It’s time. The New Century School is just completing its 13th fall semester, and we need a reckoning of all this amazing school has accomplished in that relatively short amount of time. Why 13? We chose to memorialize the 2022–2023 school year because it offers a truly remarkable first: a TNCS student who started TNCS at age 2 when the school opened in the fall of 2010 will graduate as an 8th-grader this June—she will have completed the full TNCS experience and is the only student to have this distinction!
TNCS is also rounding out a full Chinese zodiac of years. Established in the Year of the Tiger, TNCS closes 2022 also as a Tiger year and will begin 2023 as a Rabbit.
In this post, you’ll take a walk back through time. You’ll see your babies back when they were (or if they are still) babies. You’ll revisit cherished memories. You’ll smile to see beloved friends, teachers, and faculty who are still a part of TNCS in spirit if not in person. In short, you’ll be amazed . . . and probably moved to tears.
(Another thing you’ll notice is how actually bad phone cameras were a decade ago! Also, a sad note on videos: some no longer display as TNCS’s YouTube channel is now defunct.)
Finally, you’ll get to judge for yourself. As TNCS Co-Director/Co-Executive Founder Roberta Faux said over a decade ago, “school should be where kids discover their passion.” Has TNCS provided opportunities for passion-finding?
Milestones and Firsts
TNCS has accomplished sheer marvels. In its first 5 years alone, the once tiny one-room schoolhouse established by Co-Executive Directors/Co-Founders Ms. Faux and Jennifer Lawner with five students grew into a full-fledged preschool and elementary school. Milestone after milestone was sighted, then met, including launching a greenhouse and school-lunch program, acquiring a gymnasium and auditorium; implementing a robust STEM curriculum; introducing Immersed; earning two coveted STARTALK grants; and creating a wonderfully rich education that integrates the arts, modern world languages, inquiry-based learning, and self-motivated discovery.
Since those incredible feats happened, still more miraculous developments took place: the student body has grown to hundreds, the middle school opened in 2016, the Ozone café debuted, and the international service-learning program began to name just a few (and plenty more are listed below).
Through all of this truly remarkable evolution, TNCS’s original raison d’être has remained true: language immersion in Spanish and Mandarin paired with self-directed exploration. The program has blossomed in beautiful ways around this core idea, but it informs and underpins everything at TNCS.
Although providing an exhaustive accounting of the last 13 years is impossible because of the sheer volume of accomplishments, enjoy these highlights in the form of past Immersed posts about this one-of-a-kind magical place.
To start us off, here is a rough timeline of some pivotal TNCS events:
2006: Patterson Park Montessori (PPM) opens
2017: Math Kangaroo comes to TNCS
2018: TNCS holds its first Spelling Bee, establishes a scholarship program, and gets a pedestrian crosswalk placed on the corner of Ann and Lancaster Streets
. . . and whatever wonderful things happen next!
Have we whetted your appetite for more delicious memories? Read on!
What Sets TNCS Apart
We could go on and on (and do, actually). But so many features of this beautiful school have elevated it to truly one of a kind, including multi-language learning, emphasis on the Arts, and all the special moments that take place daily in the classrooms.
Emphasis on the Whole Child: Physical Activity throughout the Day, Cultural Diversity, Mental Health Awareness, Mindfulness, Restorative Practices, Internet Safety 1 and 2, Unplugging and Connecting, DEI, Spirit Days, Cuddles and Crafts, Positivity, Student Support
Field Trips: Confucius Institute; Math-E-Magic; Columbus Park 1 and 2; Walking Tour with Frederick Douglass; Robinson Nature Center; Milburn Orchards; White House; Cathay Cultural Center; Digital Harbor; Echo Hill 1 and 2; Museum of Industry; AVAM; Irvine Nature Center 1 and 2; Port Discovery; MD Science Center; Frederick Douglass Museum; Washington, D.C.; Chesapeake Shakespeare Company; BARCS; BOP Pizza; Cultivated Creations; Science; Golden Wok
Summer Camps: Lego 2014 and 2016; Move It; Startalk 2014 and 2015; Painting Workshop 2014 and 2016; Drama 2013, 2014, and 2016; Camp Invention 2013, 2014, and 2016; Cooking and Gardening; Chinese Immersion 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019; Spanish Immersion 2016, 2017, and 2018 1 and 2; American Music System 2017, 2018, and 2019; Musical Theatre 2018 and 2019, Shakespeare, Virtual Art 2020
One of the most-appreciated aspects of TNCS is its penchant for celebration! TNCS celebrates all of its wonderful diversity as well as takes every opportunity to put on a good show!
TNCS has always welcomed special guests to campus to broaden students’ horizons, to participate in meaningful exchange with the community, and to further the TNCS aim of discovery and enrichment. Parents present their jobs or heritage in classrooms, musicians perform, guest speakers share their wisdom, and experts in their fields teach their crafts in special classes. TNCS even got a visit from the Secretary of State, who was wowed by Ge Laoshi’s kindergartners proficiency in Mandarin!
Workshops/Town Halls/Information and Back-to-School Nights
Informational forums are a great starting point to get to know TNCS and how and why it came to be in addition to what new trails it will blaze. Through the years, these events help tell the story of TNCS.
TNCS students start giving back the moment they enter TNCS’s illustrious halls. The cumulative impact they have had over the years is staggering. But TNCS itself also gives back. In one of many such ways, in 2018 TNCS launched a partnership with “sister school” Wolfe St. Academy. Exemplary Wolfe St. students are granted scholarships to TNCS, the TNCS community participates in clothing and food donations for Wolfe St. families in need, and TNCS students visit their sister school friends for the “Reading Buddies” program.
In 2019, TNCS middle schoolers took their first international service-learning trip.
Environmental Sustainability: Hack the Trash August 2013; TNCS Wins Recycling Competition December 2013; Pop the Trash 2014; Healthy Harbor 2014 and 2015; Colorcycling; Earth Day 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020; Puerto Rico 1 and 2, NexTrex Recycling 1 and 2; Costa Rica
Outreach: Giving Back November 2013, Holiday Outreach December 2013, Annual Outreach Initiatives, Thanksgiving 2014, 2015, 2018; Project Linus, Reading Buddies 1 and 2, Soup Making, Season for Service, Valentine’s Day Initiatives 1 and 2, Dean’s Initiatives 2021
And there you have it: 13 years of teaching, learning, singing, creating, discovering, growing, laughing, and becoming . . . The New Century School.