How is Angeles Workshop School different from other private schools?
As a school adapted from many humanistic educational beliefs, we are dramatically, refreshingly different. Here are a few ways:
Time is managed organically, with student input and consensus. The teacher helps present educational objectives, and the students collaborate to form agreements and timelines regarding the process by which those objectives will be met. Without a bell dictating the division of the school day, Workshop students can become deeply involved with their work and claim ownership of the learning process, transitioning through subjects in a more intellectually and emotionally comfortable manner.
In keeping with the humanistic value of self-evaluation, the Workshop does not assign homework. Family time is respected. A student is trusted to choose how they will spend their evening; we find that many students work better on their academics after school when they genuinely want to learn more about those topics, not when they are forced to do so. That said, if a family desires homework as part of the agreed-upon curriculum, our teachers will readily design and provide it.
Students learn and perform at their best when they are not under stress. We believe in authentic, alternative assessments that are then used by the student to self-assess. If students choose to familiarize themselves with traditional and standardized tests as preparation for future institutions, teachers support them, drawing upon their backgrounds as AP and SAT Prep teachers.
At set periods, students self-assess with the guidance of rubrics, portfolios and critiques, guided by the teacher. This results in a more authentic reflection on the value of the student's learning process. Traditional letter grades of A,B,C, or Fail are used, if only to give matriculating students the option of carrying a transcript with letter grades on it.
Interest-based, Rigorous Education
Teachers meet students where they are with regards to skills and interests, designing rich and challenging curricula around student choices. We do not "backwards plan", starting with state standards and shoehorning content to fit. Instead, teachers "forwards plan", starting with material and pursuits of student interest, building essential skills into the exploration of the subject.
Non-linear, Interconnected Core Content Education
When a student in a traditional school studies, say, Greek civilization in 6th Grade, they only get a 6th grade education in Ancient Greece, rarely if ever revisiting the culture for the next six years. Why? Furthermore, how often are mathematics taught through the scientific and political stories of a Pythagoras or an Archimedes? Learning is magnified when connections are made...
Angeles Workshop does not group students or subjects solely by grade level. Neither do we structure our English or Social Studies chronologically. Nor are subjects like Math, Science, History and English totally separated. Instead, curricula is taught in a syncretic manner: for example students may find themselves solving Math problems during English class or doing Art in Science class. This way, connections are made across the subjects.
Small School and Excellent Teacher-Student Ratio
As a small school, we maintain a very low teacher-student ratio of 1-10 or less. Our whole school size will also remain small, allowing for great mobility as a unit on our frequent field trips and City Days, as well as a tight-knit community of learners and friends.
Guided Learning and Action Learning
At our school, our daily schedule is split between two forms of learning, one somewhat traditional on its surface, and one quite revolutionary at its core. We call these two forms Guided Learning and Action Learning.