High School Inc., sometimes called the Insurance and Finance Academy is a ďNew DesignĒ Hartford high school that opened in the fall of 2009 in the former Morse School of Business building on the corner of Asylum and Ann streets. The school opened with students in grades 9 and 10. This year another 9th grade was added resulting in a student body of 280 students grades 9 to 11. The first graduating class will be next year in June 2012. The school is a National Finance Academy model, associated with the NAF (National Academy Foundation).
The school is fortunate to have many corporate and organizational sponsors. The Travelers, one of 16 community partners, has made a major contribution. Other partners include The Hartford, which has provided internships via their STAG program, Franklin Trust that has a bank ATM in the school lobby and Aetna.
Terrell Hill was appointed the schoolís first principal. His background in business and education includes ten years teaching business and marketing in Virginia and Connecticut and seven years as Vice Principal in Windsor schools.
He was responsible for hiring the staff of the school, many of whom had experience in the Hartford Public Schools. Recognizing a shortage of Math and Science teachers, Dr. Sandra Inga, Director of Science and Sharon Heyman, Director of Mathematics for the Hartford schools went to India in 2009 to recruit candidates. They interviewed over 150 experienced teachers, and have hired nine teachers to teach in Hartford schools.
Two of these teachers are presently in their second year teaching at High School Inc. Salwa Nethagani teaches both biology and chemistry and Reena Fasaludeen teaches chemistry. Ms Nethagani was a teacher in both India and Kuwait and was a principal of her own school for ten years in Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Ms. Fasaludeen has taught in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as well as in South India where she earned her PhD. after many years of teaching.
Both teachers feel very positive about their experience living and teaching in Hartford. They have been warmly received by the school staff and by the students. Learning about each others culture has been welcomed by the two teachers, their students and the school staff.
Science and mathematics are universal. Bradís Beat visited two classes. The first was a biology lab examining the effect of enzymes in the process of converting applesauce to apple juice. Each student had their own beaker of applesauce so they could actually participate in the experiment. Miss Salwa (as she is called by the students) discussed practical applications of enzymes action in actual business production.
Miss Reena (as she is called by the students) instructed her students in writing the electronic configuration of Ne and F. Students were encouraged to work in teams of two or three and then come forward to write their answers on the white board.
Both teachers have reached out to the families of their students Ė even sharing their cell phone number for parents to call. They recognize how important parent support is to their childrenís success. They have given students leadership responsibilities by encouraging each class to elect a class monitor who can act as the teacherís assistant.
High School Inc. ha a college preparatory curriculum in addition to the business and finance courses, so students receive a broad academic experience that will prepare them for college and a variety of future careers.
Readers are encouraged to watch the Bradís Beat program on High School Inc on Hartford Public Access TV, channel 95 on Wednesdays at 3:00 pm and Fridays at 7:00 pm. Cox Cable will also broadcast Bradís Bet on Channel 15 in Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Newington, Manchester, Glastonbury and South Windsor at 7:00 pm on Sunday evenings.