Y.A.L.E. School News

Northfield Campus Teaching Students Citizenship Through Real World Events

Y.A.L.E. Northfield 9/11 MemorialStudents at the Y.A.L.E. School’s Northfield campus got a cross-curricular lesson in history, civics, citizenship and math earlier this year. The teens, many too young to remember the events of 9/11, came together to honor the legacy of those who lost their lives in the attacks eleven years ago.


Seven hundred forty-three tiny American flags flew on the lawn outside the school–each representing one of the New Jersey residents who died that day.

Y.A.L.E. School "I Will" postersStudents also participated in the “I Will” project, which invites people of all ages to pledge to do something positive to make the world a better place. The goal is to reunite people on 9/11 with the strong sense of community and connection that came about after the attacks. For more on the “I Will” project, go to www.911day.org.


The lesson was the brainchild of Kathleen Curtis, a high school teacher at the Y.A.L.E. School’s Northfield Campus, that serves students 5 to 21 years of age with emotional, behavioral, social and learning disabilities.

Y.A.L.E. School Northfield 9/11 memorial“Our students learn best through hands-on activities that engage them physically, emotionally and intellectually,” said Curtis. “We used the flags and the process of setting them in the lawn to help our students better see how many people died that day.” Through the “I Will” project, Curtis’s students were able to turn a national tragedy into something positive. “Instead of focusing on the devastation of the day, we made it a day of service by inviting students to commit to something positive.”

Curtis said her students’ promises made her proud:

I Will: “Hi-5 my friends today”
I Will: “Stand for the pledge of allegiance.”
I Will: “Register to vote.”

“One of our duties as teachers is to get our students ready for their adult lives. The world is changing. This is a global society and everything we do affects someone else,” said Curtis.

The lesson was covered by NBC News. Click here to see the video on the NBC 40 website.

Y.A.L.E. School "I Will" postersY.A.L.E. School Northfield 9/11 memorialY.A.L.E. School Northfield 9/11 memorial

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