The Bridge 1.6

The Bridge 1.6

November 5, 2017

Hello and welcome to another issue of The Bridge! We were on hiatus last week because we were gearing up to share some new elements with you. We also updated our webpage Please take a look and continue to check in as we will be adding more information in the coming weeks.

People: News about City of Bridges High School is spreading throughout the region and more and more people who don’t know us personally have begun to follow our progress. Therefore it is time to begin to make some introductions!

Dr. Randy Bartlett, M.Ed., Ph.D.

Head of School-Humanities Teacher

Randy has been working in education and non-profit organizations for two decades. He has been a teacher in small rural schools like the Acworth Center School, a school principal at Propel East and Propel Montour, a designer of the project based Andrew Street High School, a Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment and Data and A Senior Director of Research, Reporting and the Arts. He designed and directed the Pittsburgh Urban Teaching Corp and teaches graduate students on their path to becoming teachers at Chatham University. He has served as the president of the Board of Trustees for the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh, and as a curriculum consultant for The Sprout Fund.

Most importantly he is a father, husband, a seeker of new experiences and a joyfully curious learner.

Randy has a BA in History and Religion from Oberlin College, a M.Ed. in Integrated Learning from Antioch University New England, a post masters certificate in Educational Leadership from Keene State College and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

A utopian at heart, he believes that enriching learning opportunities and supportive communities can transform our world.

Progressive: One of the new additions to our website are pairs of words on the front page: Progressive and Project Based, Peace and Justice, and Passion and Joy. Over the next few issues of The Bridge, we are going to be sharing how those ideas shape City of Bridges High School. The first idea, Progressive, is something that I get a lot of questions about. People like to ask “So what exactly is a Progressive school?” A number of years ago, Tom Little, who had been the Head of School at the Park Day School for nearly thirty years, asked himself the same question. He took a year to visit 43 Progressive schools across the country and learned that although Progressive Schools take many different forms, there tend to be some common characteristics:

  1. Attention to children’s emotions as well as their intellects.
  2. Reliance on student’s interests to guide their learning.
  3. Curtailment or outright bans on testing, grading and ranking.
  4. Involvement of students in real world endeavors.
  5. The study of topics in an integrated way, from a variety of different disciplines
  6. Support for children to develop a sense of social justice and become active participants in American Democracy.

His insights, along with experiences of transformational schools across this country, can be found in a book we highly recommend: “Loving Learning: How Progressive Education Can Save America’s Schools”. The characteristics that Tom described are all true for City of Bridges High School! In the next issue of the Bridge we will talk about Project Based Learning and Real World Endeavors and how they are central to learning at COBHS.

Path: One of the essential shortcomings of the typical school, both public and private is that much of what students do prepares students for the expectations of school, instead of the possibilities of life. Student do assignments, they take tests, they follow schedules, not because those activities prepare them for the potential of their lives, but because those are the mechanics of schooling. City of Bridges High School strives to break out of those mechanics to support students in exploring and building their future paths.  People create many different types of paths and we have begun a project to share some of those journeys. I  am excited to share the first installment of We Make the Road by Walking, Dr. Denise McMorrow . If you are interested in sharing your Path, feel free to email me and we can talk about the process.

This past Wednesday I went to Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale to see Josh Ritter play some wonderful music. Josh was a student at Oberlin College at the same time that I was, so I have been seeing him play for a long time. If you don’t know who he is, he might be worth checking out. At then end of the concert, with the lights still low, Josh said to the crowd, “We are all going to take care of each other; right?” It was a question, but a hopeful one. If we can take the time and the intention to “all take care of each other” then we can not only survive the challenges of life but we can thrive as individuals and as a community. So if nothing else, this week, let’s all try to take care of each other.

Thank you and Be Well,


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