CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Westover Elementary School

Westover  Magnet is tucked between the beautiful “country” neighborhood of Westover and the exciting Downtown neighborhood known as the West Side, in Stamford.  What makes this school unique as a magnet school?  The focus on Arts and Problem Solving (APS) plus the Mastery Learning program which encompasses flexible grouping based on ability level, combined with “looping”.

Westover’s Showcase, a theatrical production done by grades 4-5, where each grade works together combining  their studies in dance, art, music, gym and drama.

Key Elements of Mastery Learning are:

  • Flexible grouping for instruction in Reading & Math. Students with similar learning needs and skill levels are grouped together.

  • Adjustable class size. Class sizes can be adjusted through the addition of teacher-specialists in reading classes.

  • Good teacher/student ratio. Students who need more individualized instruction and support are in smaller classes for reading and/or math.

  • Looping. (Same teacher, same students for 2 years) in grades 1 & 2 and 3 & 4.

 

Arts & Problem Solving (APS)

At Westover, a basic curriculum is enhanced with rich experiences in cultural arts.  APS Team is comprised of a group of teacher-specialists – Art, Dance, Drama, Music, Physical Education, Problem Solving, and Technology.

Westover students experience 4 kinds of APS activities – Basics, Focus, Culminating Activity and Showcase.

  • Basics APS to learn basic skills. The students cycle through each of the disciplines with their homebase classmates.

  • Focus APS course to explore in an intensified focus course based on their interests.

  • Culminating Activity is the presententation – parents are invited to see what the students have been learning and creating at the conclusion of each focus course.

  • Showcase to perform a full-scale productions (4th & 5th grade). These performances integrate all of the APS classes from scenery designed and executed by the art students to music, dance, gymnastics, and acting. Past productions includes classic children’s stories, like “The Jungle Book” and   “Through the Looking Glass”.

 

Westover also incorporates programs such as “Talents Unlimited” – the thinking skills that people need in order to be successful in the world of work, and “Teaching/Learning Styles” – 4 innate learning and teaching styles based on how a person perceives and organizes the world.

 

 

 

 

There are 13 Elementary Schools in Stamford,  5 of which are Magnet Schools.  The Magnet Schools enroll students from all parts of Stamford by a lottery process.  Each school is centered around a unique, theme-based instruction.

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CT, Education, real estate, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Toquam Elementary School

Toquam Magnet Elementary School is located in a residential area of Springdale, tucked behind Dolan Middle School. Toquam just welcomed two new administrators:  Dr Shawn Marinello as Assistant Principal and Jamie Fisco as Administrative Intern.

As one of four magnet elementary schools in the district, their instruction is based on Bank Street Philosophy.  The mission of the Bank Street Program at Toquam is to promote excellence through academic success, positive character development and responsible citizenship for all students.  At Toquam, the key word is RESPECT: respect for yourself; respect for others; respect for your environment. Toquam strives to accomplish this mission through a supportive partnership with the Stamford Public Schools, the home and community.

Social Studies/Science content integration is the core of the Bank Street curriculum.  The study of social studies and science curricula are integrated with literacy and technology throughout the field of study.  Research skills, hands-on activities and educational trips are utilized to enhance our students’ depth of study. Classrooms are child-centered and structured to promote cooperative learning.

BANK STREET PHILOSOPHY

The foundation of Bank Street Program comes from the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. The program has been functioning and expanding in Stamford since 1972.

The Bank Street Program at Toquam School encourages individuality, creativity and critical thinking. Our goals are to develop inquisitive, lifelong learners who have the skills necessary to pursue their questions and work towards possible solutions. Toquam aims to provide the children with basic inquiry and research skills. The program also individualize instruction to meet their varied needs and levels of development when appropriate.

In order to help the students broaden their talents and gain confidence in their special abilities, classroom teachers and specialists offer varied opportunities for the children to express themselves through writing, speaking, art, vocal and instrumental music, creative dramatics and physical education. Children learn to express themselves in classroom communities where group discussions expose them to ideas and different ways of thinking. Class meetings build a sense of community and cooperation. A meeting area in each classroom is designed for this purpose.

 

Some of the extra curricular school-wide programs include an Author & Artists Assembly and the Apex Fun Run Marathon.

Go Toquam Tigers!

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CT, Education, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey … Magnet Schools: Rogers International School

Rogers Internation School (RIS) is located a mile from Long Island Sound and built on an existing urban brownfield site which was formerly an R&D facility for Proctor and Gamble.  RIS is an inter-district magnet school for PreK-8th grade servicing students from Stamford and surrounding towns with a focus on environmental studies.

This urban school has received multiple awards including the LEED Silver Certification, AIA Connecticut Design Award and the CT Green Building Council Most Intriguing Institutional Award.

The green building, which is integrated into the school’s curriculum, also teaches an awareness of the students’ connection to the earth and their responsibility to care for it.

The design creates a vibrant sense of place and demonstrates ecological stewardship through its four prominent environmental demonstration components: a large intensive green roof for educational use; a rain garden demonstrating the natural filtration process; a rain and stormwater collection system; and wind turbine demonstrating ‘free energy’.

RIS is a community with active volunteers – The Green Team and The Green Action Squad, The Community Pantry.  The Green Team is a group of volunteers who are interested in maintaining the unique environmental features of the school.  They work closely with The Green Action Squad which consists mostly of 3rd & 4th graders. The children develop their own projects based on environmental interests. In the past they have developed programs to educate their peers about recycling, tick identification, and birds on our campus. The Community Pantry is set up to support Roger’s families by providing supplemental groceries. Collections are accepted all year long.

RIS is an authorized participant in the world renowned International Baccalaureate World School working with students in Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The school offers the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and IB Middle Years Programme (MYP). In 2007, the International School at Rogers Magnet received the Lone Pine First Annual Fairfield Academic Gain Award.

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), founded in 1968, is a nonprofit educational organization based in Geneva, Switzerland which provides a broad and challenging education. The programs enable students to acquire important academic skills and to develop an international perspective and a commitment to their communities.

There are three programs:

The Primary Years Program (PYP)  for students aged 3 to 12. Click here for more information.

The Middle Years Program (MYP) for students aged 11 to 16. Click here for more information.

The Diploma Program (DP) for students in the final two years of school before university which we will cover when we take a look at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE).

The 2018-19 lottery for this, and other magnet schools, can be accessed through the Stamford Public Schools website after the 2017-18 school year has begun.

 

For a tour of the school, or to answer any questions on Rogers, or any of the Stamford Schools feel free to contact me.

 

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CT, Education, Schools, Stamford, Uncategorized

It’s All About Journey… Magnet Schools: Hart Magnet Elementary

Magnet Schools

As we continue looking at the Stamford Public Schools, we are now going to look at the Magnet School programs.  Each magnet school has a unique focus with innovative programs and theme-based instruction. Hart, Toquam, Westover, Rogers and Strawberry Hill are the elementary magnet schools; Scofield is the middle magnet school and AITE is the high school magnet. These schools offer admission through a lottery system, most of which concentrate on Stamford students, with Rogers & AITE being open to a larger population. We’re starting this series with Hart Magnet Elementary School.

 

Hart is one of five magnet elementary schools and their focus is on science and technology offering additional exposure to science and technology above and beyond the standard Stamford Curriculum.

At Hart Magnet School, each grade level reflects a science theme so that…

Kindergarten are Zoologists

Grade 1 are Biologists

Grade 2 are Botanists

Grade 3 are Geologists

Grade 4 are Ecologists

Grade 5 are Engineers

The school has 3 additional teaching positions, two science specialists and a technology teacher, who see every student on a weekly basis.  There are two labs with computers and several wireless links throughout the building providing fast access. There are also three unique mini-courses offered during the year where students choose a one-week long additional class to enrich and further augment the curriculum in science or technology.

The Five E’s and Science Education

The Hart program is building on the inquiry method of teaching science.

The inquiry process is driven by the learner’s curiosity and sustained by his or her sense of ownership of the process and uses the 5 E Approach. This allows learners to build or construct new ideas on top of what they already know.  Each of the 5 E’s describe a phase of learning: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate.

The school is situated in downtown Stamford and takes advantage of its location by sharing the diversity of arts offered within the City. Its location provides opportunities for field trips to UCONN Stamford, Stamford Hospital, the Palace Theater, and Mill River Project, to name a few. Hart Magnet is a member of the Mill River Collaboration and the students participate in outdoor classes and hands-on activities while they study the ecosystems.

 

As part of Stamford Public Schools’ STEMfest, https://www.facebook.com/Stamford-STEMfest-201557736716911/, Hart students celebrated “STEAM” – Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math – with activities that include grade-level field trips to the Barlett Arboretum and Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, as well as a visit from the Beardsley Zoo. The school also hosted its third annual STEAM Night where families had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities such as rocket building, tower building and breath-powered car designing.

The school’s philosphy is stated in their misstion statement:

 In partnership with parents and the Stamford community, Hart Magnet School provides its students with a learning environment that ensures a firm foundation in the basics and fosters respect for our diverse population. Hart focuses on technology and an inquiry-based approach to science. The theme of environmental studies allows our students to find a connection between their own community and the world in which they live, creating productive citizens and resourceful, life-long learners.

 

 

 

 

 

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