Grantee Corner | Bridgeport Public Schools
Bridgeport Public Schools educates over 21,000 students, and is located in Bridgeport, one of Connecticut's largest cities with a population of approximately 147,000 people. This coastal city lies between New York City and Boston and, at its peak in the first half of the 1900s, was the major industrial city in New England. Since then, the city has experienced a significant decline in manufacturing as its primary economic engine. This manufacturing decline is one of the district’s impetuses for creating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) magnet schools.
Serving more than 1,400 students from Bridgeport and eight suburban districts, the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Magnet Campus opened in August 2013 with Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) funds on land donated to Bridgeport Public Schools by the Fairchild Wheeler family. Nestled in a wooded setting, the building was designed as a learning tool. Wind turbines, roof-mounted solar panels, environmentally-friendly roofs, and recycled water generate energy and conserve resources for efficient building operation. Data from each apparatus can be monitored and is accessible online for instructional classroom support. The unique, energy-efficient building features resulted in the building’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.
The campus houses four schools. In each of these smaller learning communities, students receive interdisciplinary, STEM, project-based instruction aligned to Common Core standards. Instructional content has been designed in collaboration with multiple university partners to embed purposeful thematic instruction, technology, and career awareness. Curriculum is designed to engage 21st century skills, enabling students to collaboratively solve current and future challenges. The four learning communities, whose instructional pathways reflect emerging careers, are described below.
Information Technology and Software Engineering High School
Students in this school have the opportunity to explore either a computer software or hardware pathway. Courses are structured to engage students in the design, development, operation, and maintenance of software and hardware. The program prepares students for careers in science modeling, gaming, animation, simulation, and programming, to name a few. A three-dimensional (3D) holographic projection system is available for student use.
Biotechnology Research and Zoological Sciences High School
This school is organized into biotechnology and zoology pathways. Heightened awareness of the environment through projects with the State of Connecticut, American Zoological Association, and the Beardsley Zoo is the focus of curriculum. It is designed to stimulate a passion to develop solutions for environmental conservation and preservation of a variety of species endangered by either man or nature. A scanning electron microscope, a gas chromatograph, and atomic absorption laboratory equipment are available for student research.
Aerospace/Hydrospace Engineering and Physical Sciences High School
With both the aerospace and hydrospace concentrations, pre-engineering coursework has been developed to support instruction that deals with the design, development, and testing of aircraft and submersibles for exploration or research involving the earth's atmosphere and oceans as well as outer space. Industry-grade 3D printers and design software are incorporated into student projects. Sikorsky Aircraft, located within a couple of miles of the school, is the corporate partner for this school.
Bridgeport Military Academy
With a focus on the military sciences and first responders-related professions, this school is one of the first of its kind in the area. Students are enriched by a disciplined, structured learning environment, where, as members of a platoon, collaboration and responsibility are critical. This school works closely with local agencies to provide instruction related to law enforcement, fire science, and Emergency Medical Technician training. Students also have the opportunity to follow the military pathway through the Navy Junior ROTC program.
The MSAP grant is managed by John J. Curtis. Mr. Curtis has been with Bridgeport Public Schools for 45 years, 26 of which were dedicated to the development and operation of the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science and Technology Education Center, a STEM-based center for marine science and technology.
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