The approach of a new school year is an exciting and important time for Blyth-Templeton Academy faculty and staff. It’s a time to reflect on our mission and our vision, to celebrate growth and progress, and to prepare to make the coming year even better than the year before.
This venture began more than three years ago with two goals in mind - to provide an academically challenging, nurturing and safe learning environment for students, allowing them to grow both intellectually and emotionally as individuals, and to provide a model for learning that can be used as a foundation for other educational institutions as they think about 21st century students.
As I often like to express to parents and students, at Blyth-Templeton, our goal is to position students to change the world by understanding their gifts and how they might be used in a way that brings them joy and serves others. The traditional high school model hasn’t, in many ways, kept pace with the innovative world that students are being asked to navigate in order to succeed in college and life.
We’re honored and excited that our model is gaining traction among parents and students that are looking for new pathways through - and beyond - their high school experience. The primary focus in the last three years has been on getting this model right, and we are seeing encouraging signs of success.
Recently, Blyth-Templeton, Washington, D.C.’s first microschool, was recognized among the District’s top high schools by parents and students, according to the Washington City Paper’s Best of D.C. 2018 list.
Blyth Templeton Academy (BTA) graduates are choosing academic and career pathways aligned with their goals, dreams, and aspirations, including college, the workforce, gap years, or civic engagements like AmeriCorps. Students are encouraged to curate their own education and develop their individual journeys. BTA graduates have the skills to choose and follow the paths that are right for them.
One of my greatest joys as president and co-founder at Blyth-Templeton is to work with and support some outstanding leaders and educators. I’d like to share insights from Lee Palmer and Radha Parameswaran, two crucial members of our leadership team, about what makes this educational venture powerful and unique
“Our approach to teaching and learning is based on student agency and outcomes,” says Lee, BTA’s founding Head of School and former Head of the Upper School at Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C. “Having a strong relationship with each and every student is one of the main reasons why our model is so powerful and has proven to be successful with our students. It’s the small classes, paired with a two-class per quarter schedule, that allows students to foster a deeper understanding of the academic material, but in a way that’s engaging and applicable in a larger, real-world context.”
As of this month, Lee is serving BTA in a new role as Chief Innovation Officer, focusing on strategic planning and school development both at BTA and other schools - new BTA campuses and public/private schools that seek out guidance as our model develops. In this new role, she is helping BTA ensure that it provides the best environment for students and remains thoughtful about its approach to education.
Radha Parameswaran, who previously served as our Academy Dean, is stepping into the role of Head of School. Radha has unflaggingly served BTA with commitment to mission, dedication to students, and as an outstanding educator both in and out of the classroom. She has been an integral part of the team that has led to BTA's success and her vision, energy, and compassion make her the ideal leader moving forward.
“We know that today’s students learn best by doing, and it’s our job as educators to provide them with the tools, background, and knowledge to facilitate that deeper, hands-on learning that will sustain them far beyond the academic term,” says Radha. “Our students are not only being challenged academically, but they’re learning critical skills like public speaking, self-advocacy, and teamwork that will permeate far beyond the high school years and well into their future.”
As we look toward the coming school year, we are honored and delighted to continue our important work and are incredibly grateful to the families, students, school counselors and neighbors on Capitol Hill and throughout the Washington region who have supported us.