by George J Elbaum
The Tremont School is a small private school located in Weston, MA, though its students come from Boston and the surrounding towns. In its 4th year of existence, it currently has 46 students in grades 5 – 9, with the plan of expanding to 12th grade. The school’s basic hypothesis is that the most stimulating educational environment is created by a deep and real partnership between students, teachers, parents, and administrators, and it firmly believes that learning is an ongoing exchange among all members of the school community, and that each student brings to that community strengths and interests that should be nurtured and shared for the benefit of all. Students thus learn in an environment that supports their making connections between thinking and doing. Teaching is therefore in a project-based curriculum which provides opportunities to develop hands-on projects that tug at the very core of an issue and develop in students the opportunity to question, analyze, and draw conclusions based on their own framework of understanding.
Since the student population has a variety of learning styles, the mission of the school is to serve this variety. Many of the kids are “out of the box” thinkers or are kids who benefit from a small and personalized learning community. Per current curriculum, grades 5 – 8 have been studying immigration, while grade 9 has spent the 1st semester studying Comparative Religion, and in the 2nd semester is examining what it means to be “great” in history, society, and literature. The Holocaust will be a formal part of the 10th grade curriculum for next year but for the current presentation the students were given background information about it.
My presentation was organized by teacher Tore Kapstad, whom I met in 2012 when he organized my talk in another school. It was also attended by Headmaster Bill Wilmot, Assistant Head of School Kathy Trogolo, and teachers Nina Schiarizzi, Jac Cohn, Irene Jackson, Mike MacGillivary, Ian Murphy, Bill Scheer and Ally Thomson. Arrangements for the presentation were made by Judi Bohn of Facing History and Ourselves.