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How Learning Happens

​"My experience teaching at New Vista was incredibly rewarding.
The students embodied a unique and creative energy not seen in other schools.
They were keen to learn and enormously respectful of one another.
The learning environment was a well-balanced blend
between academia curriculum and critical thinking."
- Jenni Skyler, PhD, LMFT, CST, The Intimacy Institute​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


At New Vista we emphasize the following in all classes: 

students integrating what they are learning with what they already know;
students finding connections between classroom learning, themselves, and the larger world;
and students undertaking rigorous learning within the context of the established traditions,
disciplines, or practices. Examples from our current curriculum include:



Individual Work:

research on projects during class time, outside of class time, in and out of the building; 
creation of projects and artifacts during and outside class time; 
application of lessons to new material during and outside class time; 
learning in businesses or agencies in the community.


Small Group Work:

research on projects during class time, outside of class time, in and out of the building; 
creation of projects and artifacts during and outside class time; 
frequent lab work in science classes; 
practice of material taught in lessons; 
learning new material and teaching it to other students.

Learning Materials:

very limited use of textbooks; 
heavy reliance on teacher and student collected materials, many of which are primary sources; 
extensive use of community libraries and the World Wide Web.

Students Learning from Other Students:

presentations of projects by groups to the whole class; 
presentations of projects by individuals to the whole class; 
student prepared lessons taught to the whole class; 
critique (constructive feedback) of other students' work.

Whole Class Learning:

Socratic seminars and other whole group discussions; 
Team activities in sports and other settings; 
Performing ensembles in theater, dance, voice, music.

Teachers Teaching Students:

Mini-lessons preparatory to student-centered work; 
Providing instructions for individual and group work; 
Facilitating discussions and whole group activities; 
Coaching of individuals and groups; 
Infrequent lectures.

In addition, students are involved in significant learning experiences off campus:

Community Experience

Off-campus learning in community agencies and organizations is built into the weekly schedule. It can take many forms, including service, shadowing, internship, apprenticeship, or work experience. 
Independent Study: Independent study contracts in which students earn credit for activities which occur outside regular school hours. 

Culminating Project

A major project (at least 120 hours) required of each senior, which is designed and carried out by the student with the support of a graduation panel. Most of the time spent is carried out independent of adult supervision.