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PA Cyber Student Stories Illustrate Gardner's Multiple Intelligences Theory


MIDLAND, Pa., March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Eight student profiles in the new edition of The Link, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School's showcase magazine, illustrate Howard Gardner's theory that people are "smart" in ways other than those measured by standardized tests.

"This article looks at eight PA Cyber students who used the flexibility and customization inherent in our school to maximize their natural talents and range of intelligences. Each is accomplishing marvelous things," said Dr. Nick Trombetta, PA Cyber's founder and CEO.

In his groundbreaking 1983 book "Frames of Mind," Harvard professor Howard Gardner proposed adding six areas of human achievement – spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist – to the traditionally recognized language and mathematics intelligences.

Parents may access assessment tools to help them better understand their child's range of intelligences at www.pacyberlink.org. Complete issues of The Link magazine in pdf form may also be downloaded from there or from the school's website, www.pacyber.org.

Author Carrie Kennedy, M.Ed., interviewed eight students and their families for the article.

  • Gabriel Shilobod was chosen to illustrate spatial intelligence, defined as keen perception of visual information. Those with spatial intelligence often become designers, visual artists, architects or engineers. At the age of 6, Shilobod, a resident of Greensburg, became fascinated with the beauty and process of tie-dying fabrics. Now a sixth grader in PA Cyber, he operates his own tie-dyed T-shirt business.
  • Illustrating musical intelligence, Sabrina Carpenter of East Greenville found herself in demand after placing third in a national Miley Cyrus contest. The sixth grader now has an agent and manager, has performed on Chinese TV, appeared on "Law & Order: SVU," released several singles and filmed two pilot projects for Disney. "I really can't say enough about what PA Cyber can offer a family like ours who needs flexibility," said her mother, Beth. "Sabrina could not do what she loves without this."
  • In Gardner's theory, intrapersonal intelligence is a strong awareness of one's own thoughts, feelings and strengths. Such people know their own minds and work best independently, becoming researchers, writers, philosophers or — like Ben McNece, 18, of Mount Joy — an entrepreneur. Earnings from his peanut butter fudge business are earmarked to help him reach his goal of becoming a helicopter pilot.
  • Pittsburgh's John Michael Fiumara, a dancer, needed to spend productive hours each day on his feet, not on his seat. His parents enrolled him in PA Cyber at age 11. Now a senior, he has danced with top companies on both coasts, won scholarships and national competitions, and has been invited to study with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
  • Kayla Carey of Sharon Hill spent three weeks traveling in Europe last summer after being selected to participate in the People to People Ambassador Program. Carey babysits and serves in leadership roles in her church and community. Her story illustrates interpersonal intelligence, the ability to relate to others. At age 16 she's currently taking her first college course at Penn State's local campus.
  • Pittsburgh resident Gianfranco Trovato, 16, did not feel academically challenged in the brick and mortar school he formerly attended. Chosen to represent mathematical-logical intelligence, Trovato is now active in PA Cyber's gifted-talented program and Cutting Edge Science Club, plays flute in the Eastern Pittsburgh Youth Orchestra, and is a competitive fencer. He participated in a six-week PA Cyber robotics course, an animatronics camp at Robert Morris University and a micro-electro-mechanical systems workshop at Carnegie Mellon University. His goal is to study physics at MIT.
  • Devon Turner, 18, of Philipsburg is a rabbit breeder and 4-H Club president who "pretty much grew up outside." Chosen to exemplify naturalist intelligence, Turner loves to hike, hunt and garden, and shows his rabbits in national competition. The PA Cyber graduate is a freshman in agricultural science at Penn State University's main campus.
  • Alina Davis, 18, of Leesport was chosen to represent linguistic intelligence. As a sophomore in high school, she opened her heart to her mother, Chris, during a trip to the beach. "We knew Alina was having a rough time," said Chris. "But on that trip she told me just how much she had been bullied at school because of her stutter, and I realized how profoundly it had affected her studies, her personality." Davis blossomed in PA Cyber. A playwright and singer-songwriter, she sang with former stutterer Carly Simon, spoke at the National Stuttering Conference, and was profiled on TV's "20/20." She is now studying at Marymount Manhattan College to become a speech therapist.

"Gardner reminds us that intelligence is much more than a numerical score on an IQ test," says Dr. Trombetta. "Intelligence is using knowledge, not just acquiring it. It is achieving success and performing tasks that are difficult and highly valued.

"Public education must move away from the mass-production factory model of 100 years ago. As these stories show, students find success when school can be tailored to fit their lives and foster their passionate interests."

With an enrollment of 11,000 students in grades K-12 from all parts of the state, PA Cyber is Pennsylvania's largest and most successful cyber charter school. It is headquartered in the western Pennsylvania steel mill town of Midland, and has offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, State College, Greensburg and East Liberty.

Contact Fred Miller, 724.777.5918, [email protected].


SOURCE PA Cyber Charter School

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