Academic Challenge and Improving Skills: Students at The New Community School take English, science, history and math every year. These classes are composed of an average of six to eight students. In addition to the academic curriculum, these classes focus on developing independent study, writing and organizational skills. Specific math placement is based on skills testing and readiness. Placement in English, history and science is by grade level.
The fifth daily academic class in a student's schedule is most unique. This is a class called Language Fundamentals, which is a highly individualized course using direct instruction to extend and improve academic skills such as reading, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, organization and understanding of the basic structures of English. In middle school, class assignments are based on skills and exist in a small group of three to four students. In the upper school, the class is totally individualized with usually two students per teacher. Regular informal assessments and annual standardized testing help parents and students measure progress on these skill improvements.
TNCS's curriculum is designed to make sense of the world around us and establish dependable patterns of exploration and information gathering in each discipline, while providing a challenging program that prepares students in the upper grades for college.
Assuring Success: While students are acquiring basic skills, they cannot be expected to demonstrate academic skills they do not yet possess. Accordingly, the school makes appropriate accommodations, allowing untimed tests, oral testing, reading of assignments, etc. in order to give a student full access to the academic curriculum and to ensure successful, productive experiences. (For a full explanation, see academic Support Systems.) The program emphasizes "hands-on" learning experiences and is designed to allow all students to participate fully, regardless of the level of their language skills. Students produce long-term projects such as science fair experiments, History Day projects and research papers. Skills necessary for successful completion of these projects are directly taught by the course teachers. Meanwhile, students receive varying levels of support based on their individual needs.
Throughout the academic program, students are encouraged to take greater control of their learning. They begin to determine for themselves when they do not understand a concept, to initiate appointments with teachers in order to get help when needed, and to make the best use of the resources available to them.
A Well-Rounded Program: In addition to academic classes, students also receive regular instruction in health, physical education, and practical and fine arts. These classes meet four times per week and are organized by semester. The electives program includes a wide array of courses in both the practical and fine arts. Practical arts include three levels of computer instruction, newspaper and yearbook publications, SAT preparation and courses that focus on careers, college and ethics. Courses in fine arts include a wide selection of studio art courses, drama, ceramics, photography and guitar. (For a more complete description of courses and requirements offered, see Course Descriptions or Graduation Requirements.)
Our Credits: TNCS's academic year is 180 days in length. Upper school students receive .4 credits per semester for health, physical education, and practical and fine arts classes. They receive a full credit for academic courses, which meet for 150 clock hours and require a significant amount of out of class preparation. They also receive a full credit for their language fundamentals class. The number of credits required at The New Community School meets or exceeds public school requirements.
Although it's not required, families are invited to schedule a visit to the school. School visits are scheduled directly with the Admissions Director. Students are welcome to visit with their parents. However, we do not invite students to sit in on classes because of the small size of our classes and specialized nature of our program. Once the application is complete the school will schedule diagnostic educational testing.
Applications for admission are accepted year-round.