Principal Nell Sears ’97 helped to design and start the middle school at the Paul Cuffee School, a maritime public charter school in Providence, R.I., that offers a rigorous academic program for a largely low-income, Latino community in the Providence Public School District.
The school teaches students to value personal initiative and social responsibility, and offers cross-disciplinary studies emphasizing literacy, math, arts, and marine biology and ecology. In October, 11 Bowdoin education students will travel to the school as part of an urban schools project.
In the latest edition of the Latin American Studies newsletter, Bowdoin History Professor Allen Wells interviewed Nell about what teaching is really about, and how her Bowdoin education and the years after graduation shaped her passion.
“A great way to illustrate the inequities in our education system is to look at the educational spaces in poor districts next to those in wealthier districts,” observes Sears. “Poverty is also a huge challenge for our students and for our families. Students from poor backgrounds often come to school with more stress and fewer resources, which means that they have to work much harder to succeed academically.”