SCHOOL PRIZE (CO-RECIPIENT)
Metropolitan Learning Center, Bloomfield, CT
in 1998, the Metropolitan Learning Center, a small magnet
school outside Hartford, has built its model international
studies curriculum one grade at time. This year, as it
graduates its first class, the school continues to attract
a very diverse group of mostly lower-income students from
six surrounding towns. With its rich breadth of core courses
around international issues, the school appeals to students
and families seeking an engaging education with real-world
middle school curriculum is organized around an interdisciplinary
approach to global systems. The high school offers area
and international studies courses as well as Spanish,
Chinese, French, Arabic and American Sign Language. The
Metropolitan Learning Center remains well connected to
contemporary scholarship on international issues by drawing
on its partnerships with Yale, Brown and local universities
for teacher professional development and courses for seniors.
school actively uses technology to promote international
communication and is a participant in iEARN, an international
communication program that engages students in interactive
discussion forums in a dozen disciplines and languages.
(iEARN was a co-recipient of the 2003 Goldman Sachs Foundation
Prize in media and technology). In 2003, the school was
selected to work with Global Nomads Project in a live
teleconference connecting students from the Metropolitan
Learning Center with high school students in Baghdad-before
and after the war in Iraq.
Since winning, Metropolitan
Learning Center has become an anchor school for the International Studies Schools Network, the first national network of urban secondary schools devoted to international studies and world languages. In this capacity the school serves as a best practice example and role model for other network schools. MLC is also contacted regularly by other schools across the country for assistance and advice.
The award helped to fund travel for students at the school, an important part of the MLC program. Students have received assistance to travel to Japan, China and Ecuador. This year over 100 students are traveling abroad and six international students are visiting the school. A new sister school partnership with a school in Ecuador was established in 2007 and the first international service learning program was completed.
Anne McKernan, Principal, has this advice for those seeking to add international components to their curriculum, "Stay in contact with organizations such as Asia Society, iEARN, Global Nomads, YFU and others that are involved in this work. Have your teachers travel and get interesting worldly speakers into your schools. The teachers are a big hurdle. Few teachers have this kind of training and it is desperately needed."