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The Renaissance Kids: First Fridays Washington Latin School Visit

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A Renaissance man is defined as someone who has expertise in a number of different subject areas and uses that knowledge in order to problem-solve. The faculty and teachers at the Washington Latin School are molding the next generation of Renaissance men; but since this is the 21st century and more than just men can master many different areas of academia, I shall call these students “The Renaissance Kids”.

Washington Latin School, located at 5200 2nd St., NW, offers a classical education curriculum to an extremely diverse population of students.  From 5th to 8th grade, all students study Latin. By 9th grade, the students begin to take another language, French, Arabic or Chinese. The students learn through drill and memorization and are taught to be fluid writers. They have Socratic seminars, which involve the study of public speaking and debate. They study dance and drama and are required to play sports.

It was amazing seeing the Renaissance kids in action. We visited a 6th grade history class, where they were learning how to pass a bill in the American political system. They already knew that it started in the House, moved the Senate, went to the desk of the President and even the role the Supreme Court played. They were asking questions about Executive Order; something I did not fully understand until my freshman year of college. They were extremely engaged and the teacher used Lego animated figures in his PowerPoint. In a 9th grade Chinese 1 class, the teacher only spoke Chinese and they recited their vocabulary words with precision, while at the same time having fun with a game of Simon Says.

As I saw the Renaissance Kids in the hallway, they were happy, greeting their teachers with respect yet with a sense of familiarity. The teachers care and that

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Why I Want to Work in Education Reform

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Starting when I was a teenager, I’ve always loved working with kids. I worked at a local summer camp for many years, volunteered at a charter school in DC and last summer, I was an advisor for students at a private school preparatory program called REACH Prep based in Stamford, Connecticut.

Now in my junior year studying Political Science at The George Washington University, I have developed an interest in public policy and have become more educated in the ways that politics works. As I come closer and closer to graduation (something that excites and terrifies me all at the same time), I have begun to think about what direction I want my career to go. I have had some experience working in a non-profit office before; I often volunteer at my mom’s non-profit back home in New York. I am hoping CER with give me more experience and great insight into the realm of education policy.

The issues of education reform are very personal to me. As an elementary school student, I left my local public school for a private school after attending the REACH Prep program (the same program I interned for this past summer).  The dedication of the staff and the resources made available to me at my new school were amazing. Even as young girl, I realized how lucky I was to have been given that opportunity. The transition took a lot of hard work and sacrifice from my family and me and I will always be grateful for those who supported us. I’ve always believed that every student should be able to have the opportunities I did, whether they are able to afford private school or not. This is why I want a career in education reform, whether it’s working hands-on in a school or in

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Introducing Columbia County School for the Arts

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After talking with Michael Berg, a founding board member of the Columbia County School for the Arts (CCSFTA) in Evans, GA, we were excited to learn about the creative mission of this aspiring charter school. Poised to be the first charter in its county, Berg and his colleagues aim to provide an arts-based curriculum for students grades K-12. Many local community members have expressed their support and Berg believes that their grassroots movement is gaining momentum.

The decision to establish the school with a focus on the arts was made based on an expressed need from parents and educators who felt the county would benefit from a school that incorporated arts into its curriculum. The Columbia County School for the Arts will incorporate music, drama, dance, visual arts and foreign languages into a regular core curriculum of math, science, language and social studies to allow students to have a more creative and well-rounded education. Berg believes strongly that “creativity fosters literacy” and effective schools need to consider the diversity of students’ learning styles when developing models of education.

As a special education teacher for the past 22 years, Berg has had firsthand experience with the many ways that the arts can be used to benefit children and increase their academic achievement. His passion for charter schools developed after he had the realization that traditional public schools often don’t cater to different types of learners and can discourage students from being excited about their education.

Like many charter educators across the country, CCSFTA founding members have a unique vision for how best to serve potential students, and the culmination of many sources of inspiration and frustration were what led them to this endeavor. Over the past few years, Berg grew frustrated with the lack of praise that he saw for

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