Academic Excellence in Progressive Education

A community fostering intellectual curiosity, innovative learning, and emotional intelligence in the pursuit of academic excellence

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When you visit The Country School, you will see children hard at work. What that may look like varies day to day, and class to class. In fifth grade, you may see students reading the Bill of RIghts and analyzing the multiple points of view. In Middle School Science, you might see students creating their own labs to explore convection currents, and in fourth grade, Language Arts students might be hard at work in their writing journals, analyzing the characters in the books they’ve chosen to read.

As I watch first graders write about what makes them special, it is clear that they are so engaged in the meaning of the work, that the skill of handwriting and sounding out words becomes important to them. As I watch eighth graders debate politics and philosophy in character as Martin Luther, Leonardo Da VInci and Michelangelo, I see the skills of research, public speaking, and organizing a persuasive argument. I see the confidence that our students learn, by taking risks and making mistakes in a safe and nurturing environment.  

Everywhere you look, you will find students who are actively engaged in their own learning, collaborating with teachers and peers, and making connections to new ideas. We encourage our students to ask questions, and solve problems. We believe in hands-on, project-based learning. Our academic program is traditional while our teaching methods are innovative and progressive.

For many educators, the word “rigor” means inflexible, harsh, or stern. Actually, real rigor gets students excited about the process of learning. Real rigor is harder to teach because it asks teachers to individualize instruction, and design curriculum that teaches not to a test, but for a lifetime. Real rigor is what our children are engaging in here at TCS each day: meaningful, important, work that will help them to be collaborative, creative, and empathetic critical thinkers.

Current research recognizes that overloading students with homework has no correlation to student achievement. At TCS, we lead by example, defining academic rigor by how engaged our students are and their understanding beyond the lesson or activity. Often, we are asked how we prepare our students for high school. When we talk with our graduates, their families, and the admissions officers at the high schools where our students matriculate, we know that the education our children receive at The Country School empowers them with the skills and habits they need to be successful.