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.