In the fall of 2015, ACPS and Francis C. Hammond Middle School opened an International Academy: a school-within-a-school model of services designed to make it easier for students coming from other countries to settle in and be successful in their schoolwork.
The International Academy at Hammond is the first middle school of its kind in the D.C. metro area and the first middle school to be set up by the Internationals Network for Public Schools (INPS). With 22 school models, INPS has locations across New York, California, Maryland and Virginia. The program at Hammond builds on the success of the International Academy set up at T.C. Williams High School in 2012.
The International Academy is built on a five-principal model emphasizing heterogeneity and collaboration, experiential learning, language and content integration, localized autonomy and responsibility, and one learning model for all.
The main goal of the program is to challenge students academically while increasing English proficiency, fulfilling emotional and social needs, ensuring access to quality education and preparing those students for high school, college and careers in our society. This particular model is key for integrating language development and academic content.
The Academy has a dedicated group of 12 teachers, all who volunteered for the program and most are English Language Learning certified. The students work on teams with teachers that have been specifically trained to teach core academic subjects and the English language at the same time. All classwork is taught in English and students are expected to be on grade level by the end of each school year.
The INPS program supports collaborative, project-based learning where students are assigned a project or series of projects requiring them to use different skills including research, writing, interviewing, collaborating and public speaking. Students are expected to produce research papers, presentations, videos, art installations and theatrical performances. This method of teaching is geared to address real-world issues.
Alexandria City Public Schools is seeing an increasing number of international students. The students, as well as their families, are supported through the Academy via various aspects of communications including a monthly meeting where teachers, parents and students participate in a helpful, cross-cultural and collaborative environment that promotes language skills, content mastery and an appreciation of cultural diversity through a rigorous curriculum.
Learn more on the International Academy at Hammond website.