Hartford Partnerships

Building a Bridge to Hartford

The Hartford Partnership programs below are the outgrowth of the school’s mission and have a direct impact on the young people of Hartford and the students of Westminster School.

Horizons at Westminster

Founded in 2018, Horizons at Westminster is part of a national network of K-8 summer school programs, which aims to build a “bridge” from one academic year to the next; to develop strong relationships between students, their peers, and their teachers; to build confidence; and to form essential life-long connections with learning.
 
This six-week summer enrichment program focuses on reading, math, problem-solving and real-life application of knowledge, providing a powerful learning experience for children from Hartford, Conn. Yet the relationship with these students and their families lasts well beyond the six weeks and may truly alter the trajectory of their lives. Horizons at Westminster makes an eight-year commitment to its students, as the same children return each summer, and also receive supplemental educational experiences through a number of Saturday sessions during the academic year.

Loaves and Fishes

On the second Thursday of each month, this outreach effort draws on several constituents from the Westminster community — faculty, staff, parents, and students — and sends a contingent to help serve lunch at Loaves and Fishes, a soup kitchen in Hartford.

The program assists the very neediest people of Hartford. Individuals that the Westminster volunteers will attend are people who face the problems and challenges often associated with poverty — hunger, homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, etc. In addition to the risks of working with this population, volunteers must consider that Loaves and Fishes operates out of an old church basement, with all the potential problems/hazards associated with such environments.

For more information about Loaves and Fishes, contact Mary Eckerson at meckerson@westminster-school.org.

Spring Break in Hartford

During a week in the month of March, the Spring Break in Hartford program seeks to extend its outreach further by lending a hand to various service organizations (like Loaves and Fishes) and schools.

For more information about the Spring Break in Hartford program, contact Mary Eckerson at meckerson@westminster-school.org.

Classroom Curriculum

Westminster’s Hartford Partnerships have created the Civic Engagement curriculum which represent the educational wing of it's initiatives for all students.

List of 2 items.

  • Civic Engagement I

    The Civic Engagement Curriculum:
    1. Civic Engagement and Civil Discourse 2020 – 2021
    2. Speech Writing and Public Speaking 2020 – 2021

    The Civic Engagement curriculum consists of two courses: 1) Civic Engagement and Civil Discourse, which meets during the fall trimester, 2) Speech Writing and Public Speaking, which meets during the winter trimester and part of the spring trimester. The Civic Engagement curriculum represents the educational wing of Westminster’s Hartford Partnerships initiatives.

    The course Civic Engagement and Civil Discourse exists for three reasons.
     
    First, through a carefully selected series of lessons, Civic Engagement seeks to help Westminster students better understand who they are and for what they stand.
     
    Second, Westminster School feels strongly it has an obligation to teach its students, explicitly and intentionally, that they have an obligation to engage in their community.
     
    Third, learning to engage in civil discourse is the gateway through which one engages in one’s community — one must learn to listen, one must learn to consider opposing views, one must learn to honor the conventions of courtesy and respect.

    This year’s Civic Engagement curriculum included the following topics:
    1. Introduction to Civic Engagement: “No Rights without Responsibilities.” (Statue of Responsibility.) (New)
    2. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
    3. The Two Halves of Life: First Half of Life vs. Second Half of Life
    4. World View
    5. Equality vs. Equity (New)
    6. Liberty vs. Equality
    7. Peak Experiences (Consciousness: Hand or Mirror?) (New)
    8. Happiness (Pleasant Life, Engaged Life, Meaningful Life)
    9. The Challenge: “Make your mornings (i.e., your intellectual life, the life of the mind) as engaging as your afternoons (i.e., your extracurricular life: sports, theater, art, community service, etc.) and as fun as your evenings (i.e., your social life).”

    The Speech Writing and Public Speaking course exists for three reasons.
     
    First, being trained in public speaking is an important means by which one can contribute to one’s community — a springboard from which one can contribute to a positive public discourse.
     
    Second, through a carefully selected series of lessons, the Speech Writing and Public Speaking course at Westminster aims to familiarize students with the fundamentals of composing and presenting a speech.
     
    Third, the Speech Writing and Public Speaking course seeks to provide Westminster students with the actual experience of preparing and delivering a speech. Further, this process involves asking each student to participate in a public speaking contest. This contest both revives an old Westminster tradition and affirms the idea that public speaking is a fundamental tenet of the educational process.

    This year’s Speech Writing and Public Speaking curriculum included the following:
    1. Introduction to Public Speaking
    2. Rhetorical Techniques
    3. Examine: Eckerson, “A Short Speech on Education (After 40+ Years of Teaching)” (2020)
    4. Examine: JFK, “Poetry and Power” (1963) (A speech delivered in honor of the new library at Amherst College dedicated to Robert Frost.)
    5. Write and Deliver Speech One (# 1): Students model their first speech on one of the two speeches examined.
    6. Write and Deliver Speech Two (# 2): Students write and deliver an original speech and attempt to tie it to one of the topics studied during the fall in Civil Discourse and Civic Engagement.
    7. Westminster School Fourth Form Public Speaking Contest
  • Civic Engagement II

    Civic Engagement II (Designed for First-Year Fifth Formers, One-Year Sixth Formers, and Post-Graduates.)
     
    Outline of Curriculum: 2020 – 2021 (revised 8/16/20)
     
    Civic Engagement II is a class designed for Fifth Formers in their first year at Westminster, one-year Sixth Formers, and Post-Graduates. This class should also be considered part of the classroom wing of Westminster’s Hartford Partnership initiatives.

    This seminar exists for three reasons. First, through a carefully selected series of lessons, this class seeks to help Westminster students better understand who they are and for what they stand. Second, Westminster School feels strongly that it should, explicitly and intentionally, teach its students that they have an obligation to engage in their own community as well as the community-at-large. Third, learning to engage in civil discourse is the gateway through which one engages in one’s community — one must learn to listen, one must learn to consider opposing views, and one must learn to honor the conventions of courtesy and respect. 

    This version of this Civic Engagement course offered to the Upper Formers focuses on the philosophical foundations of both Western Civilization and Eastern Civilization. The course will also focus on some modern perspectives as well. The examination of these various points of view (see the tentative list below) will serve as the means by which to achieve the goals described above. 

    Civic Engagement II meets one day per week for the fall trimester, the winter trimester, and part of the spring trimester. 
     
    Civic Engagement II: General Topics (Tentative)
    Homer and Achilles
    Plato and Socrates and Aristotle
    The Wisdom of God vs. The Wisdom of the World
    Stoicism
    St. Augustine and Dante
    Descartes and Pascal
    Nietzsche
    Bhagavad-Gita
    Confucius, Analects
    Lao Tse, Tao Te Ching
    Buddhism
    Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
    James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Kathleen Devaney

    Kathleen Devaney 

    Executive Director, Hartford Partnerships & Horizons at Westminster
    (860) 408-3006
  • Photo of A-men Rasheed

    A-men Rasheed 

    Dean of Student Life, Director of Theater & Dramat Productions
    (860) 408-3097
  • Photo of Todd Eckerson

    Todd Eckerson 

    Lead Teacher Civic Engagement
    (860) 408-3048
  • Photo of Mary Eckerson

    Mary Eckerson 

    Liaison, Loaves and Fishes

Contact Us

995 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, Connecticut 06070

P. (860) 408-3000
F. (860) 408 3001
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