The Hartsbrook School

High School Curriculum

The Hartsbrook High School curriculum is built upon the key pedagogical feature of “Main Lesson Blocks” — concentrated month-long courses taught in double academic periods—in literature, math, history, and science. Students study a facet of each subject each year, with content and approach that is developmentally appropriate to their grade; in this way, the subject is both awakened and deepened developmentally over the four high school years. Instruction and assignments in all subjects incorporate academic, practical, and artistic components, the goal being to immerse students in an experience of the subject that stirs their capacities for thinking, feeling, and willing.

Textbooks may support a teacher’s organization and presentation of material, but are rarely used directly by the students. Instead, teachers engage the students through as many experiential encounters and activities as possible. Students learn to record and distill their experience in a variety of academic and artistic expressions that may result in a portfolio or “Main Lesson Book” or project. All main lesson blocks integrate assignments that support the writing stream, or the conscious development of the student’s expository, creative, and research writing over the four high school years.

Alongside main lesson work, the curriculum includes ongoing, year-long, or trimester-based classes in math, English, history, and world language, and electives in science, including health and wellness. In addition, all students participate year-round in electives in practical and fine arts and movement.

Main lesson work inherently invites students to work within and/or to challenge the range of their natural abilities. The multi-dimensional work affords continual opportunity for students’ personal engagement according to their interests and personal learning style, and all students are encouraged and helped to work individually at their highest capacities Hartsbrook values the social benefits of working alongside one’s peers and among those with a range of abilities.

In select classes, “Honors Options” offer students opportunities to work individually, and with the teacher’s guidance, beyond the scope of work presented in class. Students earn 25% additional credit for this work.