Over the spring and summer, Calvert’s high school team has been hard at work researching and creating the master plan for launching the beginning of Calvert’s high school program in the Fall of 2014. We are striving to create a highly engaging, rigorous, and flexible program that prepares students for college and career.
Our design principles expand on Calvert’s K–8 program:
- Engage students in real-world challenges through project-oriented learning and independent research.
- Provide context and purpose for every lesson.
- Promote mastery of ideas and skills that are critical for college, careers, and citizenship.
- Focus on original research and student-initiated projects.
- Coordinate a higher degree of peer interaction (including connecting with Calvert students worldwide).
- Foster excellent communication skills.
- Provide expert support and feedback.
- Inspire excellence.
The Calvert High School In Brief
Calvert’s High School will provide a college preparatory curriculum that teaches learning strategies to help students tackle complex material. Our mastery-based approach includes expert grading and commentary.
- Among the offerings being discussed are core, elective, AP, and multiple world language courses. We are exploring the option of dual credit courses.
- Calvert students will use what they learn in real-world situations through original research, projects, experimentation, problem sets, various forms of writing, and portfolio projects.
- The program will be flexible. Students can start at any time of year and work at their own pace.
- Students will have access to course instructors through their course of study.
- Students will work with an instructor and peers through a variety of online tools.
- College and career counselors will help students select courses, prepare for college admissions, learn how to seek out internships, and explore career options.
- The program will be accredited and will offer a Calvert transcript as well as a Calvert diploma upon graduation.
Calvert Parents as Co-Developers
A critical component of our development work includes feedback from Calvert families. Your responses have provided tremendous detail on what you want from a Calvert high school education. Here are a few comments that struck a chord.
“Incorporate learning from real world situations – volunteering, community projects, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship – into the courses that are being taught through Calvert… Aim to help the child develop a sense of purpose, a knowledge and understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses, and a plan for putting personal gifts into action.”
“Experiential learning [is preferred] over learning that will be forgotten in a few months.”
“[Provide] an opportunity to connect with others through online classes doing the same course of study no matter where they are geographically.”
Curriculum Prototyping & Focus Groups
Currently we are prototyping our 9th grade curriculum, starting with English and biology. We have begun testing our preliminary materials through focus groups with Calvert parents and students. Two successful focus groups were held recently, which will be followed by online focus groups to engage Calvert families throughout the U.S. and worldwide. We received these follow-up emails from participants:
“My son and I had a good time. I have never seen him this excited about his education. I look forward to seeing this high school come to be and [my son] will be one of your first enrollees hopefully. Thanks”
“Thanks for giving us the opportunity to put our “two cents” in… I appreciated the fact that you are open to our suggestions. I liked a lot of what I heard. We are excited about Calvert adding a high school. I have been hoping for this for years!”
This fall, we will ask 7th and 8th grade parents to test-pilot small portions of the course material, most likely as single lessons or single units of different courses. Following that, we plan to pilot full courses with select students to help us understand what works and what needs adjusting. At every development stage, we are engaging Calvert families for review and feedback.
Our work on high school will lead to eventual changes for the K–8 program. We must carefully align 8th and 9th grades and also apply throughout Calvert many of the innovations that will be utilized at the high school level. Calvert is transforming into a complete pK–12 experience that must account for a student’s growth from Kindergarten through 12th grade.
This fall, you can expect regular updates on high school through our website, Facebook, blog, and the Inspire! newsletter. Join us on any or all of these venues to stay informed about the exciting changes at Calvert.
“To make life worth living, education must be not only for man’s eight-hour work day, but for his eight-hour play day.”
~ Virgil Hillyer, Calvert School’s first Headmaster