Nga Nguyen, a 12th grader at New Hampton School, is getting ready to do more than just smash glass ceilings. She’s preparing to go to space.
“I want to study Astronomy in university, and I have gotten great suggestions from my college counsellor and teacher,” she says. “Right now, my favorite class is IB Physics with Mr. Hobbs. IB Physics is a very rigorous class that provides me with the academic challenge that I need to satisfy my curiosity. It will teach you from the very big to the very small in this world and sometimes it even makes you wonder about your own existence.”
When she’s not in class or well-equipped labs, she’s with the science club, participating in competitions related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and teaching English to Vietnamese kids.
“I would say New Hampton School has helped me a lot in my STEM education,” Nga shares.
Nga won’t be the first to say this. This year, New Hampton School will be celebrating 200 years of providing a well-rounded education that cultivates lifelong learners and active global citizens. The school’s longevity can be attributed to a few factors, including strategic vision-planning, passionate teachers, a student-centred approach and the simple philosophy that happiness and fulfilment matter. Here, you’ll find joyous students, motivated to always study, connect and grow.
With a beautiful 340-acres campus in the small village of New Hampton — nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains and nearby the big cities of Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine — the school has evolved over the years to offer a rich boarding school experience.
“Put simply, New Hampton School has it all: IB Diploma Programme, individualised academic coaching, Apple Distinguished technology, engaged faculty who are good company, friendly students and much more,” says Head of School Joe Williams. “This is the way high school should be.”
Dynamic STEM education for girls
New Hampton School has no shortage of qualified and passionate educators to serve as role models to tomorrow’s movers and shakers in the STEM fields.
Take Dr. Kim Duncan for example. The IB Chemistry and Applied Physics teacher attributes her passion for teaching Science to several inspiring people: her high school teachers, graduate supervisor and graduate advisor, all of whom strove to make the subject fascinating for her.
Reflecting upon how Science has changed over the past 10 years, she is especially pleased to know diversity in STEM fields is improving. “Representation matters… Seeing this change (not only based on gender, but also race and sexuality) has brought me hope that diversity in STEM will grow,” she says. “Resources like affinity groups and mentor programmes have played a huge role in the changes we are seeing. When you have a role model that looks like you, a path feels more possible. When there are more diverse perspectives at the table, we all benefit.”
Technology is a great boon for learning
As technology is a huge part of today’s learning landscape, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, education has also shifted to become more interactive and collaborative for students through online digital platforms.
“Increased (and inexpensive!) accessibility to experts will allow more students (and classroom teachers!) to tap into high level researchers (at universities, national labs, corporate labs, etc.) without either leaving their home or class,” says Duncan. “Students then share data and collaborate in ways that just weren’t possible 10 years ago.”
In fact, the school’s tech offerings in the classroom via the 1:1 iPad Program, Animation with the Walt Disney Family Museum, and Innovation and Robotics labs make it the only boarding school in New England to be recognised as an Apple Distinguished School.
Solid individualised support system
The small ratio of five students to a teacher means all 325 students from 30 countries are guaranteed support. Should they want or need additional one-to-one support, they can sign up for the Academic Support Program — that pairs them with a tutor to facilitate constant dialogue with family and faculty.
With that support, these students are effectively prepared for the curriculum as well as the rigorous and challenging IB programme. Students are taught to see themselves as learners; they build up their confidence to become more aware of their strengths and develop new skills. With 49 courses offered, IB students can design their individual path too, together with the faculty’s dedicated care and support.
Learning made fun
The school utilizes an Experiential Learning concept for their students to expand their horizons in a much deeper sense. Block Saturday classes are conducted as out-of-campus learning trips; students also join in the service-learning programme to give back to the school and surrounding community.
Every spring, all students travel in small groups during Project Week — the school’s signature programme. Both students and faculty work together on interesting projects.
That is why Nga remembers the Project Week to Mars so well — she had worked to design this project week trip for her classmates along with a faculty mentor.
“I wanted to give other students the opportunity to learn or maybe interest them in Astronomy and space exploration,” she enthuses. “We were able to make our own solar system and rockets, which were very memorable. I learned a lot from it, but most importantly, I learned to love the Earth, as it is my only home.”