What’s Right With Schools: Educators at City Hill MS in Naugatuck think outside the box for virtual hands-on learning

Whats Right With Schools

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — Some teachers in Naugatuck are getting their students to continue hands-on projects while remote learning.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of teachers have had to think outside the box and that’s exactly what’s happening at City Hill Middle School with their Personal Interest Projects (PIPs).

In March many teachers had to rework their curriculums overnight and for City Hill Middle School they brought in EdAdvance and their PIP program. 

“There were just so many google sheets, google forms, google docs: turn it in, turn it in, turn it in,” Elizabeth Radday of EdAdvance told News 8.

Back in March it was an emergency transistion for everyone.

Principal Eileen Mezzo explained, “Our director of curriculum passed along an email saying the PIPs….were welcome for middle school students as well as high school students and we just began from there.

EdAdvance works with 40 districts around the state and Radday says, “A lot of the schools we had been working with jumped right on board.”

Remote learning left kids, teachers, and parents exhausted and overwhelmed. But at City Hill Middle School, bringing back the PIPs refocused students’ interest.

“Students would be able to learn, solve, make, or do something that would be interesting to them,” Radday said. “We wanted to create projects that the students could do independently while they were at home and take advantage of this newfound time they were going to have isolated and home with nothing to do.”

Students chose a wide range of topics.

“There was no limit to what students would do. We had students learning to cook the perfect steak, we had students building cabinets and decks and landscaping their yard,” Radday explained.

Principal Mezzo added, “What was really neat, getting to know them on a personal level and watching their passions explode through the project. I always think ‘how can we take the PIP and pepper it into our regular curriculum, as well.”

Make it not just something that’s around for the pandemic, but something that is here to stay.

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