21st Century Learning
The rapidly changing issues of our day call for an education that prepares students for an extremely complex world. The faculty and administration at Prospect Sierra understand that the 21st century provides unique challenges, and we have strengthened our program so that our students graduate with the skills to thrive. We were recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools as one of only 7 model schools around the world to have explored these curricular issues, and ensured that our students will be prepared for the world ahead.
The educational program at Prospect Sierra strongly emphasizes an integrated curriculum based on a framework of established themes. Mathematics, literature, writing, art, music, science, world languages, social studies, service learning, physical education, and computer technology are incorporated into a positive experience for each student. The faculty, librarians, and staff work closely together to connect the subject matter in meaningful ways. The project-based curriculum is designed to promote understanding and thoughtfulness. Students are asked to think deeply and reflectively about facts, ideas, and experiences in an increasingly diverse society. They are encouraged to make connections between their learning at school and their growing awareness of the outside world.
Prospect Sierra’s transitional kindergarten is designed for four- and five-year-olds who are ready to learn by doing. We want our students to develop empathy, find joy in learning, and cultivate strong pre-academic skills.
Working parents, we have you covered. Our Extended Program for transitional kindergarten students begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. each day. After pick-up in the transitional kindergarten classroom, those staying later will be welcomed into our kindergarten yard on the elementary campus. Your children will play, continue their social emotional learning, and enjoy afternoon snack together. We also offer care during teacher work days, conference days, and during summer.
Students in kindergarten through 4th grade work together in teams to discover, explore, and learn a wide range of topics. Our goal is to foster a love of learning, literature, numbers, and facts. Teachers work together across curricula to encourage curiosity and explore topics from many angles.
Working parents, we have you covered. Our Extended Program on the elementary campus begins at 7:30 a.m. for before school care, and ends at 6 p.m. each day. After school, we offer a range of activities and classes – from jewelry making and robotics, to tennis, music lessons, and web design. Your children will play, continue their learning, and develop lifelong friendships. To learn more about our program offerings, including enrichment classes, summer camps, and conference day care, click here.
Our middle school integrates mathematics, literature, writing, art, drama, music, science, world languages, social studies, service learning, physical education, and computer technology into a positive experience for each student. Our project-based curriculum is designed to promote understanding and thoughtfulness as students are asked to think deeply about facts, ideas, connections, and experiences.
The Prospect Sierra Panthers offer interscholastic competition for 6-8 grade students. The goal of our athletics program is to encourage participation and provide social, conceptual and skill development for each student. Panther sports teams include basketball, cross-country, flag football, track and field, girls’ volleyball, and ultimate frisbee. Teams are designed to teach students individual and team skills and concepts, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of respect, good sportsmanship, and healthy competition. Coaches provide equal opportunities/playing time to all players, and teams are usually grouped by grade-level, although that may vary depending on the number of participating students. Interested in learning more? Click here for information about each sport. Go Panthers!
In addition to drama classes that are built into our daily curriculum, we also offer a robust after school drama program for middle school students. Designed around two annual performances, students try out for various roles in support of the seasonal performance. Students in grades 6-8 are invited to audition for the fall play, while students in grades 5-8 are eligible to try out for the spring play. Students commit to rehearsals several days per week and experience the rigor of preparing for a production of this scale. To read more about our casting philosophy, click here.
Prospect Sierra provides its students with a variety of technologies that facilitate the ongoing development of teaching and learning both on and off campus, including its iPad program. iPads and other tools empower students and teachers to augment the learning experience, increasing the possibilities of education both within and beyond the walls of the classroom. With these new opportunities come a range of responsibilities. The use of all of Prospect Sierra’s technologies is a privilege, and students and parents are aware of the proper steps that will be taken to ensure both acceptable/appropriate use and the proper care for these devices. Student use of technology includes discussions of the impact of their choices, both in terms of what they use and how they do so. As in all of our programs, technology use is connected to one’s self-awareness and impact on the others.
Working parents, we have you covered. Our Extended Program begins at the end of the regular school day and runs until 6 p.m. each day. We offer a range of activities and classes designed specifically for middle school students – from web design and robotics, to voice lessons, fashion design, and short story writing. Your children will further their learning, develop lifelong friendships, and enjoy quiet homework time. To learn more about our program offerings, including enrichment classes, summer camps, and conference day care, click here.
In addition to our academic curriculum, we offer a wide range of support to our students at all levels. From resources like learning specialists and an extensive library to a focus on interpersonal relationships and life skills, we aim to develop well-rounded, thoughtful, conscientious students, well prepared to become global citizens.
ADVISORY – In grades 6-8, students participate in an advisory program organized by grade. In these small advisory groups, students develop close, trusting student-adult and build self-esteem. Each advisory is a safe haven for discussing personal and/or family issues. Specific activities are designed for some topics, including multiculturalism; organizational skills; peer and family relationships; decision making with regard to serious teenage issues; and choice of high school. One or two staff members are assigned to each group to provide direction, guidance, and leadership. Advisory groups meet at the beginning of each day and for one 50-minute period each week. FAMILIES – On both campuses, students, faculty, and staff are organized into “families” to allow cross-grade relationships to form. Meeting regularly, families get to know one another and participate in annual activities together. BUDDIES – Our cross-campus buddy program allows students to connect with another student from another grade. Partner classes assist one another through classroom projects, and older buddies will serve as mentors to their young friends. Buddies celebrate together at the end of the year Field Day, run by our eighth grade class.
Prospect Sierra Learning Support, a team of classroom teachers, learning specialists, a consulting psychologist, and the division heads, monitors the development of academic, social, emotional, and behavioral skills. This department is intentionally designed to engage, nurture, and support students so that they thrive! Prospect Sierra recognizes that students have different learning profiles and learn at different rates. The Learning Support team works with many students and their teachers to help them grow and develop as learners. In order to facilitate progress, the Learning Support team communicates and collaborates with the student’s family and, when necessary, appropriate outside professionals. Learning Support Details by Grade Level Kindergarten – Fourth Grade Learning Support Prospect Sierra Learning Support team members collaborate to be proactive in their effort to identify needs, make an effective plan, and monitor progress. Meeting needs involves a wide range of support. Our services for students and families may include the following:
- Collaborating with teachers, other specialists, and administrators
- Screening for skills progress
- Consulting with parents about learning, social, emotional, and/or behavioral issues
- Making appropriate referrals
- Supporting and educating parents on an as-needed basis
- Inviting professionals to engage parents and faculty by informing our understanding of an individual student’s needs and conducting ISMs (Information Sharing Meetings) to gather data from all staff supporting an individual student
- Providing direct instruction in small groups, targeting specific academic skills (in or outside of classrooms)
- Arranging for accommodations within classrooms when needed
- Proving limited one-to-one support
Fifth Grade – Eighth Grade Learning Support Prospect Sierra’s middle school Learning Specialists, Karen Baughman and Jessica Boyles, support students in a variety of ways. They work with all teachers and classrooms; however, students with individual learning needs or concerns are co-case managed by the student’s homeroom teacher or advisor in addition to their learning specialist. The Learning Specialist’s roles include:
- Consulting with teachers about classroom accommodations and/or curricular modifications that are recommended for students
- Assisting teachers with curriculum development
- Serving as a resource to parents
- Co-facilitating meetings between parents, teachers, and outside providers
- Interpreting assessments performed by outside service providers
- Supporting classes in whole group, small groups or 1:1 in the classrooms
The elementary school library provides a rich environment for fostering a love of books and reading. Weekly classes include book talks, read-aloud stories, learning activities, and introductions to various authors and genres. Students learn to navigate the library’s electronic catalog, access online resources, and find books that suit both their interests and research needs. The middle school’s 3,850 sq. ft. library facilities include computer access, a quiet reading room, and a large central library. The library’s mission is to enrich the school’s educational programs, provide for the needs of students, and nurture a love of reading. Learn more about our Library here.
Life Skills is the home of our RULER program. Students will learn the tools of RULER and learn how to apply them to their social, academic, and home lives. Discussions in Life Skills focus on the immediate needs of the students. Topics include social interaction, social media, and other issues related to the life of a middle schooler. Each spring students will receive puberty education in the Life Skills class.
The school psychologist, an experienced Ph.D, consults with faculty and provides guidance to administration and parents on appropriate social-emotional support to students K-8. In the middle school, families may access counseling services for their students on campus as needed, and under the recommendation and guidance of the school psychologist. We facilitate students’ personal growth through: • class meetings • journal writing • art projects • private conferences • and more Conflict-resolution skills are taught at all levels and are integrated into our curriculum. Guidance is provided on social interactions; attitudes, values, and behavior; peer conflict mediation; and personal development issues.
Study Hall in middle school provides students with a consistent, controlled environment to do their homework while having access to their classroom teachers and peers for assistance. Advisors and homeroom teachers help students manage their work and teach students how to prioritize their efforts. The study hall time is the companion time to our morning advisory time.