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Hazelwood Board of Education Approves Thematic Middle School

Recently the Hazelwood School District (HSD) Board of Education approved plans for a Thematic selective enrollment school for gifted and talented middle school students.

Thematic instruction is the organization of a curriculum around macro themes that integrates basic disciplines like reading, math, and science with the exploration of broad subjects, such as gifted and talented, communities, international, etc. Thematic instruction is a way of teaching and learning, whereby many areas of the curriculum are connected and integrated within a theme.

A District subcommittee comprised of 38 members representing 11 elementary schools, six middle schools, HSD curriculum department, the HNEA, and parents met from September through December 2017, to research possible thematic schools, areas of focus, and programming. One of the themes explored was a selective enrollment middle school for gifted and talented students.

“The selective enrollment site for gifted and talented students will increase quality, access, and duration of our gifted programs at the middle school level,” said Dr. Nettie Collins-Hart, superintendent of schools. “The site plans to follow the international baccalaureate (IB) model, which focus on world language and global perspectives, work toward specific student certificates, and create an inclusive community of problem solvers and critical thinkers.”

District administration, faculty, and staff will use the upcoming school year as a planning year. The school is projected to launch under this new model for the 2019-2020 school year. The new thematic school will be housed at Hazelwood Northwest Middle School in Florissant.

“In keeping with our Hazelwood NOW Strategic Plan, we are excited about our continued investment in new and innovative programs for students. We will spend next school year planning Hazelwood’s first thematic school for gifted and talented middle school students and prepare them for future success,” said Dr. Collins-Hart.