When St. Francis – St. Hedwig School, the last remaining Catholic school in Naugatuck, announced that its doors would close in May, some families of the students who attended the school began searching for locally connected alternative schools.
Together, working with educational consultants Exemplary Education, Inc. which includes the former Superintendent of Naugatuck Schools, Post University and Holy Cross High School a new model middle school (grades 6-8) will open September 4, 2018. The new school named Frontiers Academy at Holy Cross, will be housed on the Holy Cross High School campus in Waterbury, Connecticut. Post University and its High School Academy Program is also collaborating on the initiative.
An Open House at Holy Cross is planned for this Sunday August 19 from 1 to 3 p.m.
This morning representatives from the Frontiers Academy, Holy Cross High School and Post University held a signing ceremony to highlight an agreement which outlines the respective roles of each partner of this new and exciting strategic collaborative.
“Holy Cross is delighted to be part of this collaborative venture advancing 21st century learning. We have a sincere willingness to work together with our community partners to enhance the bigger mission of faith formation in these students as the Academy develops. We firmly believe the school is creating a new learning paradigm, and with it, a unique opportunity to serve established as well as potential new families within the faith community,” said Paul G. Geise, interim president of Holy Cross High School.
Post University will be a strategic partner and supporter and offer the middle school and high school students opportunities to participate in engaging activities with college students and staff members aimed at understanding a college’s role in achieving career and life goals. There will also be venues where students and parents can learn about college programming, financial assistance, prerequisite classes, and the college and career preparation process.
Christina Agvent, director of strategic partnerships at Post, and the director of the University’s High School Academy, was instrumental in establishing this initiative.
“Creating a college-going culture in our local communities is critical, especially for young teens, Agvent said. Starting early makes it much more likely children are thinking about college and better future paths.”
“Doing well in middle school classes provides a strong foundation for the high school and college level courses that students will need to compete,” Agvent said. “The Academy’s curriculum and focus on personalized learning aligns with the University’s belief on how students learn best.”
The educational focus of Frontiers Academy at Holy Cross will center on project based learning and a competency based curriculum that stresses personalized learning plans for each student. The unity of art and science is at the center of the curriculum. Linkage with a new Design Lab planned in Naugatuck will provide real world opportunities for middle, high school and college students to learn the application of design thinking in elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Leslie Biggins, educating partner at Frontiers Academy said “personalized learning is at the forefront of what we all aspire to achieve as educators. Reaching a child at their level, challenging their strengths, addressing their weaknesses and imparting the skills and moral code necessary to navigate the modern world is the challenge of our time.”
Problem solving techniques, collaboration methods and communication skills are paramount and critical to the development of successful students. Doing this in a faith based environment emphasizing ethics, fair play and a moral code of conduct will define how boldly our students impact their local communities and ultimately the world they live in. John Tindall-Gibson, President of Exemplary Education Inc. is optimistic, “project based learning promises stunning outcomes! Students become engaged and enthralled when they can collaborate locally and globally to solve real world problems. We intend to offer a dynamic program that along with our collaborators provides a unique and cutting edge learning experience so necessary in our rapidly changing world.”
Pete Hess, Mayor of Naugatuck who advocated passionately for preserving St Francis – St Hedwig School is equally hopeful, “we are excited and thrilled for the establishment of Frontiers Academy at Holy Cross. This is a good day for educational choice in the region. Naugatuck is excited to play a role in collaborating with these fine educational institutions and will help in building a strong collaboration and partnership at the local level where it matters most to our families.”
Senator George Logan, who was instrumental in aligning this partnership agrees, “our region offers so many strong educational assets, Frontiers Academy links several well regarded institutions together in collaboration to provide a dynamic and challenging educational partnership for the strength and future of our community offerings.”
First Day of classes is September 4th, admission will be limited to 20 students per grade level.