The Hellenic Classical Charter School in Brooklyn, NY invited STC members and schools to peak into their life for a day back in the middle of November. At HCCS, we observed how the students embraced their astounding Greek teaching and behavioral methods during the Paideia Seminar – Active Thinking Through Dialogue and the Time to Know – Enhancing the Curriculum. The tour greatly demonstrated our theme this year “Going Beyond the Core Curriculum – Building Critical Thinking Skills.”

We were able to visit classrooms on three grade levels in order to see how a more sophisticated discussion develops over time. We were impressed with the students’ respectfulness toward one another and their ability to bring their peers’ arguments back to the original question. At the conclusion of the seminar, students were given the opportunity to reflect on their individual and group performance and set goals for future seminars.

During the beginning of the tour, we became a part of the classroom as we witnessed the students being exposed to the principles of the Socratic method of questioning and discussion in grades as early as Kindergarten. Children here are expected to sit in a collaborative circle and listen thoughtfully, think to themselves, speak clearly, refer to the text, and address others in a respectful manner. Developmentally appropriate non-fiction and fiction texts are used for seminar discussions where the teacher acts as a facilitator. In grades K-6, he or she provides the Core Questions. In the older grades, children learn how to develop their own questions while driving the course of the discussion.

We also visited grades 4 and 5 classrooms to see how the Time to Know computer program individualizes and enhances math instruction. This program provides additional practice in math concepts and gives the teacher a tool in order to monitor for understanding. We were all fascinated with this data driven technology.

Thank you Christina Tettonis, Principal; Cathy Kakleas, Literacy Coach, and Jolynn Johnson, AIS Teacher; and all the Faculty of Hellenic for welcoming us to their school and providing such an informative program. We appreciate the time and effort in providing such a well-organized morning. We were pleased that so many of our STC schools were represented at the School Study Tour. Representatives from VOICE Charter, Haven Academy, Harlem Academy, Trey Whitfield, Rosa Parks, and School 69-Journey Prep were in attendance at the Study Tour in addition to Michael Druckman, Stephanie Whited, Stephany Lin, Tiffany Richards and Ellen Freeman from STC.

Be on the lookout  for an upcoming video of the Hellenic Classical Charter School from our documentary film maker coming soon.

*Written by Ellen Freeman and edited by Tiffany Richards