‘The Academy’ opens at Meadowbrook
By Pat Kumpan
The new Academy at Meadowbrook Middle School has attracted 269 sixth- and seventh-graders this fall who want to take one of the five future-ready electives now added to this year’s curriculum, according to Principal Miguel Carrillo.
The program, referred to as “The Academy,” was designed to meet the needs of students who want a second elective, subjects that are likely to enhance their educational experience in middle school and possibly beyond, Carrillo added.
For Academy students, the school day is extended by an hour. Instead of leaving at 2:25 p.m. each day, they stay until 3:25 p.m. Also, their parents were asked to contribute $500 for additional technology and materials as start-up funds, and volunteer 20 hours to the program during the year, he added.
“We hope to include eighth-graders next year as we get more financial support,” Carrillo said. “So far, everyone is enthusiastic — students, parents and teachers.”
The Academy classes include: computer graphic arts, digital photography, Gateway to Technology, intensive Spanish and a combined language arts or math support.
At some point in the future, Mandarin Chinese will likely be an option, mostly because that language has been recognized for its importance in the financial world, and is considered the language to learn for financial transactions, Carrillo said.
For parent Annie Neale, mother of Academy student Andrew Neale, his participation in Gateway to Technology with teacher Joe Ismay is “a great opportunity to introduce my son to something he wouldn’t otherwise get to learn.”
“When Andrew comes home from school, he talks for about an hour about his technology class,” his mom said. “He loves it.”
Meanwhile, Cameron Schuster, also a sixth-grader, focuses on improving his computer graphic arts skills in teacher Janice Teixeira’s class, where he and others can also use new iPads.
Schuster said he has been using a computer at home from an early age because his dad introduced him to such technology.
In the digital photography class, seventh-grader Maddie Adams said she likes the freedom of taking photos anywhere on campus, then coming back to download what she snapped.
“I think photos say a lot about your personality,” said student Lauren Quan.
Their teacher, Joe Gizzo, said, “I knew this class would spark students’ interest.”
“This could be a stepping stone to what students will take in high school,” he added.
For math teacher Dave Bristow, it’s trying to improve students’ speed in math accuracy.
“My Academy students range in math ability, but as a small group they have less of a math fear as they work together,” he said.
For more details about The Academy, call Carrillo at 858-748-0802.
Other Academy teachers include Amaya Martiarena, Terri Heaslet, Bambi Kelly, Jackie Basney, Cynthia Arellano, Donna Lundberg, Kenneth Carr, Kay McHeffey, Mike Beam and Stefanie Williams.
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