Avenues School (NYC): Equipping Students for the Global Economy
Source: The Economist, Sep 2012
Equipping pupils to prosper in the global economy is at the core of the Avenues curriculum, which has been developed by various experts including some from Harvard’s School of Education. Mr Whittle thinks that even America’s best private schools have a “stale” curriculum in this respect, especially when it comes to foreign languages, which often are not taught until pupils are 11. From the day they enter kindergarten at Avenues, pupils will be taught half their lessons in a foreign tongue, either Mandarin or Spanish—an “immersion” process that Mr Whittle reckons will make every pupil fully bilingual within seven years.
Schools are historically rooted in the villages, towns and cities in which they are situated. Almost all are single-city, single-country institutions. They teach about matters beyond their boundaries, but they do not operate in any meaningful way outside them. Over time, some have evolved to serve “national communities.” Leading examples include England’s Eton, India’s Doon School, America’s Exeter and China’s Shanghai High. While these “national” schools teach about the larger world and include students from diverse locations, their operations still largely exist in one country and on a single campus.
If “local” schools are the first step in the evolution of schooling and “national” schools are the second step, the decades ahead are likely to bring the third step: global schools. Thirty years from now there will likely be a number of such organizations. Avenues plans to be t
Admissions offices of top colleges and universities appreciate high school students who have real international experience (versus tourism with an educational label, typically in Western Europe).
Imagine that Avenues encourages all teachers to spend a year overseas working at another Avenues campus. Such exposure ensures that each Avenues campus is both infused with faculty from abroad and faculty who have worked abroad.
Harvard GSE blog, May 2011
A unique aspect of the curriculum is the World Course, a coherent global studies curriculum that begins in kindergarten and extends through the 12th grade. The World Course is being designed by Professor Fernando Reimers and his associates at HGSE.
NYMag article, Sep 2012
NYTimes, Jul 2011