Enterprising school opens students’ eyes with trip to the Bronx
Teachers and students from the Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, in Lancashire, are being taken on an eye-opening trip to New York to learn how social enterprise and inspiring educational techniques can benefit disadvantaged communities.
The group of 20 students aged 16-19 from the academy, which has an Entrepreneurship specialism, will be visiting the Greyston Bakery, a social enterprise that supplies the White House and Oprah Winfrey. The Bakery, whose motto is: 'We don't hire people to bake brownies, we bake brownies to hire people' supports affordable childcare, healthcare and housing for the homeless.
The students have volunteered to help fill packages for a community-based food pantry and visit the famous Harriet Tubman High School in the Bronx to see how teachers and students have transformed a 'failing' school in one of the most socially and economically deprived areas of the city. They will also visit one of the innovative Knowledge is Power (KIP) schools in New York and have the chance to meet and talk with American students to learn directly about another country's culture and education system.
The trip is part of the new Open Eyes initiative, being piloted by the academy, which offers students the opportunity to travel abroad, experience new environments and cultures and reflect on their own lives and potential. Each trip includes a visit to a social enterprise and school and students are encouraged to compile written, audio and video diaries about of the trip and organise presentations which reflect their entrepreneurial creativity and passion.
Sally Ritchie, Academies Director for the Aldridge Foundation said: "This is a chance of a life-time trip for these young people. Many have not travelled far before so a trip to America will undoubtedly open their eyes to new experiences. As a Foundation we hope to bring back valuable lessons about how schools can transform communities and see whether we can apply this to our academies."
Howard McWilliam, Head of sixth form at DACA comments: "The trip will broaden students' horizons and their understanding of different business cultures. New York is a hub of entrepreneurial activity and there is nowhere better for them to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world."
Notes to Editors
- The Aldridge Foundation is a national charity, set up by entrepreneur Rod Aldridge in 2006 to promote entrepreneurship in education to open minds, challenge barriers and change life chances. It sponsors two community Academies in Darwen, Lancashire and Falmer, near Brighton, which have an entrepreneurship specialism. Our academies aim to deliver a high quality education, improve the educational attainment of students. They will provide state of the art modern facilities including enterprise hubs with office facilities that can be used by local people to stimulate economic and social regeneration. The Foundation also provides seed funding to pilot innovative entrepreneurial projects which have the potential to enrich the education of our academy students and benefit the communities in which they live. Visit www.aldridgefoundation.com
- Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (DACA) opened in September 2008 and is the only secondary school to have entrepreneurship and sport specialisms. DACA believes in applying the principles of entrepreneurship to help shape the lives of its students as well as to grow the community around it. DACA is funded directly by the DCSF, with £2m sponsorship from the Aldridge Foundation. Visit www.daca.uk.com