Our students will be prepared to understand and solve the complexities they will face in the 21st century.
The goal at THS is to continue to make these subjects relevant, real, and fun, and to capitalize on the synergy and interplay between them. This is accomplished through interactive hands-on and in-depth projects, with a consistent and constant emphasis on current events and place-based learning.
Science Grades K-5
Science skills and concepts are explored in an interdisciplinary manner through the IB Units of Inquiry. The School also uses the Full Option Science System or FOSS as a resource for grades K-5. FOSS is a research-based science curriculum developed at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley. The lessons are developmentally appropriate for each grade level and provide the essential building blocks for a solid foundation in physical, earth and life sciences.
Science Grades 6-8
Students in grades 6-8 participate in the three-year comprehensive Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) developed specifically for middle school students at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley. Science concepts are investigated through interesting, current societal issues and problems that allow students to make personal connections to the material about which they can develop and articulate an opinion. For example: How should we dispose of nuclear waste? How can cars be designed to reduce the risk of vehicle collisions? How can biotechnology improve the lives of humans? All units build upon adolescents’ need for peer interaction and support by enhancing individual learning through cooperative group work. Learning experiences build concepts through a spiral approach, building key ideas and vocabulary over various units and incorporating the following components in each unit: laboratory investigation, modeling, reading, role playing, talking it over, reflecting, projecting and problem solving.
The integration of technology in the classroom at The Healdsburg School is essential. Technology is an efficient way to reach more students with different learning styles and proves to heighten interest and motivate learners beyond traditional methods. Multimedia technology expands the possibilities for more comprehensive, student assessments that require students’ active participation and application of knowledge. Technology has become such an integral part of society today, it is necessary to integrate it in the classroom in a variety of ways. At The Healdsburg School all K-8 classrooms are equipped with Interactive Promethean White Boards or Smart Boards. Each student in grades 4-8 is issued an iPad and given training on presentations, word processing, online collaboration and other important skills. Grades K-3 are each equipped with a classroom set of six iPads. The school implements the Barracuda web filtering system to help ensure appropriate internet access.
Our Lower School curriculum introduces students to engineering concepts through several Units of Inquiry on the theme How the World Works. As an example, third grade students look at how inventions help make systems function more efficiently. Students investigate simple machines along with the features, function and purpose of inventions.
The Upper School curriculum builds upon the concepts learned in the Lower School, emphasizing the technical, analytical, problem-solving, and investigative skills required to move student understanding from simple machines to the more complex, while also instilling a deep understanding of motion and force and the interplay between these disciplines.
The mastery of fundamental concepts and skills in the Lower School and integrated problem-solving in the Upper School are the focus of THS’s math program. Our master teachers encourage a deep proficiency in the subject by exploring what most excites and interests the students outside of the classroom, and then applying math to those real-world experiences. At THS, math is fun!
We know not all students arrive at the same conclusion in a similar, linear fashion; therefore, our faculty facilitate student discussions at all grade levels around math problems and the myriad ways to arrive at a solution.
The Lower School math program is based upon the mastery of essential math concepts and skills that serve as building blocks in preparation for participation in the accelerated programs in the Upper School. From an early understanding of shapes, patterns and place values in Kindergarten and first grade to fractions and decimals in third and fourth grade, students are encouraged how to think about solving math problems and not simply how to arrive at the correct answer.
The math curriculum in the Upper School is designed with the highest achieving student in mind. This philosophy promotes a classroom environment with high expectations for learner outcomes where each student is supported by master faculty to reach their full potential.
From number theory and use of variables and expressions to quadrilaterals and the properties of circles as examples, focus is placed on problem-solving, logical and spatial thinking, data analysis, and an understanding of practical application.