Our mission is to help students learn to use their minds well and take charge of their academic lives.
The New School’s academic program is perhaps best thought of as a liberal arts and sciences education. Our average class size is 10 students; classes are structured as seminars, rather than lectures, and are engaging and participatory. Students have considerable choices in their course selection and project work, and our teachers are approachable and supportive.
It’s these four qualities – small classes; questions and critical thinking; class choice and projects; and teacher-student collaboration – that distinguish The New School as a unique liberal arts and sciences education.
The hallmark of The New School is our thought-provoking classes; and with an average of 10 students per class, every student is heard and engaged.
We are a college-prep school, and our diploma subjects are traditional – English, biology, computer science, U.S. history, foreign language, world studies, arts, etc. – but teachers focus on genuine understanding, the whys and hows within each subject, rather than rush through a textbook of facts. Our students learn to engage with content critically and creatively in each subject, and develop essential skills of analysis, study habits and communication.
A New School classroom is a dynamic and exploratory space, with students asking questions and participating in classroom learning. Our teachers, in turn, work closely with students, engaging them in fascinating conversations about class material, and giving them meaningful feedback on their work.
Questions and Critical Thinking
A New School education is not about the memorization of facts or teaching to the test. Rather, we believe learning is best when classes are purposeful and students – working closely with their teachers – learn to think critically and creatively and create meaning from facts.
Our students love their classes because teachers focus on big questions (rather than multiple choice questions) that inspire their intellects and invite them to share ideas and solve problems. Such purposeful, “big” questions include:
- What is a just society? (Government)
- How have diseases changed societies? (Biology)
- Why do people move? (World Studies)
- How may the laws of motion help us understand, and thus improve, energy efficiency in transportation? (Physics)
- How have writers changed the world? (English / Social Studies)
This process of education – students assembling and synthesizing facts to answer a purposeful question, all the while working closely with their teachers – is what we mean by our mission to help students learn to use their minds well.
Projects and Time to Think
Good teachers know that students are invested and truly learn when they are working toward a meaningful goal. This is the great value of student-driven projects, which are featured in many of our classes and represent an important method of learning.
Challenge at The New School is about depth of understanding and sophistication of academic skills. Projects allow teachers and students to work “at eye level”: students have considerable say in the direction of their work, and teachers give students specific, encouraging feedback and challenge them to hone their skills and master content. Growth is a process; we value giving students time to think and learn deeply, with choice and direction, rather than base learning on memorization and the quicker and quicker pace of instruction.
The result is students setting high, unanxious expectations for themselves.
New School teachers are highly skilled and intelligent, but above all else they are dedicated to working with students. Every individual learns differently – there is no-one-size-fits-all education – and such a collaborative model encourages students to self-advocate, set higher standards for their work, and believe in themselves as successful learners.
We’re a people school, and when people feel appreciated, trusted, and free to express themselves, they are their best selves; they are thoughtful, open-minded, self-motivated, and kind. Education is about people – it’s about teachers and students – and when you put people at the center of a school, you are working toward an inspiring education.