Bay Ridge

Poly Prep makes plans to mark 160th anniversary

Climate change will now become part of curriculum

November 24, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Poly Prep Country Day School, an elite private school with campuses in Bay Ridge and Park Slope, is preparing to mark a milestone starting in 2014.

The school, which was founded in 1854, will celebrate its 160th anniversary.

The anniversary will be marked with the implementation of a three-year strategic plan designed to build on the school’s past successes and move it forward in the 21st Century, according to Headmaster David B. Harman.

“Our strategic plan will prompt us to ask and start to answer ‘big questions’ about how can we best educate ‘the whole child’ and improve advising, learning enrichment and support, character and wellness programming, athletics, performing arts, study abroad and internship opportunities,” Harman stated.

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The strategic plan includes new developments in academics, programs for institutional advancement, and an emphasis on preparing students to enter a changing job market.

The school recently developed a new mission statement. Poly’s goal is “to prepare and inspire the next diverse generation of leaders and global citizens to act with intelligence, imagination and—above all—character,” according to the mission statement.

As a sign of Poly Prep’s move toward a more 21st Century curriculum, part of the strategic plan involves a forming a response to climate change.

Citing the increasing weather disruptions that are caused by global climate change, administrators said the school will make a deeper commitment to education on sustainability of the planet. This will include a new emphasis in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math) and encouraging more students to engage creatively with these subject areas.

The use of new technology, such as iPads, software and collaborative online tools will become a part of the everyday lives of students, according to administrators.

A new academic core curriculum will be introduced emphasizing the subject areas of English, math, history, science and foreign languages.

Poly Prep’s teachers will assist students in developing new-age skills by helping them to question, imagine, collaborate, lead, contribute, analyze, hypothesize, act and create—in whatever their chosen professional fields turn out to be, Harman said.

Poly Prep’s middle and upper schools are located on a bucolic, college-like campus located at 9216 Seventh Ave. in Bay Ridge. The lower school is housed on a campus at 50 Prospect Park West in Park Slope.

“Our strategic planning process will also ensure we manage our enrollment and financial aid to continue to attract gifted students from all over New York City and expand the socio-economic, racial and ethnic diversity of our community,” the headmaster said.

Steve Andersen, the associate head of school advancement and operations, said support from the parents and the school community will be important to the success of the new plan.

“We look forward to partnering with our parents, alumni, faculty and students as we explore new ways to foster ‘mind, body, and character’ more effectively than ever before.  Our community’s ideas, expertise, suggestions and support will be vital,” he said.

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