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intermission

InterMission is a winter term between the first and second semesters each January. The goal of InterMission is to foster the spirit of its motto — connectedness, confidence, challenge — in our community. This mission-based program is designed to inspire students to be passionate as well as curious as they learn to become informed, bold, resourceful and ethical global citizens.

9th Grade

Ninth grade InterMission courses prepare students to cross boundaries and to engage in a meaningful, collaborative, service-learning project with a local organization. Research and investigation of interdisciplinary topics prepare students for action. Through partnerships with local agencies, this InterMission experience fosters awareness, broadens students’ perspectives, and deepens their understanding of the immediate issues involved in each local project as well as the more global implications

I'm so glad I chose this course because my InterMission class really brought us together. I feel really connected to my friends in this class now, especially when we're all so interested in what each other has to say. I also feel connected to all the kids in communities we worked with because now I know so much about what has to be done to make sure they reach their potential. I believe that with nonprofits, books, and learning, we really can help each other a lot.

— Porter's Student
This past week has brought the theme of confidence to life in many ways. It allowed us the opportunity to speak up about our InterMission class and what we are doing with the new people we met out on the field trips. During this week we also did presentations, which boosted confidence in public speaking.

— Porter's Student
Two things I got out of this experience were that I learned a lot about the marketing process and how much people who work in that field have to do. Along with that, I had to learn and become more comfortable talking in front of a large group of people and to individual people that I had just met. I also learned a lot about different nonprofit organizations, how they operate, who they help, and why they are good.

— Porter's Student
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course descriptions

Below are some courses from InterMission 2020.

Have you ever wanted to run your own business? Do you like the idea of making a difference in the world? This class will explore the mission, operations and business models of nonprofit organizations – both on a local and national scale. We will have the opportunity to meet with directors and employees from a diverse range of nonprofit organizations and also directly volunteer at several locations in the greater Hartford area. While we gain knowledge about the nonprofit sector, we will implement our learning and ideas by creating our own nonprofit, a thrift shop on the Porter’s campus. The class will design and implement a business plan, explore marketing and other aspects of running a business as we engage with the local community through the thrift shop. Ultimately, we will decide where to donate the proceeds, bringing our learning full circle.

Have you ever felt like your pet was communicating with you? Has an animal ever helped you? The bond between human and animal has been studied in great depth over the past several decades. Animals have been shown to possess therapeutic qualities and are increasingly paired with humans in need. In this class, we will examine the evolving field of animal therapy and will enjoy hands-on learning opportunities with local animals. We will volunteer with the Connecticut Humane Society, visit a local nature center, and design a service project based on needs identified through our studies and experiences. We will also work with visiting experts in the fields of literature, counseling, sensory input, and animal therapy and rescue. Be prepared for receiving doggy kisses, working outdoors, being creative, exploring artistic talents, learning from others, and sharing new knowledge with local elementary school children.

In this course, students will visit the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry at UConn and then students will write, create, and produce a puppet show. The story, script, puppets, sets, all done by New Girls! Students will then present the show off campus and at symposium. This course offers the chance to collaborate, conceptualize, and learn with your fellow classmates, all building up to performing together for an audience in the Metropolitan Hartford community. Come spend the cold, opening weeks of the new year engaged in some creative, meaningful, and fun work!

Do you enjoy telling stories? Do you know anything about the art and practice of storytelling? How about learning the art of storytelling to build and support communities? Join us in our course, Storytelling and the Social Conscience: How to Tell Stories through Nonprofit Work. In this course, we will learn about the details of what makes a good story, how to tell a good story, and how nonprofit organizations promote their work and advocate for their communities through the art of storytelling. We will discuss current questions around who should be telling these stories and why. The social, economic, and political factors around the work of the nonprofit will be of central importance to our conversations in this course. How do nonprofits succeed or fail based on the story they tell? If you enjoy reading, writing, film/tv/theatre, journalism, media, with a focus on people and their communities, this is the course for you!

Have you ever wondered where your clothes come from? Have you ever wanted to knit or sew your own garment? Do you know why or how it came to be that clothing the world has been the work of women and children for millennia? In this course, we will learn about the role of women, past and present, and their connection to the production of textiles. We will recognize textile arts as a primary media for craftivism: a non-aggressive approach to protest, which aims to make change through small acts of making. We will also explore the negative impacts of fast fashion on the planet and our self-images, and then spend considerable time learning about strategies to keep our fashion choices sustainable, green, and clean. Let’s learn to recycle textiles, upcycle clothing, and keep the landfills clear of hardly worn denim and tees. We can steward our community, give back to others, and look and feel great by repurposing unwanted clothes to make and design innovative, upcycled pieces for the common good.

In this class we will investigate how color and design can reduce stress and influence healing, improve patient outcomes in medical settings, and promote well-being in our personal spaces. Through readings, films, and conversations with medical professionals, we will delve into environment and psychology to understand the positive effects of thoughtfully designed environments.

10th Grade

Tenth grade InterMission students have experiences that encourage competence and confidence in the outdoors as they explore their relationship with the natural world. Interdisciplinary classes foster research, respect and appreciation for the environment, right here in Farmington and further beyond. As part of their InterMission classes, the entire grade also spends three days and two nights exploring the Berkshires in winterized lodging.

InterMission provided me with a new community of friends, a new experience of my body, a better understanding of those around me, more confidence in my physical and mental abilities, and a much-needed break from academics. The 10th grade camping trip in the Berkshires taught me about my physical ability. Creating the Symposium challenged me. I found the determination to complete a task and to think creatively.

— Porter's Student
I think this experience was very eye-opening because I had always known about the environmental issues in the world but because it was not an issue that I faced everyday I kind of suppressed the acknowledgment of them. Taking this class we were confronted with them everyday and I learned that if people maybe realized that it is in fact affecting us everyday even of it’s not right in front of us then we could make a difference and advocate for the earth’s conservation.

— Porter's Student
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course descriptions

Below are some courses from InterMission 2020.

You’ve probably already learned about climate change and it’s current and potential impacts in your science class. Are you interested in learning more about what we can be doing now to mitigate its effects? Join us in exploring current and future technologies, as well as the political, economic, and social obstacles slowing their implementation. In this course, we will study these technologies in depth, develop practical strategies to inform people, and learn how we can help shape a changing world. We’ll tour clean energy plants and see how communities have come together to make environmental responsibility a reality. In our culminating activity, we will pursue projects that foster social impact, wrestle with the economic constraints, and highlight the environmental needs of the modern world.

Senator Bill Bradley played college basketball for Princeton. At one point during his time in New Jersey, a writer interviewed him for a profile piece. As the two walked down the basketball court chatting, Bradley took a ball and, without looking, flipped it over his head. The ball swished through the basket behind him. The writer stared at Bradley in amazement. He asked, “How did you know where the basket was?” Bradley responded, “When you have played basketball for a while, you don’t need to look at the basket when you are in close like this… You develop a sense of where you are.”

Developing such a clear sense of where you are is the purpose of this course. Too often, students spend four years in Farmington without ever understanding where they are, what happened here, and what is happening still. Just as important, students leave without really knowing how to explore their environment, be it a basketball court, a city, a neighborhood, or the woods. What questions should we ask to gain a sense of where we are? How does where we are influence what we do and how we do it? Through frequent field trips in and around Farmington, students will learn how to explore their environment. To pick up on the clues that identify a place and its history. This skill set will set up students not only to better appreciate their surroundings now, but to take full advantage of their junior year InterMission exploration outside the United States.

All Ancient people had principles and rituals that were deeply rooted in nature. Our course will explore some of these traditions in an effort to restore this connection. What would happen if we dissolved the arbitrary boundaries between person and planet? Can we access some of the healing practices of the past to inform a present appreciation of our habitat? Through movement, mindfulness, reading and writing — we will interrogate 21st century impediments to integrating with the natural world. By the end of this course, we aspire to see reflections of ourselves in our surroundings. This will culminate in a symposium performance.

While film offers multiple modes of ‘viewing’ history, drama, narrative, and much, much more, we must ask ourselves “what does it mean to ‘view’ nature through film?”; “how do we adopt other modes of looking?”; “what does it mean to create your own version of nature?”

In this course, you will adopt, construct, and create cinematic ways of looking at, representing and recreating environments to further dissect what it means to be ‘in’ nature and understand the living world around you. Likewise, you will consider how you understand ecological systems by evaluating your own values, beliefs, and perspectives to help manifest your conception of ‘reel life’ on screen.

This class will explore astronomy. This includes historical and cultural perspectives of how the sky is, and has been, viewed, as well as developments in our modern understanding of the Universe. The students will collaborate on several projects, including the construction of a planetarium display and accompanying collection of student works across a variety of mediums, based on students’ individual astronomical research interests.

As the saying goes, “waste not, want not.” But since the 1950s, America has flipped that saying on its head and created an economic system that wastes more and wants more. Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Humes described Americans’ current trash output this way: “Each of our bodies may occupy only one cemetery plot when we’re done with this world, but a single person’s 102-ton trash legacy will require the equivalent of 1,100 graves.”

This course will examine where America’s love of trash comes from, where it all goes, and how some companies are trying to address the problem. From field trips to wastewater treatment facilities and landfills to meetings with companies like Unilever, students will gain hands-on experience with how the country handles America’s trash addiction. The class will conduct a trash audit of the Porter’s community and suggest improvements to how Porter’s handles its waste stream. Wall-E is not just a movie. It is happening now.

11th Grade

The 11th grade InterMission Program provides international, immersion experiences for all juniors at no cost to them as part of a year-long Global Citizenship curriculum. By living and learning internationally, students develop a deeper understanding of the daily rhythms and life in other cultures. Students are challenged through interdisciplinary study, self-directed learning, and community-based exploration, and in doing so will gain a more profound and critical understanding of what it means to be a global citizen.

… At first, I was slightly freaked out by just how different everything was but throughout the trip, I learned how to embrace the differences … My connection with the culture grew through my home stay experience.

— Hanna E. '18, China
I would say that my confidence has grown and my adaptability has grown. I feel more comfortable exploring new places and navigating my way back ... I feel that I have become a little less shy and maybe a little more daring.

— Olivia G. '18, England
I'm hearing everyone's stories from such diverse places, [which] made me think about myself and how I live. I was able to look at my life from a different perspective which was really refreshing and eye opening.

— Jenn H. '18, South Africa
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OUR GLOBAL LEARNERS:
  • Understand that our identities shape the way we perceive others, and the way others perceive us.

  • Know how to speak from the “I” perspective and communicate across differences.

  • Possess an empathetic imagination.

  • Identify risks and responsibilities held in common across cultures, nations, and regions.

  • Pursue a multivalent knowledge of place that encompasses histories, economics, politics, environments, and cultures.

Do you think globally?

Porter’s has a certificate program that can take you all around the world. Check it out below.

Explore our travel blogs

Porter’s in India

We are getting excited for this 11th grade InterMission class to begin their incredible journey to Rishikul Vidyapeeth Sonepat School and Vidya Devi Jindal...

Porters in Ireland

The group has landed and their estimated time of arrival at Porter’s is 6:45 pm.

12th Grade

The overarching goal of senior year InterMission is to prepare our oldest students to fulfill the final words of our mission statement, “We expect our graduates to shape a changing world.” Our students are eager to see how our Ancients and their work model the call of the school’s mission. Our hope is that students emerge from the experience with a keen awareness of themselves as learners and as positive agents of change. Students are empowered to reflect upon the people they are and the people they will become.

I loved that we got to learn for the sake of learning. I also loved bridging the gap across disciplines. It made me more excited for college because I think making more of these connections is encouraged.

— Porter's student
I found my collaboration and cooperation skills were put to use and enhanced during InterMission. Working with my internship partner was crucial to making our day run smoothly. Sharing our ideas to create our InterMission Symposium presentation required teamwork from each and every member of our group. And I loved being able to explore the city. I remember thinking to myself on the way to work one day, 'I can see myself living here in the future!

— Porter's student
In the last few weeks, I was able to learn how severe the issues women face are, especially in regards to education. I always knew it was a problem, but never realized it was to such an extent. I also learned the steps to take in order to become an agent of change. Although I haven’t actually initiated change yet myself, I was able to learn what that process is like especially through reaching out to various organizations and from our trip to UNESCO.

— Porter's student
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details about 12th grade intermission

As part of their InterMission experience, students will spend time engaged in job shadows and internships with professionals and thought leaders across all industries. Our Ancients provide a rich palette of careers and their connection with our seniors is invaluable as they model the words of our mission statement.

Program objectives for seniors students include:

  • Being architects of their own experiences as they investigate an essential question through their job shadow or internship
  • Engaging in meaningful work with our Ancients as role models and mentors
  • Learning to lead with confidence and integrity to make impactful change
  • Identifying how their identities shape college and career paths
  • Building and developing personal and community networks

Imagining a future at Porter’s?