AITE’s Decennial NEASC Visit

AITE hosted members of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) from March 20 to March 23.

The NEASC Commission on Public Schools evaluates public schools in New England states to ensure all students receive high quality education. After visiting AITE, members of the visiting NEASC committee will write a final report on the things that the school did well, and the things that the school needs to improve. 

Prior to the visit, principal Tina Rivera explained to students that “A team of educators will spend three days in the building, visiting classrooms, speaking with various staff, teachers, and students,” she said. “I am confident that our visitors will observe all of the things that make AITE special during their time at our school,” Rivera said.

Rivera contacted 16 students, consisting of eight seniors and eight underclassmen, for them to participate on the student panel during the NEASC visit. The seniors and underclassmen were in different classrooms, and both groups spoke about why they chose to go to AITE. 

The most important thing that AITE focused on was social-emotional learning, particularly restorative practices. This has to do with the culture and climate of the school, like student and teacher relationships, and whether or not a student feels supported at AITE.

During the student panel, each student spoke about their experiences at AITE, from how the school helped them establish new clubs and activities, to how supportive the teachers were. 

“They were trying to get us to say what we honestly thought of the school,” senior Chloe Leferman said. “I think that it went well, but a lot of it was me being brutally honest about the school. I was saying a lot of good things but also saying the negative things,” she continued.

Leferman explained that attending AITE allowed her to establish the first Drama Club and have the opportunity to host their first theater production, Zero Hours, in the media center. “I talked about the freedom we have as students to do things like establishing clubs, taking certain classes, or doing an independent study,” she said.

Senior Samantha Samuel supported Leferman’s claims and talked about her experience as a student tour guide for the NEASC visitors. “Having NEASC here was interesting, and being able to take them around to different classes and showcase them during the tour was a great part of the experience,” she said.

Samuel expanded on her favorite parts about AITE, and how she could participate in the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program, allowing her to take engineering classes. “My favorite parts about AITE are both the support that they give to out of district students, the amount of clubs that we have here, and being able to be a part of the engineering PLTW track and seeing whether or not engineering is a great fit for me,” she said.

Junior Rocco Lucia was also honest about his experiences over the past three years at AITE. “NEASC asked me about my experience, and I told them about how great it was. However, I also told them about the first time I saw that I was accepted to AITE. At the time, I didn’t want to go, since I wanted to be with my friends at the public high school I was districted to,” he said, “But, I waited it out and ended up really loving it.”

Lucia went on to explain how he is a part of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council (MYLC), and how AITE supported his participation. “MYLC… has been a big part of the past three years that I’ve been at AITE. It has helped me make a lot of friendships within the group and also connections with people at the Stamford Government Center,” he said.

The student panel went off without a hitch, and allowed NEASC to include different things in their report, from how AITE’s administration supports the interests of students to how there are a variety of classes available. Hopefully the committee will see what students and staff do: that AITE is a great place to be.