Side by Side Charter School was founded in 1997 by six public school educators when Connecticut charter school law first went into effect. It is still the city’s only regional public charter school. Their mission as founders was to create a learning environment where diverse groups of students are challenged academically, encouraged to problem solve, and work cooperatively. Integral to their mission was the creation of a community of learners in an atmosphere that fosters joy and passion for learning. In addition, they strive to build character and responsibility through public service and political action to instill in the students a sense of social justice.
They have an interdisciplinary curriculum organized around a social studies and science core. Their units are designed to build upon each other so that children can use prior knowledge to construct a meaningful understanding of the subject studied.
Several years ago, Carver won a very competitive 21st Century (federal) grant to begin our after school programming at Side By Side. The partnership continues to grow and strengthen.
The Carver program now operates in their new building that houses the secondary grades. The new building opened just in time for the new school year. The new building replaces a cramped and aging set of temporary portables that had housed the school’s upper grades. The new building has five classrooms and additional office and meeting spaces, such as a computer lab with 24 desktop computer stations and a full science classroom and lab. It also includes space for an art classroom, which used to be taught via a cart, and new special education offices.
Here are a few photos taken today of a few of our after school students engaged in STEAM learning, in particular the arts and robotics. The STEM to STEAM movement has been taking root over the past several years and is surging forward as a positive mode of action to truly meet the needs of a 21st century economy. STEM alone misses several key components that many employers, educators, and parents have voiced as critical for our children to thrive in the present and rapidly approaching future.