The GLOBE School for Environmental Research, Region 2 (East Bronx), New York City
The GLOBE School for Environmental Research opened its doors this September to 216 sixth grade students in the Wakefield neighborhood in East Bronx. This middle school (Grades 6-8) is one of 54 new small schools approved by the New York City Department of Education from more than 100 proposals, and represents a partnership among the Department of Education, Region 2, Queens College's GLOBE NY Metro Partnership, the YMCA of Greater New York, and the New York Botanical Gardens. Even before it opened, it had been the subject of articles in Bronx newspapers, the New York Daily News, and a local television station.
The GLOBE School was very attractive to Bronx parents during Middle School recruiting "fairs" because of the unique educational opportunities it offered. The School features a curriculum based on hands-on GLOBE inquiry that will extend to all disciplines-- not just science and mathematics. For example, social studies classes will explore how historians research history and literacy and art classes will explicitly demonstrate how writers and artists observe and record their views of the world. Research is the thread that ties the curriculum together and, although each discipline does it somewhat differently, students will begin to understand how each of them observes, infers, questions, experiments, and reports their individual areas of human knowledge.
To make this possible, all 11 teachers and the school's guidance counselor recently completed a 3-day GLOBE training workshop in which curricular connections were stressed along with GLOBE protocols and methods of implementing inquiry in the classroom. Principal Barbara Hartnett had already been trained in the past and had led an impressive GLOBE team at her previous school. As the school grows to its full size over the next three years, each teacher entering the school will also be trained as a GLOBE teacher.
Other features of the school unique in New York City include:
- Each student will have an individual academic success plan developed in consultation with teachers, counselors, parents, and, of course, the student him/herself. Students will maintain a digital portfolio tracking their academic and social maturation.
- Gifted personnel from YMCA are training the School faculty and staff to develop a nurturing educational environment characterized by mutual respect and detailed assessment of students' social development.
- Classes will visit the New York Botanical Garden regularly to participate in enrichment activities; 8th graders will be offered internships at the Garden - an important community service component designed to pay back to the community what has been invested in their education. The Garden is the ideal site for Hydrology, Soil, and Phenology protocols and has established a GLOBE research station in its Family Garden.
- GLOBE-related themes are woven throughout the curricular map for the 6th grade this year and will be integral in the 7th and 8th grades as the school grows.
- Queens College education and science faculty are providing additional professional development for the teachers in ways to implement a cohesive, multidisciplinary approach based on GLOBE.
- English language learners will take advantage of GLOBE materials in many languages and will improve their English language skills while improving their understanding of science.
- Mandatory after-school activities will offer additional help to students who need it and offer enrichment activities centered on group research projects in all areas for others.
- The Consolidated Edison Company of New York has been the principal supporter of GLOBE NY Metro since its inception, and has expressed an interest in "adopting" the new school.
Interest in GLOBE has increased markedly in the New York metropolitan area in the past year, spurred by a $3.6 million grant from the New York State Department of Education to Region 2 and Queens College's GLOBE NY Metro Partnership. Queens College sponsored an additional new school opening this September: the Queens School for Inquiry. This is an Early College school (Grades 6-12) funded partially by a grant from the Gates Foundation to New York City Department of Education. This schools's science and math teachers also received GLOBE teacher training in late August, along with teachers from the Channel View School for Research, a small high school entering its second year.
08 September 2005