Pomfret students take innovative lead in all-school exercise

Students and faculty at the Pomfret School in Pomfret, Conn., were at school, but not, in the conventional sense, in school, when they participated in Project: Pomfret from Dec. 2-17.

In place of structured class time and homework, students were instead tackling one of 27 innovative exercises in learning that saw plenty of overlap between academic disciplines.

Wiltonians Charlotte Apuzzo, of the 2016 class; Edwin Hollingsworth, of the 2015 class; and Sophia Walsh, of the 2017 class were three of the students who participated in the project.

Now in its second year, Project: Pomfret is an experimental retooling of the 121-year-old school’s academic matrix.

The project was harvested two years ago from the self-examination that resulted in a new strategic plan for the school.

The experience is based on the principles of project-based learning, — students engage to the fullest when they can experience and solve real-world problems — and the goal is to make the learning viable and real.

Charlotte participated in a “Mock Trial and Great Cases in American Legal History” course, which culminated in a trial, complete with jurors.

Edwin participated in a “The P-Files: The Truth is out There” course, involving an in-depth examination of the appeal and prevalence of conspiracy theories in the American culture.

Sophia participated in a “In Their Own Words; Project: Pomfret” course, in which participants were tasked, as digital, photo- and social media journalists, with documenting the 27 stories of the project.

Tim Richards, head of the Pomfret School and a parent of a Pomfret student, said the recent project “echoes loudly and clearly that this kind of work — thinking, learning, playing, and creating together in such unique and collaborative fashion — has the potential to be extremely and powerfully transformational for students and teachers alike.”