The world beyond Tuxedo Park School is demanding and evolving. For that reason, we are continuously reflecting on and advancing our curriculum to meet these demands. As we analyze research trends on upcoming generations, and reflect on the traditions that have long been established at Tuxedo Park School, we recognize the importance of implementing instructional methods that develop independent, driven and resourceful students. We want our students to enter high school, and college, feeling prepared with strong work habits, empowered to use their voice and confident when facing challenges.
Much of this work is inherently embedded in literacy. Reading is a skill that takes years to perfect, naturally teaching students that persistence and focus leads to success. This summer, English teachers attended week-long training sessions to study the Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project Curriculum. The sessions focused on workshop teaching models, giving students more time to actively read and write in class with the teachers coaching students on specific skills both individually and in small groups. This program is designed to provide as much enrichment, or support, that each individual student needs.
In order to persevere, students need the proficiency to do so; they need a toolbox they can access in many different situations. Students' skills and strategies build from primary school all the way through graduation from TPS. Starting in kindergarten we are teaching students active reading skills by having them stop to jot a smiley face, or sad face, in their books where they feel something and then share that part of the book with their partner. In eighth and ninth grade this translates into students stopping often to annotate their text for symbolism, theme and text evidence and then write long about those ideas in their reader's notebook.
Through each unit of study in reading, students are studying different genres: informational, narrative, historical fiction, poetry, mysteries, and biography. Working across genres builds their ability to navigate literary terms, analyze themes and symbolism, identify voice, infer based on text evidence and synthesize their understanding utilizing prior knowledge. In writing they are studying techniques to write informational, narrative, expository, poetry, literary and persuasive pieces by constructing sophisticated structure, illuminating the setting, utilizing their own voice, elaborating with multiple methods, and crafting strong opinions using research-based evidence to support those ideas. They learn to apply their knowledge of grammar and conventions into each piece. But most importantly, students understand that writing is a place where they have a voice, and is a process that requires stamina and patience to persevere through the many revisions along the way.
Over the last two decades educational research has found that it isn't just outcomes we must focus on, but it is the process of attaining those outcomes. We are using that knowledge to enhance our methods for integrating strong work habits, self-reflection and goal-setting into our learning process across all grades, creating coherence as students move from primary school through to upper school. We take pride in developing the whole student by employing the latest research-based teaching techniques to provide a value-based, differentiated learning experience for all students.