All Saints’ Episcopal unveils new program for high school students

Posted Thursday, May. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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All Saints’ Episcopal School is launching a new program designed to better equip their top high school students for higher education and global citizenship.

Administrators at the Fort Worth private school say the new Honors College program is an approach that builds on the school’s rigorous college prep curriculum and includes more opportunities for collaborative discussion, interaction with international leaders and community involvement.

The Honors College is for the brightest and most-motivated students to help them learn to think critically, perform research and solve problems in groups. Students are applying for the four-year program now, which will start with about 40 students in the fall and officials have conducted a nationwide search for a director, said Thaddeus B. Bird, head of school.

“It’s innovative, it’s dynamic, it’s entrepreneurial, and it will prepare these kids for the best colleges and universities in the world,” Bird said. “Above all, the objective is to promote servant leadership and encourage students to not only consider where the world is but where it ought to be.”

The Honors College program will start with about 10 students per grade in the fall. Students will still take honors and advanced placement courses as part of their college-prep schedule, but they’ll also have additional educational opportunities, including working with scholars-in-residence and leaders from academia and business who will conduct symposiums in their subject of expertise. And students will access college-level curriculum, such as online courses offered by Stanford University, said Fr. David Madison, assistant head of school and upper school division head.

One requirement will be to become fluent in at least one foreign language. Students will spend time, likely a semester abroad, immersed in an international culture, Madison said.

“Education involves more than just downloading data into a particular student. They’ve got to be able to use that data and work in groups to solve problems. They’ve got to be able to work in groups to confront the challenges facing us in the 21st century,” Madison said.

To help shape the new approach, Bird and Madison made contact with leaders in higher education, including at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Christian University, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“They wanted to see better writers and more students who could problem-solve, think critically and work in teams,” Bird said.

Dee Kelly, president of the board of trustees, said the new program will benefit all the students in the upper school, not just those in the Honors College.

“The big thing from the standpoint of the board is you’re giving kids the opportunity for better outcomes and we are all for that,” Kelly said. “We’re just giving them an extra chance, through their own hard work, to do more.”

Jessamy Brown, 817-390-7326 Twitter: @jessamybrown

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