Sounds more like a reeducation camp than a middle school.

SPRINGFIELD – John J. Duggan Middle School is undergoing more than a name change this fall as it begins a four-year transition from a Grade 6 to 9 school to a Grade 6-12 Expeditionary Learning Magnet School with an emphasis on issues of social justice.

Over the the last few weeks, Michael Calvanese, newly appointed principal at Duggan, has been hiring and recruiting new teachers to join his team in an effort to shape a school experience that focuses on character development and a respect for others as well teaching them English, math and science skills. There will be some returning teachers but there will a lot of new faces too, he said. […]

The middle school grades will continue to stay at 180 to accommodate students for whom Duggan is a neighborhood school. Students in the middle school will also benefit from the “social justice model,” he said. “It’s an age when students believe in fairness,” he said, adding that it “will be our job” to help them tap that sense of justice to advocate for themselves and for others including their classmates.

The social justice theme at the school will help “students explore connections to community issues, environmental stewardship, global knowledge and understandings and equity,” according to its web site.

Calvanese said teachers will strive to incorporate social justice concerns into other subject areas. A science class focusing on energy might include conservation concerns, he said. “The possibilities are endless,” he said.

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