by George J Elbaum
The Tremont School is a small private school located in Lexington, though its students come from Boston and the surrounding towns. 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. Students in grades 9-12 attending my talk have read Friedrich, Night, and The Sunflower, and have background knowledge about the Nazi’s rise to power, the human costs of WWII and the Holocaust, Oskar Schindler, and the Nuremberg Trials. They have also visited US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC.
This was my second presentation at Tremont (the previous was in April 2015) and was again organized by teacher Tore Kapstad, whom I met in 2012 when he organized my talk in another school. Also attending it were headmaster Ben Niles and teachers Jorge Yacubowicz, Chuck Chanay, and Mike MacGillivary. Arrangements for the presentation were made by Judi Bohn of Facing History and Ourselves.