The World Awaits at Léman School

Written by Joanna Fantozzi on . Posted in Blackboard Awards.


New & Noteworthy School

Photo By Dale Eisinger

It’s all a part of the “international mindedness” students are expected to learn at Léman.

“International mindedness means you are aware of the problems and ready to be involved in the solutions,” said Drew Alexander, head of the school. “It means you truly believe in community service as it relates to your own world and other parts of the world.”

Léman, a research-based school, has been a part of the Meritas international family of schools since last year, and the upper campus opened two years ago. This year, Léman has their first senior graduating class, and first exchange student program this year. Students regularly exchange with other Meritas students across the world via Skype in a program called Touchpoint, to discuss global issues, says Alexander.

“We want our students to see themselves as participants in global discourse,” says Emily Khan, the head of the English department at the upper school.

The Léman campus is impressive, with two pools, two gyms and a cafeteria staffed by classically trained chefs. The lobby of the school is a horseshoe-shaped room lined floor to ceiling in glass that overlooks the New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. The view, Khan says, is meant to inspire the visual arts students.

As part of the Meritas group, Léman high school students can have the opportunity to study philosophy for two weeks abroad in August at Oxford. As a growing school, students have access to an increasing number of clubs on campus including sports, robotics, fencing and music. Each lower-school student is required to take piano.

In the Léman classroom itself, class sizes range from 10-18 students, and teachers do not take on the “typical” teaching methodology, Khan says.

“We are student-centered, so we avoid lecturing in front of the classroom,” Khan says. “The students work together and achieve independence.”

Léman teachers try to take learning outside of the classroom as well. Khan recalls one instance this year when the class was studying gravestone epitaphs, and one of the students suggested visiting Trinity Church to look at the gravestones there, and they did.

Many of the learning experiences at Léman come from mixing cultures, and introducing the international students to the American lifestyle. This year, many of the exchange students celebrated their first Halloween, says Alexander. For the school’s Halloween party, the international students were excited and bought costumes.

“For them to experience that for the first time with students who grew up with Halloween, it is really an interesting moment,” Alexander says. “But at Léman, it happens every day.”

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