NYC Outward Bound Announces Locations, Principal Appointments for Two New High Schools Opening in September; Adds Humanities Prep to Roster.
New York City Outward Bound today announced the locations and named the principals of the two new small high schools the non-profit organization will be opening in New York City in September, 2005. The new Expeditionary Learning(TM) schools are:
--The James Baldwin Academy: Bayard Rustin Educational Complex, West 18th Street in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Principal: Elijah Hawkes.
--The Validus Preparatory Academy: 1125 Grand Concourse at 166th Street in the northern Bronx. Principal: Brady Smith.
In addition, Humanities Prep, an early small high school within the City's public school system, which sits on the Bayard Rustin campus with James Baldwin Academy, will join the Expeditionary Learning network as well, adjusting its educational approach accordingly. Its principal will continue to be Vincent Brevetti.
"We are delighted that our proposals for our two new Expeditionary Learning Schools were approved by the Department of Education," said Richard Stopol, NYC Outward Bound executive director. "And we are very excited to be working with our two new principals, each of whom have demonstrated their strength of vision and capacity for leadership in education."
James Baldwin and Validus Prep are among the 26 new small high schools slated to open next fall as part of the City's new small high school initiative. With the opening of these schools, and the addition of Humanities Prep, NYC Outward Bound will be operating four high schools in the City, and anticipates a total of eight by 2009, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Its first fully-sponsored school, Bronx Expeditionary Learning High School (BELHS), opened in September 2004 in the Taft High School Campus in the Bronx. As a partner with the Department of Education in this initiative, NYC Outward Bound helps each school implement its Expeditionary Learning model, and oversees all aspects of the school, ranging from school design, governance and evaluation, staff recruitment, development, support and teambuilding to literacy and leadership programming for students.
"Expeditionary Learning is an intense school reform model in which every aspect of a school--its curriculum, structure and culture--promotes an experience-based approach to education. That means our students learn their core academic subjects through in-depth projects that often require them to use the City itself as a classroom," Stopol noted.
"The model focuses on character growth and teamwork, using the motto 'we are all crew, not passengers.' To reinforce this all ninth graders are required to participate in a week-long Outward Bound backpacking course, where they break into small groups, called crews, to get to know each other and develop the bonds that will help carry them through their high school experience. Expeditionary Learning schools, of which there are more than 125 around the country, have consistently been shown to meet or surpass the academic standards in their districts--we believe those statistics will prove true here as well," he said.
James Baldwin Academy is a spinoff of the successful Humanities Prep High School, which was founded in 1997 and provides a philosophical and practical education to its students to prepare them to live "thoughtful and meaningful lives," incorporating the principles of both the Coalition of Essential Schools which is a partner with Humanities Prep and Expeditionary Learning. Elijah Hawkes, principal of James Baldwin Academy, joins the new school from Humanities Prep where he has been co-director for three years.
As a student at Wesleyan University, Hawkes became involved in education and was a primary school English teacher in Dakar, Senegal for a year prior to his graduation. He has worked on community development and education issues in the Teachers for Africa program and the Centers for Social Responsibility and will complete the High School Leadership Development Program and a masters' degree at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College (CUNY) this spring.
At Validus Preparatory Academy--"validus" is the Latin word for strength--in addition to providing students with strong academic skills, the school's focus will be on developing strong bodies and character in its students. Validus Principal Brady Smith, joins the school from the New Leaders for New Schools Program, where he is completing his principal residency at IN-Tech Academy Middle and High School 368 in the Bronx. He holds a Masters in Teaching Arts from Lewis and Clark College and has been teaching since 1995, first in Oregon and then in New York. Smith will complete an MS in Education Administration at Baruch College this spring.
Founded in 1987, New York City Outward Bound is an independent non-profit organization that brings the educational philosophy and expertise of Outward Bound to New York City's public schools. In addition to its fully- sponsored schools Expeditionary Learning schools, NYC Outward Bound conducts in-school and after-school programs for students in literacy, leadership and character development; teacher training in classroom management, literacy instruction, curriculum planning and diversity; and organizational development programs for faculty, administration, parents and staff. In partnership with the New York City Department of Education and with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NYC Outward Bound is launching eight new high schools over the next five years as part of the City's "Small High School Initiative."