Five years ago, Sean Damlos-Mitchell received his M.F.A. in creative writing from The New School–and like many other arts grads, didn’t quite know what to do next. Meanwhile, a friend of his had just begun working at the Manhattan branch of Fusion Academy, which operates a chain of middle and high schools across the country. It was a unique program. The educators didn’t teach full classes, but instead worked with students one-on-one. Fusion was billed to Damlos-Mitchell as a place where he might practice some seriously exploratory teaching. “There would be a lot of academic freedom,” the 30-year-old recalls hearing. The teachers, Damlos-Mitchell was told, were allowed to pick the topics they taught and the texts they used–and would even control how many hours they worked each week. The school would often tell teachers that being an instructor at Fusion was like being their own CEO. The pitch worked. Damlos-Mitchell has been at the Park Avenue campus of Fusion Academy for five years. “Longer than most people make it,” claims Damlos-Mitchell, who teaches history and English. Indeed, teacher attrition at Fusion is as high as charter school rates. According to numbers provided to me by the United Federation of Teachers,… Read full this story
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