Boston Prep students on their trip to Italy

While in grad school, I took 20 or so classes over 2 years. It came to about $5,000 per class.

Early on Saturday mornings, I went to some free classes in downtown Boston. No university affiliation. They were led by Linda Brown, about how to start a charter school. I can't remember ever learning more. Plus there were bagels.

Linda loved to get Lorraine Monroe to guest-teach. Lorraine was a famous "No Excuses" principal in the New York City public schools. One thing she stressed was....foreign travel.

To further expand the experiences of Academy students, Dr. Monroe stresses cultural diversity. To build on this, she has taken several students on trips abroad to places as far away as Israel, South Africa, Europe and Canada. Day trips to New York's own cultural sites, including theaters, museums and ballet halls, are also a regular part of the curriculum. "As a child, I didn't get a cultural fix on this city. I was never exposed to art," Dr. Monroe says and adds: "You've got to give kids that kind of sense that the world is theirs."

Scott McCue internalized that lesson. He is one of the star graduates of Linda Brown's Building Excellent Schools fellowship. The school he founded, Boston Prep, offers Latin, starting (I think) in middle school. Ultimately the kids' effort culminates in a trip to Italy.

Of course, there are tradeoffs to pay for such things. Like most charters up here, BP has no library, no gym, etc. There's always demand for more social worker, special education teachers, tutoring, teacher training, books, computers, art, health, music, smaller class size, et al.

But anyway. Kids to Italy. Cool.

Comments

In my experience, I have seen that travel abroad seems to help mature students and fosters thoughtfulness and a sense of purpose in them. Although you note the trade-offs, it seems like travel could be a worthwhile investment. I imagine that these students will remember this trip for a lifetime!

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