Academic Curriculum

Students in traditional middle schools often struggle to learn essential ideas and skills. Our curriculum is designed to challenge, engage, and inspire students – every day. Research demonstrates that active, engaged learning dramatically improves student achievement. When students match their personal interests to school work, they show increased attention, commitment, and achievement.

Our curriculum and instruction helps students master core academic skills … and much, much more. We root learning in hands-on projects that anchor collaborative study. For example, students will apply advanced algebra and biology concepts to design and engineer a sustainable hydroponic garden.

Character Development

Academic achievement requires more than advanced academic instruction. It is the consequence of connected supports, including positive school culture, consistent adult guidance, and developed character competencies. Research explains that adolescent achievement is significantly strengthened by close, consistent, and meaningful socioemotional support. The Search Institute explains that developmental relationships with young people are the single most influential thing adults can do to help them succeed.” Students who are more confident and more comfortable are also more engaged, more motivated, and more resilient.

Our core values connect high-leverage character strengths identified by the Character Lab at the University of Pennsylvania with assets explored in other research and practice. The Workshop specifically highlights actions and intentions that promote healthy and positive adolescent development, including creativity, curiosity, initiative, optimism, and resilience.

School Culture

As a very small school, the Workshop develops meaningful personal relationships with students and families. Research explains that when students feel more comfortable, they are also more engaged, more motivated, and more resilient. Every student deserves adults in school that “appreciate them, understand them, and care for them.”

A strong school culture helps drive academic and social learning. School culture identifies the principles and values a school believes in. But it isn’t just an idea: it includes the practices, routines, and structures that establish or reinforce our values through action.

We emphasize community circle, micro-advisory, and session as elements that help build school culture. For example, students and teachers lead Community Circle every day. Meetings scaffold larger ideas, including collaboration, equity, and mindfulness. Mindfulness activities can include include yoga, tai chi, or other meditative practice.

The Summer Project

My Summer Project is a micro-theater summer camp program for rising middle school students. Project campers create and perform an original theater production during a two week seminar in maker learning, arts production, and creating writing.

Our program is designed and directed in partnership with Ping Chong and Company. PC+C is a world-renowned theater company honored by President Barack Obama with a National Medal for the Arts in 2014. For the last 15 years, PC+C has led Secret Histories, a dynamic in-school theater program for middle school and high school students.

My Summer Project will challenge students to compose, act, and produce a professional theater program. Each day, campers will learn and practice new skills towards their final production. They will learn to code, construct, and engineer the original performance from professional experts in theater, dramatic writing, and digital production.

The Workshop Project

The Workshop Project is an innovative after-school education program that develops challenging, engaging, and meaningful learning projects in Humanities and STEM . The Workshop Project is a community-based education nonprofit that promotes learning mastery through creative maker learning activities and programs.

At The Workshop, students research, design, and build original DIY projects. First, students identify of topic or theme of interest to investigate and research. Second, students design a DIY contraption using STEM theory and principles. Third, students construct a prototype build for their project. Fourth, students test conditions for their project and collect or create data. Finally, students publish a creative portfolio or performance for the public.

Our programs are designed and staffed by experts in education and maker culture. Students receive personalized instruction and support from accomplished professionals. Our teachers are all seasoned instructors, including our STEM instructions who additionally have significant career experience in technical fields.

This Spring, students are learning to build and code a digital camera from scratch. They’re using the camera to tell a meaningful story about their life. And then they’ll publish their photographs in a gallery exhibition — with the support of a bona fide expert photographer!

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