Three more schools are in the works for the next school year. The Achieve Hartford! site explains that “In May of 2007, the Board approved a five-year framework that would guide the opening of at least 22 new schools in Hartford.” Here’s what is planned:
Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School (k-8)
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. There was little to be impressed by until I reached the sample curriculum in the design specs, where, I saw that 4th graders might design water filters and alarm circuits. The school will have a number of partnerships, including with the Connecticut Science Center and the Children’s Science Museum.
Dwight-Bellizzi Asian Studies Academy (pre-k – 8th)
This school will feature:
A robust, engaging curriculum that seamlessly integrates district and state academic mandates with global content and competencies to foster high academic achievement and to create awareness and understanding of the world and its workings
Language instruction, on a daily basis, from kindergarten throughout the elementary experience, with widespread exposure to native speakers
The language featured? Mandarin Chinese. The language and culture was chosen based on its growing popularity worldwide. Opportunities for students will include:
Two representatives from each classroom will serve as student ambassadors. Student Ambassadors
create activities around global awareness and run the school’s Global Council. The Global Council
will make recommendations for monthly activities and school improvement to the leadership team.
Students will also have opportunities to participate on a mock United Nations Council using multiple
languages at grades 7 and 8.
Students in grades 7 and 8 will read the “Book of the Month” with students in grades 1 and 2.
Students will participate in a competitive Debate Club in grades 5-8.
Students in grades 1 and 2 will practice Mandarin with grades 7 and 8.
Beyond building language and rhetorical skills, this seems promising as it enables students to work with those in other age brackets. This helps the older students to reinforce their knowledge via teaching/tutoring, and provides younger students with another possible way to learn material. The possible lesson plans for 6-8th grade contain material that many are not exposed to until college, if ever:
1. East Asia: An Overview
A broad overview is given of Asia’s great cultural traditions as well as the development of this
region throughout the twentieth century. Due to colonialism, Japanese militarism, World War II
and the Cold War, particular attention is given to changes within the region.
2. Politics in East Asia
Students are introduced to the political developments of the post-colonial period, with an emphasis
on the rise of communism after World War II and the evolution of more Western-style
democracies. Also included are discussions about the differences between Western and Asian
views of democracy and society.
3. The East Asian Economic Miracle
The materials give an analysis of how post-colonial countries created economic policies to
promote growth. Special attention is directed at economic policies which encouraged foreign
investment and the development of export-based industries.
4. Social Issues, Human Rights, and the Environment
Topics such as poverty, crime, environmental degradation in the wake of economic growth, the
changing role of women, the legacy of Japanese militarism, and the conflict between Western and
Asian views of human rights are introduced.
5. U.S. Interests in East Asia
The role of the United States in East Asia is explored from a framework of economic and military
interests. Topics of interest include U.S.-Japan trade relations, the wars America fought on Asian
soil, and the future of U.S. security amidst the growing economic and military power of nations
such as China and North Korea.
Humanities Studies at Bulkeley Upper School (11-12th)
I don’t really get this one. There’s block scheduling, which I think is a positive framework for a course, and a few intriguing classes, but really, isn’t “humanities” the general studies taught in most high schools? Is it specialized because of the number of math/science and performing arts type of schools emerging in the city? I don’t know. I like that there will be a Logic & Rhetoric course, as well as a Hartford, Connecticut Studies course. There are some courses offered that will gain students college credits. Aren’t these the types of things we should expect from all schools?
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