Students say it’s definitely unique.
True to life
Class assignments are more hands-on.
Eighth-graders right now are working on cartoons that depict Lewis and Clark’s expedition. In English they made an alphabet book of memories, and the science classes crafted a poster explaining an element on the periodic table.
“I don’t get nearly as much out of lectures and tests,” said eighth-grader Madison Reed. “I really apply what I learn here.”
Teachers said their projects are “realistic and true to life.”
Educators work together to show students how all classes are interconnected.
At the end of the year, all seventh-grade classes will participate in a unit on water.
Teachers will pose the question, “How will we quench thirst in the world?”
Math classes will measure water volume. Science classes will learn about water-borne illnesses. Humanities classes will explore water problems in Africa and projects to build wells there. Spanish classes will present the water cycle using the language.
By the end of the unit, kids will participate in a water walk. They’ll carry buckets filled with water along the Walk of Excellence to Foster Park. The exercise is supposed to demonstrate what people in third-world countries go through to get clean water to their homes, teachers said.
A global society
International-mindedness is a big focus of the international school model.
“They’re very aware they’re part of a global society,” O’Brien said of her students.
Teachers are constantly trying to foster a worldly perspective, Sargent said.
During the water unit, science teacher Vickie Linehan transforms her room into a Kenyan classroom. She removes all tables, chairs and desks and challenges students to sit on the floor to understand how other kids learn.
And kids and adults from Korea, Japan, China, Costa Rica and India have stopped by the middle school to talk to students.