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The School Board Voted To Dry Magnetic Theme In Hamilton Avenue School

A member of the education committee will vote on Thursday plans to establish dry magnetic program on Hamilton Avenue School -- advice, is likely to be approved, its board members and parents love based on.
Dry -- or science, technology, a popular magnetic model of engineering and Mathematics -- is. Supporters such as William mcshea superintendent say dry is the school in the school to improve performance, especially because of its focus on the "inquiry" thought, will complement other initiatives in Hamilton avenue.

"STEM is the most promising magnet theme to pursue," McKersie wrote in a report to the school board. "STEM is especially compelling as a magnet theme given the digital learning program underway at Hamilton Avenue and the plan to have the inquiry approach as the central teaching and learning strategy."

McKersie recommends using $70,000 this year and about $270,000 in 2015-16 to develop and implement STEM.

The STEM program would launch at the start of the next school year. Creating a new magnet theme at Hamilton Avenue is a central part of the district's new racial-balance plan. Hamilton Avenue is one of the district's two racially unbalanced schools, so administrators need to build a magnet program attractive enough to draw students from central and eastern Greenwich to make the Chickahominy school more diverse.

Attracting magnet students in recent years has been very difficult, in part because of the criticism of Hamilton Avenue's current magnet program. Many parents speak highly of the school's Suzuki string-instruments initiative, but many others contend that the magnet program has not had full district support and has been watered down. If STEM is approved, McKersie said Suzuki should be kept.

School board members and Hamilton Avenue parents who support STEM often point to a 2013 board-commissioned school-choice survey in which STEM was cited as the most popular magnet option among parents. Twenty-eight percent said they would "definitely" choose and 22 percent said they would "probably" pick a district school outside their neighborhood, if it allowed their children to learn new STEM skills.

But some have doubts about moving ahead with STEM -- at least so soon.

"My concern is we're not doing this in a broad-based way with the community," board member Peter Sherr has said. "We've selected an outcome, and we seem to be hurtling down a path quickly and then dropping it on the community."

But another theme seems unlikely at this point to displace STEM as the top choice. In their public meetings so far this school year, board members have not discussed any other themes for Hamilton Avenue.

School officials and Hamilton Avenue parents have also been looking at existing STEM programs. In September, a delegation from Greenwich, including school board members Jennifer Dayton and Debbie Appelbaum, visited the Florence E. Smith STEM School in West Hartford and the STEM Magnet School at Annie Fisher in Hartford.

Smith's student demographics are comparable to those of Hamilton Avenue. There are other similarities, including the use of Ipads, at both schools.

To help implement the new theme, the administration's plan calls for a partnership with the Connecticut Science Center. Smith partners with the Hartford

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