Our school uses a Project-Based Learning or PBL approach. What does that mean for our students?
- Thinking Matters
We rarely use textbooks or worksheets, but instead approach content through relevant questions and scenarios. While planning curriculum, teachers consider what concepts matter most for students to remember five years beyond school.
- Project Planning and Time Management
Developing independence is a key to student's success in college, work, and life. This independence comes from repeatedly practicing skills such as calendaring, prioritizing, resource analysis, team member strengths, and the design process.
- Cooperative Learning
In college, work, and life, we often must work collaboratively with others to succeed at tasks. We must learn about each other's potential to impact the project and determine how to leverage each member's strengths. Done intentionally, this is NOT your typical school group work where one person does all the work and everyone gets credit. We structure cooperative learning to hold students accountable to their own contribution while gaining valuable people skills.
- Workshop Model
This is an instructional term that mirrors the cycles of learning at SVH. We follow a common instructional formula that balances direct instruction, modeling, collaborative practice, individual practice, application, assessment, and re-engagement. While we are project-based, that doesn't mean everything is an open-ended project. Instead... we ebb and flow between structure and freedom as needed, dependent upon the mode of learning required for each stage of the project. Many traditional schools feature a large amount of direct instruction, whereas our program uses that mode less than 20% of the time.
- Technology as a Tool
Technology is not taught separately for its own sake. Instead, projects usually have demands for students to collaborate or create products that require the use of technology. Most technology skills are taught on the spot as they are needed to tackle various tasks. Most often, students themselves are choosing the best technology tools to achieve their purpose.
- Community and World Perspectives
What good is an education if its usefulness ends at the school front doors? Designed well, our classes and projects take students into the community to tackle problems and make an impact. Recently, we've even started a relationship with a school in Germany to expand our perspective internationally with hopes of building a two-way foreign exchange program.