MetroFocus: June 1, 2021

THE BALDWIN SCHOOL DISTRICT: TEACHING REAL-LIFE CURRICULUM

For years educators across the country have struggled to figure out what it means to be a 21st century student but one school district on Long Island thinks it has figured it out. And now they’re on a mission to show that transforming education into something modern is not just possible, but imperative. Baldwin calls itself the only school district in New York state to offer a wide array of academic academies. Beginning in eighth grade and continuing through high school, students can choose to immerse themselves in specific areas of study, receiving hands-on and real-world experience in everything from business to healthcare and government. And their program is successful. Since 2014, Baldwin has reported a significant rise in graduation rates and college acceptances. And just last year, for the first time, Baldwin High School was ranked among the top high schools in the nation by US News & World Report. So tonight, as part of our Chasing The Dream initiative, we’re spotlighting the Baldwin school district’s unique approach to learning with Superintendent Dr. Shari Camhi.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

FOR YEARS, EDUCATORS HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THEIR STUDENTS READY FOR THE REAL WORLD AND THE 21st CENTURY WORKFORCE.

ONE SCHOOL DISTRICT ON LONG ISLAND THINKS THEY HAVE A POSSIBLE ANSWER.

THE BALDWIN UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT IS SHOWING TRANSFORMING EDUCATION INTO SOMETHING MODERN IS NOT JUST POSSIBLE, IT'S IMPERATIVE.

BALDWIN CALLS ITSELF THE ONLY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN NEW YORK STATE TO OFFER A WIDE ARRAY OF ACADEMIC ACADEMIES.

STUDENTS CAN CHOOSE TO IMMERSE THEMSELVES IN SPECIFIC AREAS OF STUDY, RECEIVING REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE FROM BUSINESS TO HEALTH CARE TO GOVERNMENT.

IT'S APPARENTLY WORKING TOO.

JUST LAST YEAR FOR THE FIRST TIME, BALDWIN HIGH SCHOOL WAS RANKED AMONG THE TOP HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE NATION BY U.S.

NEWS AND WORLD REPORT.

TONIGHT, WE'RE SPOTLIGHTING THE DISTRICT'S UNIQUE APPROACH TO LEARNING AS PART OF OUR CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE.

BEFORE THE PANDEMIC HIT, WE HAD THE CHANCE TO VISIT BALDWIN AND EXPERIENCE WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TYPICAL SCHOOL YEAR.

WHAT INDUSTRY IS LOOKING FOR, THEY'RE LOOKING FOR CRITICAL THINKERS, COMMUNICATORS, CREATIVITY.

IF WE WANT OUR STUDENTS TO GAIN THOSE SKILLS, THEN WE HAVE TO CREATE OPPORTUNITIES WHERE THEY LEARN THEM AND USE THEM.

RECREATING EDUCATION IS A PASSION OF SHARI CAMHI.

EVER SINCE SHE JOINED THE DISTRICT, DR. CAMHI HAS WORKED TO MAKE THE EDUCATION EXPERIENCE MORE MEANINGFUL FOR HER STUDENTS.

WE AS A TEAM HAVE VISITED GOOGLE, WE VISITED MASHABLE.

OUR STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE WORKING IN THOSE ENVIRONMENTS.

SO IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE WORKING IN THOSE ENVIRONMENTS, WE REALLY FELT COMPELLED TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR ENVIRONMENTS INSIDE THE WALLS OF OUR SCHOOLS MIRRORS WHAT THE WORK WORLD LOOKS LIKE.

DR. CAMHI SAT DOWN WITH HER DISTRICT'S TEACHERS AND ASKED THEM WHAT THEY NEEDED TO MAKE THEIR CLASSROOMS FEEL LESS INSTITUTIONAL AND MORE ADAPTABLE TO THEIR TEACHING STYLE.

THEY IMPLEMENTED THE ACADEMY SYSTEM, WHICH ALLOWS STUDENTS TO TEST OUT FIELDS OF STUDY.

IT EMPHASIZES LEARNING RATHER THAN SCHOOLING.

KIDS GO FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO COLLEGE AND COLLEGE TO CAREER.

WHERE DO THEY GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT CAREERS?

WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THE GROWING ISSUE OF COLLEGE DEBT, SO WE REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT ROUNDING OUT OUR STUDENTS' EXPERIENCES HELPS THEM TO INFORM A BETTER DECISION ABOUT GOING TO COLLEGE, WHAT COLLEGE, WHAT THEY WANT TO STUDY BY NOT ONLY GETTING THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CONTENT IN SCHOOL, BUT THE EXPERIENCES OF THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL.

AFTER YOU LOOK AT IT FOR A COUPLE MINUTES, YOU'RE GOING TO SHARE WITH YOUR TABLE WHAT'S YOUR NEW JOB.

WHEN I CAME IN HIGH SCHOOL, I HAD A MOCK TRIAL.

I WAS A FRESHMAN AND I LEARNED THE BASICS.

THEN I NOTICED LATER ON THAT I WAS HELPING OTHER KIDS IN THE OTHER CLUBS THAT I PARTICIPATE IN.

I HELPED THEM AND MOTIVATED THEM.

I FEEL LIKE I CAN GET THE HANG OF THIS, I ACTUALLY LIKE LEADING OTHERS AND GUIDING THEM IN A DIRECTION TO A POSITIVE FUTURE.

SHE WAS A BALDWIN HIGH SENIOR WHEN WE VISITED AND CO-CEO OF SUPPLY, A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE AGGREGATING LONG ISLAND PRODUCTS.

THE C SHE CREDITS THE ACADEMY PROGRAM.

I GOT INTO IT.

I LIKED THE BUSINESS ASPECT WHERE WE GOT TO GO TO TRADE SHOWS AND TRADE WITH KIDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.

THE FOLLOWING YEAR THEY ASKED ME AND MY FRIEND LEAH IF WE WANTED TO TAKE THE POSITION OF BECOMING CEOs OF THE COMPANY.

I WANTED TO TAKE IT ONLY BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I HAVE THAT LEADERSHIP WITHIN ME TO INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE OTHERS.

THE SCHOOL WAS LIKE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE NOW.

DISCOVER, FIND THINGS OUT, TAKE ALL THESE CLASSES AND SEE WHAT YOU LIKE.

IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, WE CAN SWITCH YOU OUT AND TRY SOMETHING NEW.

THEY GIVE YOU ROOM TO DISCOVER AND SIT INSTEAD OF PUSHING AUTOMATICALLY, OH, YOU HAVE TO GO TO COLLEGE AND TAKE CLASSES IN BUSINESS AND THAT'S IT.

THE STUDENTS ARE DEFINITELY IN CHARGE OF THE BUSINESS, AS THEY ARE WITH MANY OF THE BALDWIN ACADEMIES.

BUT THEY'RE NOT RUDDERLESS.

ALL OF THE SCHOOLS HAVE A FACULTY LEADER.

THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL CLASS WHERE I HAVE A TEACHER KIND OF GIVING YOU INFORMATION.

YOU'VE GOT TO COME UP WITH THE AGENDA AND UNDERSTAND WHAT'S TYPICALLY GOING ON IN A COMPANY OR YOUR DEPARTMENT.

THAT'S RESEARCHED FIRST.

THEY PUT THEIR SPIN ON HOW THEY THINK THEY SHOULD BE GRADED AND THEN I KIND OF REVIEW IT.

THEN THE CHIEFS REVIEW EACH OF THE PEOPLE UNDER THEM, THEN THE CEOs REVIEW IT.

I'M THE LAST PERSON TO REVIEW AT PROGRESS REPORT TIME AND REPORT CARD TIME.

THE BALDWIN ACADEMIES ARE NOT SILOED EITHER.

THEY OVERLAP WITH ONE ANOTHER JUST AS DIFFERENT INDUSTRIES WOULD IN THE REAL WORLD.

I SWITCHED TO MARKETING DESIGN.

WE'RE A DEPARTMENT UNDER VIRTUAL ENTERPRISE.

WE HELP DESIGN THE BUSINESS CARD, THE LOGO, ADVERTISEMENT, PHOTOGRAPHY, BRANDING, ANYTHING THAT RELATES TO ART THAT YOU WOULD NEED TO CREATE A BUSINESS.

TEACHER KELLY SAYS THE ART STUDENTS' PARTICIPATION IN THE ACADEMIES AND SUPPLY HAS BROUGHT THEM THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT STUDYING THE ARTS CAN ACTUALLY MEAN.

WE'RE E'RE DOING A COMMERCIA THE DESIGN.

WE'RE INCORPORATING DIFFERENT IDEAS IN HOW IT SHOULD LOOK.

YOU KNOW HOW IT'S FLAT?

YEAH.

PEOPLE THINK OF SOMEONE MAJORING IN ART, THEY THINK OF FINE ARTS, BUT THAT'S ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF ART.

NOW, ESPECIALLY WITH THE INVENTION OF THE INTERNET, THERE'S SO MANY TECHNICAL JOBS OUT THERE INVOLVING ART.

YOU CAN BE A WEB DESIGNER, A GRAPHIC DESIGNER.

YOU CAN WORK FOR A NEWS COMPANY.

YOU CAN BE A VIDEOGRAPHER.

WITH COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE AND APPLE, THEY'RE FOCUSED ON THE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY, SO THAT'S BRINGING ART MORE TO THE FOREFRONT.

AMAZING STUDENTS WHO HAVE SUCH AMAZING ARTISTIC TECHNIQUES AND SKILLS THAT I WISH I HAD.

THEY JUST HELPED US WITH SO MUCH.

THEY LIFT SO MUCH WEIGHT OFF OUR SHOULDERS AND KEEPING US NICE AND RELAXED.

EVERYTHING COMES OUT AMAZING IN THE END.

THIS IS THE DISPLAY THAT YOU GUYS HAVE NOW, BUT I UNDERSTAND THIS IS GOING TO BE CHANGING?

YES.

IT'S ALWAYS GOING TO BE CHANGING FOR EVERY TRADE SHOW THAT WE HAVE.

OUR WHOLE BOOTH IS TRANSFERABLE.

WE'RE ABLE TO BRING IT ON THE BUS AND TRANSPORT IT AND MOVE IT.

SHE'S BRINGING IN NEW IDEAS OF HOW WE CAN MODERATE IT AND MAKE IT A LITTLE LESS HEAVY.

ALSO INSIDE OF THERE, WE ALSO WANT TO SHOW THE PRODUCTS THAT WE GIVE OUT AND PROVIDE TO THE PEOPLE.

WHEN YOU COME TO NEW YORK, YOU DON'T REALLY THINK OF LONG ISLAND.

YOU THINK OF THE FIVE BOR BOROU AND THE CITY.

THERE'S SO MUCH PEOPLE DON'T KNOW OF LONG ISLAND, THE CONCERTS, THE WINERIES AND EVEN THE BEACHES ARE AMAZING.

OUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE EVERYBODY IS INCLUDED AND LONG ISLAND HAS MORE TO OFFER AND THERE'S MORE TO NEW YORK.

FOR MORE ON BALDWIN'S ACADEMIC ACADEMIES, IT'S MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME SUPERINTENDENT DR. SHARI CAMHI.

I'D SAY WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS' BUT IT'S KIND OF A REWELCOME BECAUSE WE'VE SPOKEN TO YOU BEFORE.

I'M SO EXCITED TO SEE YOU AGAIN AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE WORK WE'RE DOING IN BALDWIN.

WHEN WE WERE IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, MY CAMERA CREW AND I WERE REALLY AMAZED AT THE UNIQUE ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO EDUCATION THAT YOU WERE TAKING WITH THE SCHOOL.

I HAVE TO ASK, ONCE THE PANDEMIC HIT, HOW DID THAT CHANGE THINGS?

IT SEEMS TO HAVE UPENDED EVERYTHING.

YEAH.

SO IT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

THE TRUTH IS, IN A HEARTBEAT, WE WERE JUST GONE, RIGHT?

WE WERE NOT IN OUR BUILDINGS ANYMORE.

SCHOOLS ARE SO ACCUSTOMED TO DOING THINGS THE WAY THEY'VE ALWAYS DONE IT AND THEY'RE SO BASED IN THEIR BUILDINGS THAT TO HAVE US JUST SHUT OUR DOORS AND ALL GO HOME AND CONTINUE TO DO THE WORK THAT WE WERE DOING WAS DEFINITELY A CHALLENGE.

I WOULD SAY THAT LAST YEAR WAS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT THAN THIS YEAR.

LAST YEAR WE LITERALLY ALL WENT HOME, CLOSED OUR DOORS, CONTINUED TO DO OUR WORK, BUT A LOT OF WHAT WE'RE REALLY PROUD OF IS THE WORK THAT HAPPENS OUTSIDE THE FOUR WALLS OF OUR BUILDINGS.

AND SO WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE WERE GOING TO REINVENT THAT FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR, BECAUSE THINGS WERE SO UNCERTAIN AND WE DID NOT KNOW WHAT THIS YEAR WAS GOING TO LOOK LIKE.

SO WHILE LAST YEAR WAS A DEFINITE SHAKEUP IN WHAT WE NORMALLY DO, THIS YEAR WE FIGURED OUT HOW TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT KIND OF WORK, BOTH IN CLASS AND FOR A LOT OF THE WORK THAT HAPPENS FOR US IN HOSPITALS AND OUTSIDE ORGANIZATIONS.

WE FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO THAT THIS WAY, THROUGH ZOOM.

SO WHEN IT CAME TO RETURNING TO THE CLASSROOM, WHICH HAS BEEN A BIG PUSH FOR A LOT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS SINCE THE PANDEMIC HIT, SOME SCHOOLS WERE HYBRID, SOME SCHOOLS WENT BACK FULL-TIME.

WHERE DOES BALDWIN STAND, AT LEAST NOW?

SO WE ARE VERY PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE BEEN BACK SINCE DAY ONE, SEPTEMBER 1st.

OUR STUDENTS RETURNED BACK.

WE GAVE PARENTS A CHOOSE AT THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS BETWEEN FULL REMOTE LEARNING AND FULL IN-PERSON LEARNING.

WE WERE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE THOSE CHOICES.

GRADES 6-12, PARENTS HAD A CHOICE BETWEEN FULL, REMOTE AND HYBRID, HYBRID BEING THEY WERE IN SCHOOL EVERY OTHER MONDAY AND EITHER TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY, FRIDAY.

THE REASON FOR THAT IS BECAUSE OUR SCHOOLS ARE TOO LARGE TO ACCOMMODATE SIX FOOT DISTANCING.

FROM SEPTEMBER 1st, OUR KIDS HAVE IN SOME WAY BEEN IN PERSON UNLESS THEIR FAMILIES OPTED FOR FULL REMOTE INSTRUCTION.

I AM AS PROUD IF NOT MORE PROUD OF THE EFFORTS OF OUR TEACHERS WHO ARE TEACHING OUR KIDS REMOTELY, BECAUSE THAT WAS A CHANGE IN THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT HOW YOU DO WORK, RIGHT?

SCHOOLS ARE SOCIAL PLACES.

THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE LOOKS FORWARD TO.

SO TO SEE PEOPLE THIS WAY IS DEFINITELY NOT THE IDEAL AND SO WE HAVE NOT SHUT DOWN NOT ONE SINGLE DAY IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM.

SO WE ARE REALLY, REALLY PROUD OF THAT.

THAT'S REALLY IMPRESSIVE.

I'M WONDERING ALSO NOW THAT YOU'VE SORT OF GIVEN US THE LAY OF THE LAND OF WHAT IT IS YOU GUYS ARE WORKING WITH, WHAT ROLE DID THE ACADEMY'S PROGRAM PLAY IN STUDENTS' MENTAL HEALTH?

THAT'S ONE OF THE BIGGER ISSUES DEALING WITH THIS PANDEMIC IS THE EMOTIONAL TOLL.

AS YOU MENTIONED, SCHOOL IS A SOCIAL PLACE, AND ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE CRITICAL TEEN YEARS TO HAVE THAT GONE MUST HAVE BEEN INCREDIBLY CHALLENGING.

IT WAS CHALLENGING FOR EVERYONE.

I HONESTLY DON'T THINK THAT WE HAVE SEEN THE TRAUMA THAT IS GOING TO RESULT FROM THIS.

WE ARE ALREADY THINKING ABOUT NEXT SCHOOL YEAR.

WE ARE THINKING ABOUT HOW ARE WE GOING TO RIGHT FROM THE START DEAL WITH WHAT'S HAPPENED.

YOU KNOW, IN SEPTEMBER IT WILL BE A YEAR AND A HALF.

IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE THAT, BUT THAT'S HOW LONG IT WILL BE WHEN WE GET BACK IN SEPTEMBER.

SO WE'RE ALREADY PLANNING FOR WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR US FROM AN EMOTIONAL HEALTH, FROM A WELL N WELLNESS PERSPECTIVE.

WE HAVE A PROGRAM WITH COLLEGE THAT IS WORKING WITH BOTH OUR STUDENTS AND FACULTY REMOTELY AND DEALING WITH THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF WELLNESS RIGHT NOW.

OUR ACADEMY PROGRAM, THAT WAS AN INTERESTING SHIFT, BUT WHAT WE HAVE MANAGED TO DO, FOR EXAMPLE, IF I THINK ABOUT OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH NORTHWELL HEALTH, NORMALLY WE WOULD BE AT NORTHWELL HEALTH OR ONE OF THE HOSPITALS DOING THAT TYPE OF WORK.

INSTEAD, WHAT WE HAVE MANAGED TO FIGURE OUT IS HOW TO WORK WITH MEMBERS OF THEIR COMMUNITY, DOCTORS, ADMINISTRATORS, ALL SORTS OF EMPLOYEES FROM NORTH WELL HEALTH.

THEY HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN AMAZING, BECAUSE THEY ARE ZOOMING WITH OUR STUDENTS.

SO MAYBE INSTEAD OF GOING THERE FOR A FULL DAY, THEY'RE GETTING THE BENEFIT OF THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE FIELD AND THE AREAS THAT OUR KIDS ARE STUDYING, AND IT IS INTERACTIVE.

IT IS A CONVERSATION.

IT IS AMAZING.

IT'S AMAZING THAT WE HAVE ALL FIGURED THIS OUT, WHAT'S ALMOST EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE IS IT'S THE FIRST TIME THAT WHETHER YOU'RE A KINDERGARTENER OR A SIXTH GRADER OR A NINTH GRADER OR A 12th GRADER, THE SKILLS REQUIRED TO BE EFFECTIVE ARE THE SAME SCHOOLS THAT A CEO, A JOURNALIST, A MEDIA PRODUCER, WE ARE ALL LEARNING THOSE SKILLS ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

IMAGINE A 5-YEAR-OLD, A 35-YEAR-OLD AND A 65-YEAR-OLD ALL LEARNING AND EXECUTING THOSE SKILLS AT THE SAME TIME.

IT'S KIND OF BEEN A PHENOMENAL EXPERIENCE, BECAUSE YOU REALIZE WHAT'S POSSIBLE.

ONE OF THE THINGS I'M ALSO CURIOUS ABOUT IS WHEN THESE STUDENTS ARE ENTERING THESE DIFFERENT ACADEMIES -- NOW, I UNDERSTAND AS WE DISCUSSED PREVIOUSLY, THEY CAN START ABOUT EIGHTH GRADE OR SO.

ASKING PERHAPS AN EIGHTH GRADER TO HAVE ANY IDEA OF WHAT CAREER PATH YOU WANT TO FOLLOW, THAT'S A LOT FOR A 13-YEAR-OLD.

SO HOW MANY CHANCES DO THE KIDS GET?

HOW ARE THEY ABLE TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS OR SWITCH ACADEMIES, AND IS THERE ROOM FOR I DON'T WANT TO SAY FAILURE BUT PERHAPS A REASSESSMENT OF WHAT'S GOING TO WORK BEST?

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

OUR EIGHTH GRADERS HAVE FOUR OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN A PRE-ACADEMY.

IN THAT PRE-ACADEMY, THEY CAN CHANGE THEIR MINDS EACH TIME FOR EACH QUARTER.

SO THEY MIGHT PARTICIPATE IN ROBOTICS ONE-QU KWAQUARTER, THET PARTICIPATE IN LIKE A MOCK TRIAL A SECOND QUARTER.

THEY GET A SENSE OVER THE COURSE OF EIGHTH GRADE WHAT DIFFERENT ACADEMIES FEEL LIKE.

WHEN THEY GET INTO NINTH GRADE, WE HOPE THEY'LL PICK AN ACADEMY THAT THEY WILL STICK WITH, BUT BECAUSE THE ACADEMIES ARE DESIGNED AROUND THE ELECTIVE PROGRAM, THEY CAN CHANGE ACADEMIES IN NINTH GRADE AND 10th GRADE.

WE ASK THAT BY 11th GRADE THEY FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE THEY ARE MOST PASSIONATE.

I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE.

WE'VE HAD STUDENTS THAT BELIEVE THEY WANTED TO BE A DOCTOR OR A NURSE, BUT THEY FOR SURE WANTED TO BE IN MEDICINE, GO INTO MEDICINE AND REALIZE VERY QUICKLY THAT BEING AROUND SICK PATIENTS OR BLOOD MAY NOT BE SOMETHING THEY CAN HANDLE.

YEAH.

STILL INVOLVES THE FIELD OF MEDICINE.

WE'VE HAD STUDENTS DECIDE THEY WANTED TO BE LAWYERS BUT THEY WANTED TO BE LAWYERS INSIDE THE FIELD OF MEDICINE.

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPLORE NOT ONLY INDIVIDUAL CAREERS, BUT THE INDUSTRIES THAT YOU CAN SERVE WITHIN THOSE CAREERS.

WHAT WE FIND IS OUR STUDENTS LEARN AS MUCH ABOUT WHAT THEY DON'T WANT TO DO AS THEY LEARN ABOUT WHAT THEY DO WANT TO DO, WHICH AS A PARENT I CAN TELL YOU IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY VALUABLE LESSON, BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO GO INTO COLLEGE AT LEAST BEING RELATIVELY SURE WHAT IT IS YOU WANT TO STUDY IN YOUR FOUR YEARS OF SCHOOL AND NOT MAKE THAT PIVOT IN COLLEGE.

THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF OTHER SCHOOLS THAT TAKE A MORE TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO EDUCATION.

I KNOW I WAS PUT THROUGH A TRADITIONAL EDUCATIONAL APPROACH AND STILL MANAGED TO CHASE MY DREAMS, AND THOSE SCHOOLS STILL ARE ABLE TO PRODUCE DOCTORS AND LAWYERS AND ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS, ET CETERA.

I GUESS, WHY THIS PARTICULAR METHOD AS OPPOSED TO WHAT SOME PEOPLE SAY IS TRIED AND TRUE?

SO WE HAVE BOTH.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IN AN ACADEMY.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE TO BE IN AN ACADEMY OR NOT TO BE IN AN ACADEMY.

AGAIN, OUR ACADEMIES ARE SCHOOL WITHIN A SCHOOL.

YOU MIGHT BE IN THE MEDICAL ACADEMY, I MIGHT BE IN THE LAW ACADEMY, BUT WE MAY BE IN MANY CLASSES TOGETHER.

IN NEW YORK STATE THERE ARE REQUIRED CLASSES IN ORDER TO GRADUATE AND THERE'S REQUIRED EXAMS TO GRADUATE.

YOU NEED TO WORK ON THOSE BECAUSE THEY NEED TO BE UPDATED AND THERE ARE MANY OTHER WAYS OF SHOWING HOW YOU ARE READY TO MOVE ON THAN THE WAYS THAT WE CURRENTLY USE.

THERE ARE SOME STUDENTS THAT ARE VERY GOOD IN THE TRADITIONAL WAYS.

THEY'RE GOOD ATT TEST TAKING, THEY'RE GOOD AT THE WAY THAT SCHOOL IS CURRENTLY DESIGNED, BUT WHAT WE ALSO KNOW IS THAT WE ARE REALLY LOOKING FOR ENGAGEMENT IN OUR STUDENT POPULATION.

YOU KNOW, TAKING A TIMED TEST ONCE YOU GET PAST CERTAIN HURDLES DOESN'T REALLY EVER HAPPEN AGAIN.

I CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I TOOK A TIMED TEST, BUT I CAN REMEMBER IN THE VERY, VERY RECENT PAST WHEN I HAD TO USE MY CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS AND MY PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS AND MY COMMUNICATION SKILLS.

IF THIS YEAR DID NOT TEACH US ANYTHING, WE HAVE CERTAINLY LEARNED THAT THE SKILLS MORE SO THAN THE CONTENT IS WHAT DROVE THE SUCCESS THAT WE HAVE SEEN, BECAUSE WE NEEDED TO REALLY THINK CRITICALLY AND WE NEEDED TO SOLVE A LOT OF PROBLEMS IN THIS LAST YEAR.

WITHOUT THOSE SKILLS, I THINK WE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN TROUBLE.

AND NONE OF IT WAS TIMED AND NONE OF IT WAS ON A TEST.

I THINK THERE'S A LOT TO LEARN FROM WHAT WE'VE JUST BEEN THROUGH.

SO BOTH MODELS EXIST FOR OUR STUDENTS.

WHAT WE BELIEVE IS YOU DESIGN PROGRAMS AROUND YOUR STUDENTS, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

WE KNOW WHO OUR KIDS ARE.

OUR LATEST ACADEMY IS A FINE AND PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY, BECAUSE WE KNOW WE HAVE A LOT OF ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, THEATER KIDS IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM.

SO WE REALLY WANT THEM TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOVE BEING HERE.

AND WHAT WE FIND WITH OUR STUDENTS WHO ARE INVOLVED IN THE ACADEMIES IS THAT THEY ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT THEY DO.

THEY LOVE WHAT THEY DO.

OTHER THINGS THEY DO BECAUSE THEY HAVE TO DO.

WE'RE LOOKING FOR THE PASSION, THE ENGAGEMENT, THE LOVE OF LEARNING.

AND WE HAVE FOUND THAT OUR STUDENTS WHO ARE INVOLVED IN OUR ACADEMY PROGRAM LOVE WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

WELL, I DO WANT TO SORT OF BUILD ON THE POINTS YOU WERE MAKING ABOUT CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING, BECAUSE FREQUENTLY -- AND THIS IS EVEN PRIOR TO THE PANDEMIC -- WHEN PEOPLE TEND TO THINK, ESPECIALLY IN NEW YORK STATE, ABOUT WHAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS CAN DO, SHOULD BE DOING, IT'S OFTEN WITH LIMITATIONS, BECAUSE THERE IS SCHOOL FUNDING AND A PROPERTY TAX CAP THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT.

HOW IS ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE WHEN MOST PEOPLE'S UNDERSTANDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED WITH LIMITATIONS?

I WILL TELL YOU THERE'S A FEW THINGS INVOLVED IN THAT.

AT THE VERY, VERY TOP IS COURAGE.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO TRY THIS.

YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO SHARE THIS WITH YOUR COMMUNITY AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO MAKE IT WORK.

THIS HAS NOT COST US ANYTHING EXTRA.

YOU TALK ABOUT PROBLEM SOLVING AND CRITICAL THINKING.

EVERY HIGH SCHOOL HAS ELECTIVE COURSES, SO WHAT WE HAVE DONE IS WE'VE LOOKED AT THE NUMBER OF COURSES WE OFFER AND WHAT THOSE COURSES ARE, AND EVERY TIME WE INTRODUCE A NEW COURSE THAT IS TIED TO SOME OF THE ACADEMIES, THERE'S ANOTHER COURSE THAT MAYBE IS LESS POPULAR THAT WE CAN'T OFFER, OR WE OFFER THINGS ON AN ODD YEAR/EVEN YEAR BASIS SO THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR OUR STUDENTS.

YOU KNOW, IS MONEY AN ISSUE?

MONEY IS AN ISSUE.

MONEY DOWN STATE IS AN ISSUE BECAUSE OF OUR PHYSICAL BUILDINGS.

I HAVE A SCHOOL BUILDING THAT'S 105 YEARS OLD.

HONESTLY, I HOPE TO BE IN AS GOOD A SHAPE WHEN I'M 105 AS THAT BUILDING IS AT 105, BUT SCHOOLS IN THE INDUSTRIAL AGE WERE DESIGNED AROUND CLASSROOMS AND HALLWAYS AND SOME COMMON SPACES.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE WORLD OF WORK RIGHT NOW -- WELL, MAYBE NOT RIGHT NOW, BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THE DIRECTION WE WERE GOING IN THE WORLD OF WORK, IT IS OPEN SPACES, IT WAS COLLABORATION.

A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY.

YOU KNOW, MOST CLASSROOMS HAVE TWO OUTLETS IN THE FRONT OF THE ROOM AND TWO OUTLETS IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM, BECAUSE WHEN THEY WERE BUILT, THERE WEREN'T A LOT OF DEVICES TO PLUG IN.

SO THERE'S A LOT OF CHALLENGES THAT WE FACE AND LITTLE BY LITTLE WE ARE TRYING TO MITIGATE THOSE CHALLENGES, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO CAN WE DO THIS, CAN EVERYONE DO THIS, I COULD SAY WITH CERTAINTY EVERYONE CAN DO THIS.

DO I THINK IT'S THE MODEL THAT IS FOR EVEN?

NO, I DON'T THINK IT'S THE MODEL FOR EVERYONE.

BUT I DO THINK THAT WE NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT EDUCATION MORE CREATIVELY.

I WOULD SAY THAT WHAT HOLDS US BACK, ALL OF US, WHAT HOLDS US BACK IS POLICY.

AND THAT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE DETERMINE.

SO WE NEED TO WORK WITH THE POLICY MAKERS TO SEE EDUCATION THROUGH A DIFFERENT LENS SO THAT WE CAN ALL BE MORE CREATIVE, WE CAN BE A LITTLE BIT MORE CONTEMPORARY, WE CAN CONSIDER, FOR EXAMPLE, WHAT ARE THE INDUSTRIES OUT THERE AND WHAT ARE WE PREPARING KIDS FOR AND HOW DO WE BUILD A BRIDGE BETWEEN A PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION AND WHAT IS BEYOND THE K-12 EXPERIENCE, BEYOND HONESTLY THE P-16 EXPERIENCE.

WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF OUR TIME TOGETHER, BUT I DO WANT TO ASK ONE FINAL QUESTION.

THAT IS, IF ANOTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT OR PERHAPS SOMEBODY FROM THE BOARD OF ED OR A TEACHER OR SUPERINTENDENT SEES THE STORY AND IS CURIOUS, PERHAPS WOULD LIKE TO ATTEMPT TO REPLICATE SOMETHING SIMILAR SEEING AS HOW SO MANY THINGS SEEM TO BE IN THE LET'S REIMAGINE IT STAGE RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE?

SO MY ADVICE WOULD BE, NUMBER ONE, LOOK AT YOUR COMMUNITY AND THE AREAS BEYOND YOUR COMMUNITY AND ASK YOURSELF WHAT ARE THE THRIVING INDUSTRIES THAT ARE IN THAT COMMUNITY.

I WOULD OFFER TO GO ON OUR WEBSITE AND LOOK AROUND.

THERE'S A LOT OF RESOURCES ON OUR WEBSITE.

GIVE ME A CALL OR SEND ME AN E-MAIL.

WE HAVE HAD PROBABLY AT THIS POINT HUNDREDS OF VISITORS TO OUR HIGH SCHOOL.

I WOULD SAY THE PASSION THAT I WANT TO SEE IN OUR STUDENTS IS THE SAME PASSION THAT I HAVE.

I WOULD SAY THE PASSION THAT YOU SEE IN THE STUDENTS IS THE PASSION THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT SHOULD HAVE IS A GREAT NOTE TO LEAVE IT ON.

SO DR. SHARI CAMHI, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN US AGAIN.

HOPEFULLY WE CAN GO BACK OUT TO BALDWIN AND SEE HOW YOU GUYS HAVE MOVED PAST THE PANDEMIC ONCE WE ALL HAVE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US AND TELLING US ABOUT THE ACADEMIES.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COVERING THIS.

IT'S AN IMPORTANT TOPIC AND YOU ARE AMAZING.

THANK YOU.

WE'LL SPEAK AGAIN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION, THE JPB FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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