implements Grow Mainstreet throughout Phase 2, teachers are guiding students through specific job functions and producing deliverables in the form of evidence-based artifacts. Students are working toward demonstrating technology competencies and job functions for career pathways. Ravenna is also developing an easy-to-access blueprint for other schools to replicate Grow Mainstreet and implement their own programs.

How to get in touch:

  • Community Engagement Manager: Ginger Rohwer
  • Team Lead: Greg Helmer

Learn about Ravenna:

Ravenna in the news:

Keep up with the team's progress

Fall 2022 semester update

This year, all students in the fifth and sixth grade middle school STEAM class — a nine-week course with 147 students enrolled — are expected to complete the Apparel and Fashion module in Grow Main Street. The first section with 27 students has a 90% completion rate. The other three sections will be completing the same module throughout the year. Students completed a pre-module survey to measure their attitudes about STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning and career awareness and will complete a post-module survey as well.

In the seventh and eighth grade STEM class — a year-long course with 71 students enrolled in 7th grade and 95 students enrolled in 8th grade — students are expected to complete both the Apparel and Fashion and Farm to Fridge modules throughout the school year. The eight students in the high school STEM class have also completed the Apparel and Fashion module in Grow Main Street.

Looking forward, the team is reviewing the possibility of Dr. Yaman Adav assessing how the program integrates computational thinking (CT) in the Grow Main Street program. Dr. Adav’s research seeks to develop AI and machine learning (ML) that will support teachers to implement high-quality STEM project-based learning by (1) developing AI/ML that will grade student STEM portfolio artifacts, (2) providing new AI-enhanced avenues for teacher STEM PBL (project based learning) training, (3) expanding the teaching of CT skills through a digital STEM PBL learning environment, and (4) expanding upon theories of how students develop CT skills.

The team has also connected with a leading restaurant chain to discuss developing a Grow Main Street Farm to Fridge module that would focus on animal sciences and the food supply chain.

Winter 2022 semester update

This past quarter, the team has continued Level 2 implementation at scale, as well as begun developing Level 3 content.  They discovered the need to infuse additive manufacturing and material sciences into the activities. This semester, students designed and prototyped their own IoT sensor case to house the electrical components for the kit. This process included stress-testing and efficiency-related structural analysis. The educator team also further built out its science and business modules focusing on supply chain management. The lesson plans ask students to look at finished goods — e.g., food, apparel, energy — and reverse engineer the finished goods to their raw components or source commodities. Through these activities, students develop a variety of skills — science, math, art, technology, and career exploration — at each stage of the product development life cycle.

Each student has continued to strengthen their personal digital talent profile through engaging in these activities. Each student’s profile contains a video reflection on learning for each job function completed, a series of artifacts demonstrating proof of completion of each Standard Operating Procedure within the job function, a teacher issued “Seal” of competency, evidence of making logical connections to related industry jobs and educational programs, student self-awareness on their emotional response to completing each job function, identification of tools and technologies engaged, and competency alignment to academic standards.  

Additionally, students added careers, jobs, companies, educational programs, degrees, and certifications to their educational development plan (located in the Mavin platform) through the aligned career exploration activities associated with each job function. 

In total, 40 students — more than half of the eighth-grade population — have completed the “Assemble an IoT Device and Connect to the Google Cloud” job function. In addition, 30 eighth-grade students have completed the “Introduction to Cybersecurity” job function.  Finally, eight high school students who are a part of the FFA Rural Tech Lab class have also completed both job functions. This represents 100% achievement for the targeted population initially identified for the Rural Tech Project at the high school level.


Students are building toward a STEM index score. The score will indicate what jobs they are eligible for in the region, what compensation range they might achieve, and the availability of open positions they can compete for. The team then plans to work with Talent 2025 — a West Michigan industry collective representing 200 employers — to help them evaluate their own employees’ current STEM scores for current state vs. desired future state to prepare for AI automation that is transforming agriculture, healthcare, and manufacturing. This will enable the employer to identify public educational resources to develop their own workforce for the current state, and work with local school districts and educational service agencies for future state workforce. 

Fall 2021 semester update

The focus for Ravenna Public Schools over the past quarter has been implementation at scale — moving from a small pilot group of students this past summer to full-size STEM classes. These classes are part of the Grow Main Street Precision Agriculture Module, which will empower students to develop competencies and build portfolio experiences deploying technology in modern-day agriculture applications. The module includes the following deliverables: assemble an IoT device that measures temperature, publish that data to Google Cloud, and develop a data model to construct a cybersecurity threat. While students worked on the module over the past semester, they were introduced to related careers in electrical engineering at John Deere and cyber information assurance at Northrop Grumman, as well as related educational programs at the university level.

The rollout to classrooms is part of tackling the problem of scale. Ravenna’s goal was to adjust the learning experience so that students wouldn’t have to travel to a physical CTE location. Ravenna’s leadership wants all students, regardless of their geographic location in a rural area, to have access to and engage in competency-based education to develop technology skills. However, the team learned that it was not possible for a teacher to monitor and provide support in real time to a classroom of students who are completing the module. All in all, 17 students have completed or are in the process of completing the Precision Agriculture Module in Grow Main Street. An additional 50 students in two eighth-grade classes at Ravenna Middle School will complete the Precision Agriculture Module in the coming weeks.

As part of their experience, each student will construct a personally owned and managed digital talent profile. Eventually, features embedded within Ravenna’s instructional platforms will be used to help teachers monitor progress and provide feedback to students, allowing the teacher to spend more time supporting the students who need them the most, and less time on lesson planning, curriculum development, and formative assessment and feedback.