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How The Springfield Renaissance School Prepares Students for College and for Life

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    Alexis Margolin

In this article, originally featured in the EL National Conference 2014 newsletter, Signpost, Brown University sophomore Edward Brown reflects on how his time at The Springfield Renaissance School in Springfield, MA prepared him for college, and for life. 

I am currently a sophomore majoring in Literary Art and Philosophy at Brown University. Brown is an expanded version of my high school The Springfield Renaissance School, an Expeditionary Learning school in Springfield, MA. It isn’t easy, but everything I learned at Renaissance gave me the tools to face anything that comes my way.

Renaissance has taught me that there are no plateaus and that there will never be a point at which I have learned enough or cannot do better. I’ve learned that it’s okay to seek help, and I realize that I need some guidance in deciding where I want to go.

In my first year at Brown, I didn’t always have the vocabulary to discuss certain topics. But, I was able to participate in conversations because of the adaptability I had acquired through my experiences with critical thinking and challenging dialogue that started middle school at Renaissance. Whether it’s in the Habits of Work like assessing and revising my own work, or in going to guidance for advice about honors, or AP courses, or my internship with a publisher, I know that resilience and humility are the best things I picked up from my seven years at Renaissance.

My AP English Composition teacher, Mr. Trimmer, introduced us to the educational research of Carol Dweck and the concept of grit. I have seen that the students who succeeded down the line were always willing to stick it out and adapt, to tweak their study habits or revision process, and to face challenges and gaps in their knowledge with a smile and the determination to conquer them. I feel that every student who walks through the halls of 1170 Carew Street has a chance to be that kind of student. There is no place I would rather have been for those seven years.