Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS
Mar08

Seeing Is Believing @ FWCS

Want to get to know a major education innovator in Fort Wayne?  A school system that excels in skilled trades, arts and sciences, and communication?  A school system that offers project- and inquiry-based learning models to help develop new types of thinkers through the New Tech teaching model?  That has the only high school in Northeast Indiana with the globally renowned International Baccalaureate program (and for over 20 years)? Who boasts its diversity with students from 6 continents and 70 home languages spoken?  Ready to find out who is excelling at education in your back yard? It’s your 160 year old public school system, Fort Wayne Community Schools!  Surprised?  Read on to find out how you can learn more. There’s been a lot of talk about the state of public education recently – about quality, effectiveness, and choice.  School choice is a buzzword now, but FWCS has been promoting choice for nearly 40 years.   We all have a variety of ways to get information to help us make that choice – whether that be social media, a website, or just a chat with friends over coffee.  But, really, what’s better than seeing for yourself?  That’s why, annually Fort Wayne Community Schools invites local business and community leaders on their Seeing is Believing tour to see how FWCS is preparing students for their futures in businesses and organizations in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Seeing is Believing is a four-year partnership with Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., Excursions Trailways, and the Fort Wayne Area PTA.  Why does Greater Fort Wayne want more community members to see what goes on in their public schools?  Cheri Becker, Vice President of Investor Services, Programs & Marketing describes it this way, “The Seeing is Believing tour gives business and community leaders an opportunity to see what’s happening inside our schools and connect with educators and students. … GFW Inc.’s role is to be a connector. For the business community, understanding our school system is helpful when recruiting new talent to the area. Those families and individuals with children want to know that their children can succeed in the educational system before they decide to relocate. Likewise future business success depends on a well prepared workforce, Seeing is Believing allows the business community and the educational community to understand each other’s future needs and to work toward that successful end.” This year’s Seeing is Believing tour will be on Thursday, March 23rd.  The tour promises to be very exciting with participants meeting with FWCS Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson and FWCS Board of Trustees President Julie Hollingsworth.  Participants will also learn about schools and programs on student-lead tours of Wayne High...

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FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Education in the Arts
Jan28

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Education in the Arts

Everyone knows the Fort Wayne community thrives in the arts. If you’re not familiar, let me just name off a few: Arena Dinner Theatre, Artlink, Civic Theatre, FAME, Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Heartland Sings, Wunderkammer… I could go on. Not many other communities can cultivate the same amount of artistic opportunity and prosperity that this community has. Fort Wayne is a hub for talent, but it doesn’t just happen over night. Think back to when you first realized a passion of yours. For many people, including myself, it dates back to childhood. I remember discovering my passion for writing clearly—at the age of ten. At this point in our lives as VERY young creatives, having support is crucial. This support can come from a variety of places. We always counted on our friends and family to encourage and nurture our creative cravings—as I know mine did—but we also seek out this support from outside our personal lives: teachers. The Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) district is doing its part in embracing the creative mindset this city employs not only by making enthusiastic teachers accessible to the students of Fort Wayne, but it also furthers its commitment to the educational advancement of the youth by offering an entire arts route through its magnet schools. In my last post about FWCS magnet early childhood centers, I briefly touched on the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, which exposes pre-k and kindergarten students to arts education immediately as they begin their academic careers. But this isn’t the only arts magnet school that FWCS offers. In fact, children can experience an arts-based curriculum for the majority of their education here in Fort Wayne. After leaving pre-kindergarten/kindergarten at the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center, children can move on to their primary education at Weisser Park Elementary School. They offer curriculum in music, visual arts, theater arts and dance, all of which are based on the National Standards for Arts Education. Weisser Park’s art concentration feeds into Memorial Park Middle School, which, like Young and Weisser Park, offers music, art, foreign language, choir, speech and drama courses of study. Taking advantage of the many art organizations in Fort Wayne, Memorial Park students are given the opportunity to exhibit their work at Artlink every year. Artlink’s Betty Fishmann Gallery currently displays artwork from Memorial Park students as a feature of its Rock, Paper, Scissors exhibit, which runs until March 4. Students from Memorial Park Middle School are fed into South Side High School. While this is not a magnet arts school, South Side High School is a...

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FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Early Childhood Centers
Jan05

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: Early Childhood Centers

In my first post of this series, we talked about New Tech Academy as a magnet school option for intermediate to high school age children in the Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) district. This week, I figured we should take a few steps back and talk about an option for another age group: early childhood development centers. FWCS operates two of these early childhood development centers: Bunche Early Childhood Center and Whitney Young Early Childhood Center.   Bunche Early Childhood Center is a magnet school that specializes in providing an education based on the Montessori method of instruction for children pre-kindergarten through kindergarten, which are typically ages 3-6. This approach to education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, which “values the human spirit and the development of the whole child—physical, social, emotional, cognitive.” A Montessori education includes multiage groups that encourage peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time, and guided choice of work activity.   Bunche Early Childhood Development Center is an American Montessori Society accredited school, which includes a Montessori-certified staff and the inclusion of Montessori and supplemental materials to further the education.   For more information, click here or contact them at 260-467-4790. They are located at 1111 Greene Street.   Another magnet option in the FWCS system is the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center. This magnet school is also for pre-kindergarten through kindergarten children, but features the fine arts. This school approaches education inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, created by Loris Malaguzzi, which stresses the importance of a positive environment to cultivate both intellectual and social advancement for young children.   As a magnet school featuring fine arts, Whitney Young prepares children for continuation in studying fine arts in other magnet programs by offering a variety of options, from visual arts to music and theater, which includes classes funded by the Fort Wayne Ballet and lessons given by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.   The Whitney Young Early Childhood Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.   You can contact the Whitney Young Early Childhood Center at 260-476-8950 or click here for more information. They are located at 1026 E Pontiac...

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FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy
Dec18

FWCS Magnet Schools Series: New Tech Academy

As the second largest city in Indiana, Fort Wayne naturally has an abundance of schools to encompass the immense populations—especially since (as of 2013) children ages 0-17 made up 26.4%  of the population. Whatever level of school you’re looking for, Fort Wayne has plenty of options with over 90 elementary, intermediate, middle, and high schools combined. With a city this large, Fort Wayne has the opportunity to offer an educational advantage that many other cities can’t—magnet schools. What is a magnet school, you ask? Simply put: magnet schools offer specialized education in different areas that give its students a competitive advantage and prepare them for whatever it is they choose to pursue post-high school. Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) offers residents seven magnet school options. One of the newest and most unique options is the New Tech Academy. New Tech Academy focuses on incorporating STEM discipline into the curriculum—that’s science, technology, engineering, and math—under a project-based approach. I know what you’re thinking, we keep hearing about this “project-based” learning approach. I concede; it’s definitely become a buzzword. But here’s the thing… project-based learning works, especially from a multi-disciplinary approach. Students at New Tech don’t sit through classroom lectures. In fact, they never even sit in rows facing the front of the room. Students sit in cohorts of four or five most of the time, which is the average group number for their projects. Not only is New Tech applying a STEM based academic experience in a collaborative environment, but they are also providing students with another unique experience: an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to standard courses that they are traditionally required to take. Again, I know what you’re thinking… what does it all actually mean when put into practice? I had the pleasure of meeting with Jason Beer, a 9th/10th grade English teacher from New Tech Academy. To put these concepts into perspective, let me tell you a little about one of Jason’s classes. Jason co-teaches his 9th graders a collaborative class on English and Geography. You’re probably thinking exactly what I thought… How do you teach English AND Geography in one class? Projects are assigned to the students based on the content of the course, and the formation of the project is based on different standards that vary per English outcomes. The students are introduced to class through an online information management system (similar to that of Blackboard, if you’re familiar with that) detailing the schedule for the period. The teachers of these courses let the students self-direct the remaining 100 minutes of class while serving as resources, offering scheduled but voluntary workshops for any issues or questions they think may arise. Jason...

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Fort Wayne Earns A in Public Schooling
Aug08

Fort Wayne Earns A in Public Schooling

Fort Wayne and its outlying districts boast four award-winning public school systems: Fort Wayne Community Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools, East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools. Each district has unique programs and offerings for the students of the area (click the school system links to learn more about each one).With over 50 schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) is the largest school district in Indiana and is home to an extremely diverse student body of over 30,000 students. FWCS boasts a graduation rate of around 88%, beating out statewide graduation rates. It is also one of the only school systems in the entire country that allows students to attend any school in the district based on space availability and racial balance.Even those students who choose private or parochial schools are able to benefit from Fort Wayne Community Schools’ programs. FWCS has one of the best Special Education Departments in the state and assists over 5,000 students each year–with nearly 10% of those being from private or parochial schools. The FWCS Nutrition Services Center supplies meals to 10 non-FWCS schools, making sure students all across northeast Indiana are receiving the nutrition they need during the school day.Following its policy of allowing students to attend any school of their choosing within the district, FWCS has the first public school in the nation to receive accreditation from the American Montessori Society, Bunche Early Childhood Center. It also has the state’s sole public Montessori first through eighth grade program with Towles Intermediate School.As a graduate of the Bunche Montessori program myself, I can attest to the fact that each student learns in a different manner and should not be limited in their scope of learning based on where they live. With FWCS, students and parents can choose the school that fits their learning style the best and will lead to the most successful experience for all...

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