The New School seeks to in­spire stu­dents through cu­rios­ity

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDUCATION - By Sarah Haney NWA Demo­crat- Gazette

The New School, a co-ed­u­ca­tional in­de­pen­dent school serv­ing stu­dents age one through 10th grade, has of­fered ex­cel­lence in ed­u­ca­tion in North­west Arkansas since 1971.

Lo­cated at 2514 New School Place, on a 26-acre wooded cam­pus in Fayet­teville, the school con­tin­ues to grow and ex­pand to meet the ever-chang­ing de­mands of ed­u­cat­ing young peo­ple in North­west Arkansas.

The New School’s re­cent con­struc­tion of three new build­ings to ac­com­mo­date its re­cent ex­pan­sion into high school will be com­pleted in time for fall classes. A rib­bon cut­ting, sched­uled for Sept. 7, will of­fi­cially mark the open­ing of the J.B. Hunt Fam­ily In­no­va­tion and Aca­demic Cen­ter and The New School Ath­letic Cen­ter.

The first build­ing, which is a 36,000 square foot aca­demic cen­ter, fea­tures science labs and col­lab­o­ra­tive spa­ces. Fifth and sixth graders will be housed on the first floor, sev­enth and eighth graders on the sec­ond, and ninth through 12th on the third floor.

“What’s unique about the Johnelle DeBusk Hunt Aca­demic Build­ing is that the de­signs were in­spired by our fac­ulty,” stated Pres­i­dent and Head of School Den­nis Chap­man.

“We have col­lab­o­ra­tion spa­ces in the cor­ri­dors to pro­mote small group work as well as “col­labs” for science. They are a mix of class­rooms and lab­o­ra­to­ries. We have four of those — each one is 1,250 square feet. It’s a state-of-the-art fa­cil­ity for teach­ing and learn­ing.”

From the aca­demic build­ing, there is a con­nect­ing bridge to the In­no­va­tion Cen­ter. The New School is the only school in the state that fea­tures a con­nect­ing bridge be­tween two build­ings. The In­no­va­tion Cen­ter is a two story, 9,000 square foot build­ing that fea­tures two mak­erspaces.

“We view this space as not just a great op­por­tu­nity for our stu­dents, but also to serve as a com­mu­nity re­source for North­west Arkansas ed­u­ca­tors to learn more about the Maker Move­ment.”

The In­no­va­tion Cen­ter also fea­tures a wood­shop, ro­bot­ics, class­room spa­ces, a com­mons area, and a beau­ti­ful pa­tio from which the stu­dents are able to see the en­tire cam­pus.

The third build­ing is a two story, 18,000 square foot ath­letic cen­ter with a full-court gym. It fea­tures seat­ing for about 450 spec­ta­tors and fea­tures the Blanken­ship Fit­ness Cen­ter on the mez­za­nine level, which will have weight and con­di­tion­ing equip­ment for stu­dent-ath­letes.

Class sizes are ideal at the school with two sec­tions of 18 to 20 stu­dents per class, with in­di­vid­u­al­ized learn­ing groups within each class. The New School spe­cial­izes in a per­son­al­ized cur­ricu­lum.

“It’s re­ally in­di­vid­u­al­ized to each stu­dent,” noted Chap­man. “We take stu­dents, where they are, and bring them up to the next level.”

The New School’s phi­los­o­phy is spark­ing cu­rios­ity through hands-on learn­ing, which in­te­grates well with the school’s STEAM ap­proach to ed­u­ca­tion (Science, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing, Arts, Math­e­mat­ics).

The school had 100 per­cent re­ten­tion of stu­dents this year in ninth and tenth grade, af­ter re­cently adding the grade lev­els. The Class of 2020 also scored 80 per­cent on their ad­vanced place­ment tests, com­pared to the state av­er­age of ap­prox­i­mately 35 per­cent.

In ad­di­tion to the stu­dents, the fac­ulty at The New School is ex­cep­tional as well. “We’ve been able to re­cruit lo­cally, re­gion­ally, and na­tion­ally for our fac­ulty,” added Chap­man. “We have an amaz­ing group of teach­ers. All teach­ers are spe­cial­ists in their field of study and are great at en­gag­ing the stu­dents, as well as spark­ing a love for learn­ing. That’s our mis­sion — to in­spire a love of life­long learn­ing in our stu­dents.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about The New School, call (479) 521-7037, or visit www. the­newschool.org.

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