Our students participate in a challenging, engaging academic curriculum which includes Algebra, Science, Humanities, English, Foreign Language (Spanish or German), Fine Art, Drama, Life Skills, Community Service and Mentorship.
Our primary goals include:
Developing each student’s personal talents and a life-long passion for learning and exploration
Creating a caring environment where each student has opportunities for self-expression and growth
Encouraging the values of friendship, leadership, world citizenship and service.
Challenging each student to maximize their potential and graduating students with the desire, vision and skills to follow their dreams.
Supporting and encouraging the development of individual abilities in an educationally, culturally, socioeconomically and ethnically diverse learning community.
Providing opportunities for enriched real-life applications of educational knowledge and connecting our students to the world at large.
How we achieve our goals:
We offer a supportive and safe educational environment which provides opportunities for individualized curricula and challenges each student to reach their highest potential. We have high academic and behavioral standards, along with personalized support and guidance to help students achieve their goals.
We have a caring, dedicated staff and board who are committed to enrolling a diverse student body and to infusing the entire academic curriculum with the arts to foster self-expression and enhanced learning in every subject area.
We integrate technology as a tool for learning, communicating and augmenting classroom instruction.
We connect students to the community through a structured and project- oriented mentorship program.
We build a global perspective into the curriculum by establishing relationships with local and international organizations and by building partnerships with international schools.
We emphasize learning by doing, with a particular focus on character growth, teamwork, reflection and literacy. We connect high quality academic learning to adventure, service and character development through a variety of student experiences. These include interdisciplinary, project based learning expeditions.
The curriculum gives students blueprints for learning, teaches the skills needed to do research, invites creative and divergent thinking, and instills the desire for more learning. We strive to help our students become compassionate citizens with a deep respect for all living beings. Our school is a community in which parents and teachers work together to create a caring, safe environment where all of the students can learn from one another, develop respect for one another and acquire a profound acceptance of individual differences.
Humanities/Expedition: Our humanities class integrates Language Arts, Literature, Art, Geography, History, Social Studies and Anthropology as a foundation for learning World and US history. Our humanities program creates an empowering platform for students to become agents of change in our society through the use of Learning Expeditions. Students use primary source readings and discussions to understand multicultural perspectives. Diverse viewpoints foster an excitement for learning and provide stimulus for lively debate, depth of thought and informed opinion.
English/Language Arts: Our school emphasizes writing skills across the curriculum. Our goals in English include learning to listen actively, speak articulately, write persuasively and think critically. Topics such as: spelling, grammar (taught in relation to students’ writing), vocabulary enrichment, creative writing, research, public speaking, world literary experiences in a variety of genres, 7 traits of writing, classic and world literature, and the mechanics of writing and reading comprehension are hallmarks of the English curriculum.Students develop the ability to articulate thoughts verbally and in writing. We also have practical exercises using synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Students are carefully guided through the reading and writing process. Assignments are geared to allow students to have both teacher-led and student-driven activities that ultimately lead to more self-reliance and independence
Inquiry Based Science Program: Our inquiry-based science program partners with the Bureau of Land Management and a local water education organization, Riversource, to collect scientific data, monitor water quality, and help restore the ecosystem at two sections along the Santa Fe River. Our students observe everyday phenomena, formulate questions, develop research skills and test their hypotheses through real-life experiments. Foundational concepts in biology, chemistry and physics are integrated with lab and field studies. We have a field- and community-based curriculum that centers on student involvement with the local environment. Students design their own studies, gather long-term data on local biological and physical conditions, and draw their own conclusions. Students become the teachers, presenting their data and findings to their peers and community members. Emphasis is placed on science as a means to acquire knowledge and to gain an understanding of the physical world. Our students are also helping to transform our school into an energy efficient, sustainable campus.
Mathematics: 6th Grade: Pre-Algebra: Students use concrete objects to mathematical modeling and problem solving.
Mathematics: 7th Grade: Algebra 1A: Students learn algebraic thinking, patterns, logic and prediction by construction of linear mathematical models in real world situations. Students are introduced to almost all topics of the Algebra 1 curriculum so that by 8th grade they are ready to dive more deeply into their understanding of more complex applications of these concepts. We strive to make the classes engaging and interactive, while also requiring proficiency and excellence. The math curriculum is supplemented with the online math Khan Academy program which allows each student to progress at his/her own pace.
Mathematics: 8th Grade: Algebra 1B: Students become proficient in all aspects of a high-school Algebra 1 curriculum, gaining further development of their ability to collect, analyze and organize data into mathematical models useful in predicting unknowns in real world situations. Topics mastered include number sense, solving multi-step equations and inequalities, graphing and solving linear and quadratic equations, systems of equations and inequalities, exponent rules, simplifying rational expressions, factoring, parabolas and word problems. It is a rich curriculum designed to both challenge each student and help them begin to enjoy the world of mathematics. The math curriculum is supplemented with the online math Khan Academy program which allows each student to progress at his/her own pace.
Physical Education: All students take 2 classes each week in physical education. Classes will include track, rock climbing, dance, softball, volleyball, swimming, softball, archery, volleyball, yoga, soccer and self-defense. Some of our P.E. classes take place at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center, the Santa Fe Climbing Gym and the SF Community College.
Community Service: All 7th grade students participate in community service 2 hours a week. During the fall semester the students work as literacy tutors for a first grade class at Cesar Chavez Elementary School. During the Spring semester, students volunteer at Food Depot, Bienvenidos, Challenge New Mexico Therapeutic Horseback Riding Program, Santa Fe River Warriors or Cesar Chavez. All 8th grade students perform community service during the fall semester prior to their mentorship in the spring.
Mentorships: All 8th grade students participate in a self-directed mentorship program under the guidance of a community mentor during which students get a “real life” taste of work in an area of interest. This experience gives students insight into possible future careers. Our students have been mentored in Meteorology, Space Science, Crime Scene Investigation, Costume & Fashion Design, Music Recording, Silversmithing, Interior Design, Architecture, Flash Animation, Surgery, Alternative Energy, Pastry Baking, Film Editing, Child Counseling, Film & Theater Directing, Graphic Design, Website Design, Sound Recording Engineer, Interior Design and Film Animation.
Theater & Creative Writing Programs: We have an exciting language arts program which supports our elective theater program. Our middle school students help write the annual school play. We also put on professional, high quality musicals each year which showcase our students’ singing, acting and dancing.
Character Building & Life Skills: We believe an education is more than just mastering academic knowledge. Recent educational research supports the notion that teaching character values and having grit and resilience dramatically increases a student’s chance of success in high school and college. There are character traits that are strongly correlated with success later in life and with individual fulfillment. Our school has a strong emphasis in character building and social emotional support for each student. Our school character traits of respect, trust, courage, honesty, compassion and stewardship form the foundation of our educational program. Each of these character traits are discussed and defined on an ongoing basis so that they are lived and displayed in action every day. We teach life skills that help students learn how to stay strong amidst the waves of peer and societal pressure. Our students learn how to be compassionate, kind citizens and to stand up for what they know is right. Students learn about integrity and honesty, plagiarizing and cheating, the negative impacts of cliques and spreading rumors. These are invaluable life lessons that are best learned before high school. We support each student’s emotional development and our teachers and students together create an atmosphere of trust which allows each student to explore and grow.
Middle school has traditionally been considered a challenging time for young people as they go through puberty and struggle with identity. At our school, however, our middle school students become the school leaders and role models and they are supported by their teachers and each other during this time of inner and outer change. This develops the inner strength needed to flourish in the high school environment. We teach students about street smarts, cyber-bullying, racism, sex education, and health issues so that they are completely prepared for what lies ahead.