New Building to Become Freshman Wing


Klara Hoherchak

Freshman Wing

Klara Hoherchak, Staff Writer

Recently, there have been several rumors about the “new building” turning into a freshman wing for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.  According to Interim Principal Tony Pavia, it is very likely that this design plan will be implemented next year.

However, this freshman wing won’t take up the entire building.  While freshmen will have their core classes in the new building (English, social studies, math, and science), their electives, gym classes, and language classes may still be in other parts of the school.

Pavia states that this plan for next year is not a new strategy.  In fact, when the new building was first built, it was created to be a freshman wing.  However, the administration at the time decided not to use it for that purpose.  The point of having a freshman wing is to be able to use teaming for these students’ first year in high school.  “Teaming is something that the district and schools have been talking about for years,” Pavia stated.  Since many educational circles look at the freshmen year as the “at-risk” year, there was always concern about how the environment could be improved to provide a more intimate and nurturing high school experience.

This new plan comes out of a large study that was done by the High School Call to Action Committee, a group of different constituencies in Stamford.  This rather large committee consists of administrators, direct members, teachers, and students.  They decided that ninth grade teaming was the best chance to capture kids before they become “at risk.”  Pavia said, “This is more of an evolution than it is something new; 10 years later, this building is finding its initial purpose for its use.”

With teaming, students will have the same classmates in all of their core classes.  However, there will be different permutations of the model to accommodate kids that are better in one or two areas than others.  Because of these permutations, students wont have to have all college prep classes or all honors classes.  “You go where your strengths are,” Assistant Principal Matt Forker said.  This will ensure the accommodation of all different abilities of students.

The plan is to avoid having freshmen and sophomores in the same core classes, even when they are taking the same course.  However, since it is nearly impossible for any high school to make schedules that accommodate everyone, this may not be feasible.

Teachers will voluntarily choose to get on board with teaming.  All teachers that choose to do teaming will relocate to new rooms in the new building.  These teachers will teach about four freshman classes and one upper class.

Science teacher David DelGiudice, who teaches in the new building currently, said that he supports any program that will help students, though he will miss the teaching resources the new building had to offer.  “I’m happy to help freshman by teaching in another room, but how will this impact the upper classes?” DelGiudice said.