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There is an emphasis on the inquiry-discovery approach combined with the best features of the thematic teaching. Sustained projects are possible because most social studies classes meet four times a week; two one-hour sessions and two forty-minute sessions. Standard textbooks are used primarily for background information. Lessons are constructed around reading excerpts from a variety of sources. In area study courses, students are exposed to as many as six paperbacks in one cycle. Class sets of novels, biographies and non-fiction are available.

A teacher team has worked successfully in lesson planning, preparation of materials, and there are 40 different 7 week courses in social studies. Student choice of courses result in many taking more credits than required. They learn history in a variety of courses such as the Jazz Age, Women in America, Law and Public Policy, The Supreme Court, The American Indian, and The American Dream.

Teacher Attitudes And Pressures

The 8-hour day is a long one. The pace during the day is fast. Changing from a classroom teaching situation to a tutorial program in the resource center does not slacken the pressures. Building assignments are physically tiring (the building is enormous). Preparation time, fully utilized, is not sufficient to avoid taking work home.

There is only one opportunity to slow down-lunch. By the time a teacher comes and goes to the cafeteria a leisurely period adds up to 30 minutes in an 8-hour day. The professional job at Dewey requires great stamina and a dedicated spirit. The teachers in the experiment have the spirit; the big question is, do they have the stamina?

Several teachers in each department have been designated as independent study coordinators. The coordinators are responsible for assisting students preparing evaluation instruments and making a final decision for each one as to whether the work has been mastered or not. The responsibility for supervising 100 students on independent study reduces the coordinator's instructional time to four classes instead of five. Simple arithmetic-100 students is almost the equivalent of 3 class registers. This is the exchange for a reduction of one class assignment!

There was a human need at Dewey, and it was a crucial one, for a pause between cycles. Teachers wanted a day to evaluate the cycle just completed, plan for the new one, and discuss problems. Students at Dewey have unusual pressures, too, and they expressed a need for one day at the end of every 7 weeks to participate in activities other than regular classes.

Both faculty and students worked together to devise a program for an intercycle day and our school now has its “Dewey Day” which has brought students and staff together in a way the classroom could not. It is the first time in a city school that a day is planned in which students and teachers can elect activities from a variety of workshops, discussion groups, or special attractions. These options include a wide choice and the program for each intercycle day is different.

The last day of each cycle offers the students and teachers an opportunity to share time together in which traditional roles disappear. Teachers and students face each other as equal members in a group. They argue or laugh together and appreciably narrow any generation gap that might exist.

A brief description of some of the activities may convey the spirit and success of these events. Topics for discussion groups, such as those listed below, indicate their special relevancy. Role playing has been used whereby teachers act the part of teenagers, and students portray adults. This creates a greater sensitivity for the feelings and reactions of varying age groups.

A free exchange of ideas without a final judgment by a teacher reveals student depths that only open communication can produce. These encounters also result in teachers' telling personal experiences that would rarely come forth in a classroom.

Discussion groups have dealt with the following topics: Student Rights; Student Code of Behavior; Evaluation of Courses; Evaluation of John Dewey High School; Student Racial Relations; Narcotics; Censorship of Student Publications; Women's Liberation; Generation Gap; Parents; War; Black and Puerto Rican Cultures.

On Dewey Day, students and teachers may share common interests such as joint participation in workshops on jazz, sculpture, ceramics, dance, chorus, computers, poetry, fashions, psycho-drama or travel. Varied contests are offered, such as in typing, basketball and wrestling. There also is a student-teacher competition in a ball game.

The language department featured international cafes on one Dewey Day where the decor, food and entertainment provided an atmosphere to resemble places in France, Spain, Italy and Israel. Students and teachers enjoyed eating the delicacies of these foreign cuisines. Singing the songs and dancing the dances of these countries furthered the feeling of comradeship among students and faculty.

The science department gave the Future Physicians Club the oppor.' tunity to dissect pigs and the pharmaceutical group to conduct many experiments, one of which was injecting “speed" into a mouse. On another Dewey Day the ecologists conducted a funeral entourage through school corridors for the death of pollution and the mourning attire consisted of masks solemnly worn by all. Exploring the resources of the city was another Dewey Day program. A country fair on the 13 acre campus in the spring has become a Dewey Day tradition.

Dewey Day at its best is a day of renewal that reflects the hope and aspiration of John Dewey High School. It attempts to convey the spirit and the dreams of the educational philosopher who spoke so movingly about "learning by experience, motivated by a sense of the students' needs.”

Within the walls of our beautiful building, there is an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. We feel that we are blazing new paths, paths that will help solve some of the complex problems facing all schools today.

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City-as-School, a new New York City alternative high school program, opened its doors on February 2, 1973 with 100 students registering and enrolling for hundreds of "learning experiences" throughout the city.

The opening culminates five months of intensive planning by teachers and students under the supervision of Frederick J. Koury, director, and Richard Safran, assistant director, who were detached from their schools to set up initial organization for planning and development.

Unique to the experiment is the fact that 10 student planners were selected from various high schools in New York City to work on planning. The collaboration of students and teachers was successful as students learned how to organize recruiting drives in high schools and visited the hundreds of organizations in the city to “sell” them on eing a resource of City-as-School.

Originally funded by the Ford Foundation, City-as-School now becomes a tax-levy organization operating from 131 Livingston Street, Brooklyn, under the umbrella of the High School Office of the Board of Education.

The underlying concept of City-as-School is that the world of experience can be joined with the world of learning.

As Superintendent Oscar Dombrow commented, "Going to high school in New York City need not be like going to high school in Santa Rosa, California.” City-as-School most definitely will be unlike any other school in New York City. Instead of attending school in one large building, students will move from "learning experience" to "learning experience" based on the program they make out by consulting the C-a-S catalogue. The hundreds of learning experiences run the range from English and communication arts to practical and technical subjects. Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and Brooklyn College both institutions of higher learning, have become part of the C-a-S program, taking students in advanced standing for freshman subjects in English, social studies, mathematics and science.

Other organizations involved in City-as-School are Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Center for Inter-American Relations, the China Institute, the Asian Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Heights Press, the YMCA and the YWCA, WNYE-TV, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, the Federal Trade Commission, Equity Library Theatre, Greenpoint Hospital, Brooklyn Friends School, and many others.

Four licensed teachers, a guidance counselor and a secretary are on the staff of C-a-s in addition to the director and assistant director. They will be providing the necessary services to the students and will be working closely in evaluating the learning experiences. Each teacher will have 25 students to work with as instructor, friend and advisor.

On February 6 students began their City-as-School experiences. The next crucial task will be to monitor each learning experience so that evaluative and measurement techniques may be developed. The C-a-S staff is requesting that a representative professional committee be established from Superintendent Dombrow's Task Force on High School Redesign. This committee will assist C-a-S in establishing criteria for creditation for the external learning experiences.

Parkway in Philadelphia and Metro in Chicago were the first large city prototypes. Directors Koury and Safran learned much from visits to those two high school programs.


1. Lesson Description

One day last week, during a forty minute session of a third level Hebrew class, the following activities took place: seven different stories were read, discussed and analyzed; three different structural topics were explained and practiced with both oral and written drills; two tapes were used to reinforce the application of structural items that had already been mastered; records of poetry set to music were listened to by students to help them in their appreciation of the poems they were reading; two lessons of a cultural nature were worked on-one dealing with the different forms of Israeli government and a second surveying the more important geographical features of Israel; and eight different tests were taken-some testing units of related stories, others testing structural topics, and still others testing familiarity with cultural items.

II. The Open Classroom

All this could certainly not take place in the span of one forty minute class meeting-not, that is, in the traditional teacher-dominated type of lesson, with the teacher at the front of the room leading a large group of students in a single type of instruction and expecting all students to do the same work, at the same time, and in the same manner. But all of the above-mentioned activities can and do, in fact, take place each day under an interesting system of individualized instruction known as the "open classroom." Each student, working at his own rate of speed, selects that lesson for which he knows that he is ready, based upon his mastery of previous lessons in his prescribed course of study, and with the aid of a carefully designed packet of self-instruction, he proceeds to learn the new lesson in his own way.

III. Philosophy

The theory underlying the principle of the open classroom is, in fact, quite simple. Since no two individuals are exactly alike, they can not be expected to learn in exactly the same way. As a result, the traditional idea of teaching one seti lesson to an entire class, even though the teaching techniques themselves may be quite effective, eventually leads to the very serious problems of boredom, partial student involvement, and passivity. In the much freer atmosphere of the open classroom, on the other hand, each student becomes directly and actively responsible for his own learning. Working at his own self-determined pace, and in the style which he finds most comfortable, the student soon comes to accept full responsibility for his work and begins to develop a positive attitude and an accompanying enthusiasm that are so essential to true learning.

IV. Mechanics: The Introductory Packet

The mechanics of organizing an open classroom involve careful pre-planning on the part of the teacher, as well as constant and close supervision of the program as it develops from day to day. At the start

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