Thursday, February 11, 2016

Tech charter about more than just computers

By Sarina Trangle
Sixth grader Litzy Acosta participates during a class at Tech International Charter School, which is in its first year.

Groups of Tech International Charter School students squinted through microscopes at slices of tree stumps on Monday.

Guests from Wave Hill roamed around the classroom helping sixth graders guess what weather conditions, bugs or other predators may have cracked, gouged or marked the stumps. After making individual assessments, the class shared its discoveries. Stumps with larger gaps between their rings probably, “got a lot of rain and sun,” Litzy Acosta announced.

Though the new Tech International Charter School emphasizes electronics, software and how they can connect students with their peers across the globe, elements of the school environment are far from technologically based. Between Skyping with partner schools in Mexico, Canada, France and India, students are served family-style lunches of glass noodles and edamame. The school’s 145 students have embarked on a year-long study of the plant community with partners from the Wave Hill public gardens.

Tech International Charter School, which is the only area charter school not affiliated with a charter organization, started its inaugural academic year with 145 sixth graders on Aug. 27. The middle school will add a class each year and eventually expand from the first and third floors to the bottom four floors of 3120 Corlear Ave. In 2013, the school intends to revise its charter to educate high school students, as well.

Tech International only enrolls District 10 students, but it’s co-founder and principal Adjowah Scott says its scope became global when the school teamed up with six schools in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Social studies classes are collaborating on a history timeline with the American School Foundation in Mexico. Other classes will shoot videos describing their daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. academic routine and share them with partner schools via YouTube. Glockstar, a blog that allows students to use music, photos and text, will also be used for international exchanges.

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