Magna Vista teacher makes class a ‘hoot’

September 15, 2016
Martinsville Bulletin

Warrior Tech Academy


If there’s any hooting at Magna Vista High School, it likely comes from Robb Herbst’s classroom. However, the sounds don’t originate from the Warrior Tech Academy students – rather, Herbst’s pet owl, Lennie.

A Master Falconer, a feat achieved over a seven-year minimum stretch in Virginia, Herbst enhances instructional time with the special guest. Having Lennie in the room puts a fun twist on Herbst’s New Tech Network Government class.

“We the People Too” is a year-long hybrid course combining English 12 standards with Government standards. The class focuses on helping students become informed, responsible and active citizens with an implementation of citizenship and political culture.

With an owl’s image as a wise creature, it is only fitting that Lennie listens in on discussions concerning the current political happenings in America.

“I look forward to the election this year. This is a great teaching opportunity for the NT Government classes, as well as my Psychology class,” Herbst said.

With two unique presidential candidates, the classroom conversations are sure to be of interest in the coming weeks. Solid communication skills are powerful tools Warrior Tech teachers instill within their students.

Warrior Tech, which also places a strong emphasis on collaboration and teamwork, is a groundbreaking educational technique. It takes some weight off of standardized testing and places more significance on real-world problem solving skills.

“The PBL (project-based learning) model of teaching in Warrior Tech is new to me, but I feel this style of teaching is a gateway to a new learning style. I feel this helps me prepare them for their post graduation world,” Herbst said.

 While Herbst believes in the importance of class instruction, the educator also encourages his students to look beyond their high school career.

“It is not only about success in the classroom. It also includes preparing our students for the future,” Herbst said.

Whether petting an owl or changing the world, students gain both fun and practical life experience in Herbst’s class.