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The Cambridge School Committee conducted a hearing last night to evaluate the progress of the Pilot School, the City's experimental high school, and decide whether to continue to support its program next year.
Students, faculty and administrators of the Pilot School discussed their experiences with the school's innovative curriculum.
The Pilot School, which was founded in 1969 with the aid of a grant from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is an experiment in presenting an alternative plan of high school education.
"The purpose of the school is to give a certain number of students a chance to learn in an environment where they can speak out freely and contribute whatever they can to classes or school-related activities," said Ray F. shurtleff, the administrative director of the school.
"In a normal high school, the average student is lost in the shuffle. Here, students and teachers are on a first name basis and learn to gain mutual respect through close contact," he said.
Lloyd Haines, a senior who has attended for four years, commented, "The Pilot School has taken fear out of education. We feel that we can speak out here without being stepped on."
The Pilot School promotes what they call "cross-cultural education." Students learn not only in the traditional classroom environment but also in the "outside world" under the auspices of various exchange and wilderness programs.
The Pilot School, located on the fourth floor of Rindge Tech, is officially part of the Cambridge school system but is partially dependent on Federal funding which will expire after this school year.
"We hope we can persuade the City of Cambridge to give us the rest of the money we need," Shurtleff said. "Certainly our program has been a success and deserves to be continued."
The School Committee will vote next week on providing funds for the school next year.
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