From The Zoo School in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Harvey Milk High School in New York, New York here are 13 Most Innovative Schools You’ll Want to Attend.
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#6 – Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, California
The Visitacion Valley Middle School is innovative for two major reasons, their implementation of “Quiet Time” as well as their extensive list of support services for the students, most of which are located within the Wellness Center. In 2007, Principal Jim Dierke implemented two 15-minute breaks one at the beginning and one at the end of the school day. That, coupled with the comprehensive care given to students in the Wellness Center, gives the students a great deal of much-needed support since Dierke explained that most of the students that attend the Visitacion have a family connection to someone who has seen a shooting, shot someone, or had been shot. The Wellness Center provides support through its programs like individual therapy, family case management, mentorship programs and different support groups that cater to specific groups such as all-girls and survivors of trauma.
#5 – The Zoo School in Grand Rapids, Michigan
What would be better than go to a zoo to learn? Not much. The Zoo School in Grand Rapids accepts 60 sixth-grade learners each year for a year-long learning experience that the students will surely write home about. In addition to the state required sixth-grade curriculum, students feed the zoo animals, raise salmon, sample water, and go on camping trips. Students also take classes in forestry, zoology, astronomy, chemistry, and physics. At the end of the year, each student is required to present an individual project which encourages them to hone their research and presentation skills throughout the year. If that doesn’t make you want to go back to school, I’m not sure what will.
#4 – Harvey Milk High School in New York, New York
Harvey Milk High School was founded in 2003 by the Hetrick-Martin Institute which is a social services organization created to foster and support at-risk LGBTQ youth. The school teaches things like health, specifically, HIV related, education, and job-readiness training. The school surrounds the youth with positive and understanding teachers and while adhering to the state’s educational standards, incorporates an LGBTQ perspective into the curriculum. In 2013, the National Climate Survey gave results that stated that over 55% of LGBTQ youth reported feeling unsafe at school because of how they were judged for their sexual orientation. This school is looking to change that. The students here enjoy the environment so much that the school had to create an “aging out” policy that required learners to move on once they turned 21.
#3 – P-TECH High School in Brooklyn, New York
P-TECH High School is one that takes learning to a whole level of education; I’m talking a six-year degree. P-TECH was launched by IBM in 2011 in order to give teens living in New York an alternate way into college that avoided the usual four-year high school track. At this school, high school and college are combined, and the student completes six years of classes. Boosted by mentorship and internships in the science, technology, engineering, or math fields, the fifth and sixth-year students earn an associate’s degree from the New York City College of Technology nearby. That’s a pretty sweet deal.
#2 – The Avenues World School in New York, New York
This innovative school aims to prepare children for the global challenges and opportunities students will face in the 21st century. The school has an immersive bilingual program that pairs the standard English found in all American schools, with either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. The Avenue located in New York is the first of its kind, but its creators hope to eventually establish at least 20 other interconnecting campuses around the world. Each campus would teach the same curriculum as the next so that a student learning in London could transfer to Buenos Aires and continue with their education the following semester.
#1 – The Orestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Orestad Gymnasium is a series of four boomerang-shaped story decks inside of a giant glass cube. The high school is a public gymnasium in the Orestad district of Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2007, when the school moved to the building it resides in today, the event was attended by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and since then the Orestad Gymnasium has been one of the most sought gymnasiums in all of Denmark and much of the world. This innovative school is completely free of traditional classrooms, instead, there are four “study zones” that occupy the space. For its design, the building won the Forum Aid Award 2009 and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award. With the tall central atrium and a rooftop terrace, this sure is a sweet place to study.