Learning Through Relationships
We think that the relationship between a teacher and student is just as important as the material being learned. For that reason we provide opportunities for our students and teachers to work with each other over a series of years. Our easy childhood program is a mixed age program, so a child will typically be in our Pre-K or Kindergarten for at least two years with the same teacher. In the Lower School grades (1-8) the main teacher for a class (called the class teacher) moves with the class from year to year (First grade to Second grade and so on). This allows for the teacher to really get to know his or her students, their strengths and their challenges; and it allows the teacher to also get to know each student’s parents well and to work with them as a team to support the student’s healthy development. Subject teachers in music, physical education, foreign languages, and the arts also work with the same students for a period of years, establishing close learning relationships. A reflection of this relationship is that we do not give letter grades in the Lower School. Instead, the teachers write in-depth narrative evaluations of how each student is progressing. In High School, the class teacher is replaced by a team of class advisors, who shepherd a class through the high school years. We do give letter grades in high school, but continue to write narrative evaluations.