The work that we do creates positive disturbances or positive movement in our students’ lives and in our communities. We seek change in our society; the status quo is not acceptable. We seek to be agents of beneficial change for our children and the communities we serve. Most importantly, we strive to instill in our children the awareness that they are gifted and have a responsibility to share their gifts and thereby make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Providing the Educational Opportunities that Change Lives
Curriculum and Instructional Design
Our goal is to ensure that every student, many of whom will be the first in their families to go to college, is college- and career-ready when they graduate from the Uper School. The Upper School has identified the skills and practices students need to master to avoid taking remedial courses their first year in college and to set them up for a successful academic and social-emotional transition from high school to college.
While maintaining high expectations and an unwavering commitment to helping all of our students make college graduation a reality, we also acknowledge there are multiple pathways to college. For this reason, we look to help students identify what they are passionate about that can give us clues to potential careers they might be interested in. In this way, we think we can help students identify potential pathways to careers earlier, while also providing some context and relevance for post-secondary education.
In the Upper School, our approach maximizes the opportunities for students to engage in deep practice in each content area and across the learning program to ensure that students are "college-ready" and eligible for admission to competitive four-year colleges and universities. By successfully completing the necessary required courses in major subject areas during high school, students will have attained the general knowledge and critical thinking skills necessary for college-level work, without the need for remediation.
To this end, the Upper School will use the Knowledge and Skills for University Success (KSUS) standards, as well as partnering with organizations such as the College Board, to ensure that teachers and students are clear on the skills and expectations necessary for college success. The KSUS standards provide a structure to ensure that skills and curriculum are linked both vertically by content area and horizontally across curricula. Having both the Middle and Upper Schools on the same campus facilitates better communication to ensure that skills and curriculum are also aligned vertically with one another. In this way, Wave-Makers will have the opportunity to develop core skills and deepen practice over a longer period of time – from 5th to 12th grade.
For example, we want all students to develop the skills and habits of mind to be effective writers. The Upper School is developing common skills and expectations for writing that are aligned with California State Curriculum Standards and the newly adopted Common Core State Standards. These identified common skills will be vertically developed in a content area such as English Language Arts, identifying key writing skills students are expected to develop and master at each grade level. Horizontally, writing will be customized but standardized at each grade level so that specific and common writing skills will be developed and assessed in all of a student's courses, including math and art. Again, in this way, our students receive focused and concentrated deep practice in writing across curriculum and over a longer period of time.
The course offerings at MWA are designed with A-G eligibility and college readiness in mind. The most concrete way this happens in competitive high schools is exposure to Advanced Placement (AP) courses. If done with fidelity to the AP curriculum and year-end AP exam, students will enter college with a more rigorous and practiced set of college-ready skills. The majority of courses in the Upper School and the Middle School are aligned to prepare students to engage and succeed in AP-level courses. All students will be expected to take one or more AP courses before graduating from MWA.