Our Interdisciplinary Approach
Projects, Passion, and Problems as Organizers ~ A student’s daily experience is constructed around engagement with authentic problems, creation of projects, and the pursuit of personal interests, all based upon the Virginia Standards of Learning. Projects typically run for about two weeks, and include a launch experience to introduce students to the content, student work time, and an authentic exhibition during which students present their projects to appropriate stakeholders. This replaces the organization of students into single subject areas, and integrates content across subject areas. A recent project experience for students was a collaboration with Morven Farms, through which students examined what gives space purpose and how we can impact our community. Learn more on the project website.
Literacy and Numeracy Development ~ Students spend time every day developing their reading and numeracy skills. This looks like daily opportunity to read a book of interest and to develop and practice reading skills during relevant project research. There is also a daily opportunity to develop numeracy through investigations and skill practice within flexible math groups.
Interdisciplinary Project Time
Lunch & Recess
Math and Writing
Active Time / Electives
High School Credit Courses (8th Grade)
How we Assess
Traditional grading practices fail to describe a student’s academic, social/emotional, and skill development in any meaningful way. We work with students to establish measures of competency and report growth and mastery on a comprehensive set of standards.
We use a variety of assessment tools to understand where students are in their learning journey. Formative assessments are used to check for understanding and concept development. These assessments are used to inform our instructional design decisions and provide feedback to students on their progress towards relevant competencies. Performance based assessments are administered at each grade level, and are designed to measure competence on Albemarle County’s Lifelong Learning Competencies. Additionally our instructional design model uses a variety of on-going performance based assessments that is embedded within the learning process. Furthermore our students participate in all required Standards of Learning assessments as well as locally developed assessments designed to meet Virginia requirements for measuring student competence in the Standards of Learning.
In Language Arts, we report on the strands of Communication; Reading; Writing; and Research. In Math, we report on Number and Number Sense; Computation and Estimation; Probability and Statistics; and Patterns, Functions and Algebra. For Social Studies Standards, students receive feedback in the areas of History; Geography; Economics and Civics. In Fine Arts, reports are giving in Visual Communication and Production; Art History and Cultural Context; Analysis, Evaluation, and Critique; and Aesthetics. In Science, feedback is given for Scientific and Engineering Practices; Force, Motion, and Energy; Matter; Living Systems and Processes; Earth and Space Systems; and Earth Resources.