Leading The Nation

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New Bedford Public Schools are proud to participate in Leading the Nation, a celebration of a long tradition of progressive public education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will mark the 25th anniversary of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act. This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895).

Douglass escaped slavery in 1838 and made his way to New Bedford, Massachusetts, then a bustling maritime center and whaling capital of the world. He lived in New Bedford – his first home in freedom – with his wife, Anna, for four years. Douglass began his public life in New Bedford and rose to become the nation’s leading voice against slavery in the nineteenth century.

New Bedford Public Schools Eighth Grade students will honor Frederick Douglass with Leading the Nation activities, including: 

1. Reading excerpts of Douglass’ 1845 Narrative, detailing his early life, escape from slavery and journey to New Bedford.
2. Participation in a new programs within the Grade 8 Social Studies curriculum, titled “Abolition and Activism,” a product of the New Bedford Public Schools Middle School Community Partnership Project.
3. Developed in part by NBPS Office of Instruction, students will study Frederick Douglass, Nathan and Polly Johnson, and other historical figures who contributed to New Bedford’s leading role in the abolitionist movement, and other historical figures, including William Rotch, Jr. and Captain Paul Cuffe. This work is part of ongoing efforts to add more emphasis on local history as it relates to American history.
4. Field trips and walking tours of the New Bedford’s “Abolitionists’ Row,” Douglass’ Seventh Street neighborhood. Tours will be led by the New Bedford Historical Society, which owns and operates the Nathan and Polly Johnson House.
5. Research tours will be led by rangers at New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park. In addition, “Some students will take part in programs at the Rotch-Jones Duff House, visit the Whaling Museum, Mariners’ Home, Seamen’s Bethel, and the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center.”
6. Throughout this program, Eighth Graders will be coached to develop “research and critical thinking skills, analyze primary source documents and investigate how New Bedford’s historical citizens positively impact their community?” Themes will include identity, decision making, community and civic engagement. (NBPS Office of Instruction)

From the curriculum profile:  “Further topics for consideration should incorporate how the Quaker belief system helped shape New Bedford’s civic ideals and what was the whaling industries role in establishing an African American community in New Bedford.  Furthermore, students should be exposed to background knowledge that will help them comprehend the racial circumstances of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.  Topics to consider would be the slave trade, the role of slavery in early America, the abolitionist movement, causes of the Civil War, and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and its connection to New Bedford.” (NBPS Office of Instruction)

“Students will conduct research by taking part in a downtown field trip that will incorporate walking tours led by the National Park and New Bedford’s Historical Society.  Additionally, some students will take part in programs at the Rotch-Jones Duff House, visit the Whaling Museum, Mariners’ Home, Seamen’s Bethel, and the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center. Students will read and analyze primary source materials that relate to New Bedford’s involvement in the abolitionist movement.  Finalized student projects will include a written product and an oral presentation.” (NBPS Office of Instruction)

“In addition to the historical research project, students should be challenged to make connections between New Bedford’s past and the present.  They should think about how their choices, reactions, and civic participation can help shape a current principled New Bedford community.  Small groups of eighth grade students and their teachers may decide to pursue a service learning project that connects to the themes of identity, decision making, and community and civic engagement while answering the question: How can YOU positively impact New Bedford’s community?” (NBPS Office of Instruction)

New Bedford High School leads the region by offering the Academy Model to learning as established by the National Academy Foundation.

New Bedford High School has six career academies and an Academy of Honors:

Academy of Honors

The New Bedford High School Academy of Honors (AOH) provides qualifying scholars with the opportunity to participate in a sequence of advanced courses that will prepare them for application to the finest undergraduate institutes and most competitive post-secondary programs. The Academy is an exam-based program with an application process that includes a review of student grades, conduct and attendance information as well as submission of a student essay.

The AOH Advantage 

The Academy readies scholars for application to the most competitive college and university undergraduate programs and students can earn college credits while still in high school potentially saving families thousands of dollars. The accelerated course of study offered through AOH allows for students to take classes at UMass Dartmouth and/or Bristol Community College as high school students, earning college credits. Students may complete up to one whole year of college while still in high school at no cost.

The AOH Competitive Edge

Provides students with the opportunity to participate in a sequence of Advanced Placement courses
Prepares students for application to the most competitive colleges and institutes of higher learning
Provides students with a specially-trained team of professionals that will follow them through Grades 9-12, assisting them in navigating honors and Advanced Placement courses
Support Team includes:
       - Staff of exceptional educators, AP certified by the College Board
       - AOH Guidance Counselor
       - Peer support programs and activities

AOH trains students in developing research, writing, persuasive discourse, collaboration, and communication skills
Catalog of sixteen (16) Advanced Placement Courses is being offered

AOH culminates with the awarding of a coveted AP Capstone Diploma, an important distinction that is highly recognized by college admissions officers.

Entry Criteria for Grades 9-12

• Report Card grades
• Essay submission
• Assessment data
• Attendance record
• Conduct record
• Teacher recommendation
• Strong work habits

For more information about the Academy of Honors, contact:
Joyce Cardoza, NBHS Principal, Grades 9-10
[email protected]
(508) 997-4511, ext. 20504

Bernadette Coelho, Headmaster
[email protected]
(508) 997-4511, ext. 20500