innovative new school emphasizes respect, responsibility and lifelong learning

The choices you make in life have an impact on others besides yourself.

That is something the students at Facing History New Tech High School have heard continuously since their school debuted last fall. Happily, the 70-pupil freshman class is taking those words seriously, says founding director Marc Engoglia.

Facing History New Tech is a Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) program now in the middle of its first year with a group of 70 freshmen. Operating out of Charles A. Mooney Middle School, the college-preparatory program blends project-based learning, integration of technology and a strong school culture of trust, respect and responsibility to ready its young charges for college life and beyond.

Students work in groups as if they were members of a workforce, notes Engoglia. "They're responsible for their own learning and [the learning of] other members of the group," he says. "I tell the kids, 'This is your school.'"

The program is a partnership of the New Tech Network and Facing History, groups with the respective goals of implementing innovative schools and teaching students about discrimination in order to develop an informed citizenry. 

"The idea is for students to become life-long learners," says Mark Swaim-Fox, executive director of the local chapter of Facing History. "They have a sense of responsibility in making a difference in the world."

These goals were emphasized by a recent project where participants created a public relations message for a local charity organization. Students then presented their projects to members of the local nonprofit community. Engoglia would like to see his pupils get further involved in the "real world," perhaps working as interns with their chosen organizations before graduation.

"They can be a driving force for change," he says. 

SOURCE: Marc Engoglia, Mark Swaim-Fox
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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