FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Students from Fairfield and Easton will join others from around the region at a trio of brand-new magnet high schools at the Fairchild Wheeler Inter-district Magnet Campus this August.
The Bridgeport Campus will host three high schools focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs. Each has a specific subject area: Information Technology and Software Engineering; Zoology Science, Research and Biotechnology; and Physical Sciences, Engineering and Aerospace/Hydrospace.
“Our current days are a repeat of the Sputnik days, with a tremendous interest in science these days,” Claire Gold, an Easton resident and former Westport Superintendent who now promotes magnet schools, told a local web series earlier this year. “So, I thought, let’s do a science-math-technology school.”
The three high schools still will have students take English, foreign language and Social Studies classes in preparation for the state’s standardized tests. But the pupils will focus mainly on the hard sciences and mathematics, taking courses in multiple disciplines and working on independent projects during the course of the year.
“Students will be challenged to expand their intellect by developing habits of inquiry, expression with confidence, critical thinking and problem seeking, as well as problem solving, research and skill in presentation,” the campus’ brochure reads.
The Bridgeport Board of Education will manage Fairchild Wheeler, and 70 percent of its students will come from the city. The remaining portion will come from Fairfield, Easton, Trumbull, Stratford, Monroe, Shelton and Milford. About 1,500 students will attend school on the campus.
The 340,000-square-foot, $126 million campus was paid for with mostly state money. The school is a “host magnet school,” meaning the other member towns do not need to contribute money to the program.
The complex is entirely LEED Gold certified for its use of solar panels and wind turbines and other green features. Each of the three high schools has its own wing, principal and faculty.
The three schools also will have partnerships with other local educational organizations and businesses. For example, the zoology school will make use of the Beardsley Zoo located nearby. Sacred Heart University and the Discovery Museum also will work with the programs, as they do with the K-8 Discovery Magnet School.
The Fairchild Wheeler Inter-district Magnet School still is accepting applications. For more information, visit the school’s website.