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EDUCATION WITHOUT LIMITS


An innovative project-based K-12 school in TriBeCa.
Currently accepting students into grades K- 5

Open House: Oct 17
Sign up 

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EDUCATION WITHOUT LIMITS


An innovative project-based K-12 school in TriBeCa.
Currently accepting students into grades K- 5

Open House: Oct 17
Sign up 

Portfolio School redefines what is possible in education, actively engaging students in intellectual inquiry and creative design. Immersed in collaborative, interdisciplinary project-based learning, high quality academics, and thoughtful self-reflection, students delve into the sciences and humanities, literature and math, technology and the arts, not just as memorizers, but as thinkers and creators. Engaging in deep learning with curiosity and passion, Portfolio students develop the abilities, insights, and qualities of character needed to thrive in the ever changing, technological, entrepreneurial and global world which they will inherit.

 
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Our students engage as learners and creators, designing projects that incorporate learning and skills from many different subject areas - Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, the Humanities, Engineering, Technology, and the Arts.

 
 

Our students advance at their own pace in English language arts and math utilizing high quality research-based curricula in alignment with International Standards.

 
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Our students delve deeply into experiences that develop self-reflection, empathy, and social emotional skills.

 
 

Our students serve as co-designers of learning experiences with their teachers in an environment that honors inquiry, creative problem solving, and students’ interests.

 

 

Come meet the educators and founders and learn about our unique style of teaching that inspires motivated learners. You'll see how our dynamic and senior-level faculty creates a hands-on curriculum that integrates core subjects, enabling deep and personalized learning.

Upcoming Open Houses: 

 
 

OCTOBER 17
6:30pm

NOVEMBER 14
6:30pm

 

Visit our admissions page to learn more.

 

Join us for dinner & movie night!

 
 

Most Likely To Succeed

Wednesday, October 25th
6:00 - 9:00pm

$12 ahead of time / $20 at the door
Dinner and drinks will be served.

Most Likely To Succeed is the best film ever done on the topic of school — both its past and its future. The film inspires its audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility, and is bringing school communities together in re-imagining what our students and teachers are capable of doing. After seeing this film, you’ll never look at school the same way again.

"The 21st century is going to be all about building, creating, and innovating. This remarkable film shows a path of how we can empower all of our children to do that."
- Sal Khan, Khan Academy

Portfolio News


Portfolio News



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Are these the schools of the future?

Excerpt: "Imagine a school...where students choose their own curriculum and teachers are more like mentors guiding them through activities and topics of interest. Instead of homework and tests, portfolios and exhibitions would display your films, writing, art, and creations, and you were constantly encouraged to keep doing more.


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Partnership with Google

Nancy Otero, Founding Director of Research and Learning Design, put together an awesome partnership with Google. Nancy explains: 

“This year we’re collaborating with Google on their educational app Science Journal. Science Journal allows Android and Chromebook users to experiment and engage with the world outside the screen using these devices' onboard sensors (e.g., accelerometer, microphone), as well as with compatible sensors. Recognized educational institutions like San Francisco Exploratorium, Science Buddies, San Jose Tech Museum and Maker Camp have created activities for Middle and High school students to integrate Science Journal into projects. At Portfolio, our children will design the first activities for Elementary school students using Science Journal, and their creations and videos will be featured on Google’s Making Science webpage alongside the activities created by these other educational institutions.”


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How my project-based school prepared me for Columbia

A blog post on Buck Institute from our former Admissions Coordinator, Luna Rey.

 

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Directors Blog

A weekly update on the learning and creativity happening at Portfolio from our Directors Dr. Shira Leibowitz, Founding Director of Lower School and Nancy Otero, Founding Director of Research and Learning Design

Get every new post delivered to your inbox!

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Portfolio goes to Stanford!

Next month 3 of our students—along with educators Nancy Otero, Founding Director of Research and Learning Design, and Shira Leibowitz, Founding Director of Lower School—will be presenting at the prestigious Stanford FabLearn Conference


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Collaborations with NYU & Columbia

Two important collaborations with NYU and Columbia are now underway at Portfolio. One partnership will give our students the opportunity to apply their learning in music, technology, design, art and science; the other partnership will help our school refine a methodology that is carefully crafted and guided by research.


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Silicon Valley veterans are ditching fast-track careers and going all-in with their time and money as they reimagine education for their children.

"Portfolio School is at the vanguard of a movement of startup schools seeking to foster learning experiences...that map to the jobs of the future."

 
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Elena, Portfolio parent:


"Thanks to Portfolio's amazing teachers and approach, our son has regained interest in his strong subjects while also discovering a new passion for reading, writing and filmmaking. He is also becoming more independent, persistent and thoughtful, all the while absolutely loving going to school!"

Elena, Portfolio parent:


"Thanks to Portfolio's amazing teachers and approach, our son has regained interest in his strong subjects while also discovering a new passion for reading, writing and filmmaking. He is also becoming more independent, persistent and thoughtful, all the while absolutely loving going to school!"

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Georgia, Portfolio parent:


"Portfolio has discovered the way to celebrate and uplift the naturally creative, inquisitive mind of a child. I want my children to be a part of this innovative education model that readies children for the 21st Century job market."

Georgia, Portfolio parent:


"Portfolio has discovered the way to celebrate and uplift the naturally creative, inquisitive mind of a child. I want my children to be a part of this innovative education model that readies children for the 21st Century job market."

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Tony Wagner, Harvard University:


"Portfolio School is redefining what is possible in K-12 education. By creating an environment not only emphasizing what students know, but more significantly what students can do with what they know, Portfolio is preparing its students to succeed and create a positive impact in the rapidly changing technological, entrepreneurial, and global world they are inheriting."

Tony Wagner, Harvard University:


"Portfolio School is redefining what is possible in K-12 education. By creating an environment not only emphasizing what students know, but more significantly what students can do with what they know, Portfolio is preparing its students to succeed and create a positive impact in the rapidly changing technological, entrepreneurial, and global world they are inheriting."

How we're innovating


How we're innovating


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Student interest

Most schools have a curriculum they hope will interest and engage students. Portfolio designs a new curriculum every semester based on student interest.

 

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Hands-on learning

Most schools offer students the opportunity for hands-on learning and projects. Portfolio immerses students in ambitious collaborative and personal projects, not as an add-on to other learning, but as the basis of learning.

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Interdisciplinary

Most schools organize learning into distinct subjects and time blocks (i.e. math, reading, writing, science, social studies, art, and technology.) Portfolio organizes learning around topics incorporating all subject areas, and offers large learning blocks for students to have the opportunity for in-depth, meaningful learning activities.

 
 
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Flexible groups

Most schools divide students into grades based on age, offering enrichment for students working above grade level and remediation for students working below grade level. Portfolio organizes students in flexible mixed-age teams rather than classes, making it possible for students to be consistently challenged and supported at their own level.

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Emotional intelligence

Most schools offer programs to support social-emotional learning. Portfolio embeds personalized social-emotional learning goals, alongside academic goals, within each of our projects.

 
 

Learning Units

 

Our learning units are immersive and span the course of approximately 3-4 months, inviting students to explore, discover, create, and reflect. They stem from our students' curiosity and offer depth and breadth of learning in a wide range of subject areas. Each learning unit includes a series of distinct projects, in which students can apply their learning, that culminate in one ambitious, collaborative end-of-unit project where students can demonstrate the quality and depth of their newfound skills, knowledge and understanding and share this with the wider community. Students also have the opportunity to take a deep dive into personal projects of their own choosing, which could be related to the overall unit or entirely related to a personal curiosity, interest, talent or passion.

Here are the 3 projects from our 2016-2017 academic year:

 
 

Learning is Delicious: Ice Cream

Through a deep dive into a tasty treat, children explored electricity, states of matter, temperature, measurement, history, and geography. They learned how the commercialization of ice, making possible refrigeration and air conditioning, changed forever the way we eat and live; explored simulations of states of matter; experimented with ways to transport ice and keep it for as long as possible without melting; created their own thermometers; ran electric circuits, and ultimately created our own working ice cream machines. Our final exhibition was an ice cream party at which students made the ice cream for exhibition guests and shared reflections on their learning journey with presentations on how to build an ice cream machine, how to make homemade ice cream, and how electricity works.

 

A Ceremony of Rainbows

Emerging from children’s fascination with color, and especially rainbows, we embarked on an extensive exploration into color. We explored the ancient human fascination with color, manifested by pigments humans created to draw cave paintings as much as 30,000 years ago; the ways leaves change color; the symbolism of color not only in visual art, but also in literature; the mythology and science of rainbows; and the visible light spectrum and electromagnetic waves. Learners heard Snow White stories from around the world and wrote their own version of Snow White, set in 2016 NYC, making the lead characters Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Justin Trudeau, thus finding their own way to share their reactions to the election. They did experiments with the pigments in leaves, created their own pigments, explored light, read rainbow myths from around the world, and wrote their own rainbow myths. They transformed an area of our school into a cave. They took on the challenge to create a lightbox projector, which they designed - laser cutting the wood projector box and 3D printing a device to attach the projector securely to a tripod. They then designed large wood rings, figuring out how to make wood bendable. Within these rings they created three background scenes, and laser cut images for the foreground, which illustrated the rainbow myths they had written and demonstrated their understanding of character and setting. They were able to project these scenes as shadow stories onto the wall using light, demonstrating their understanding of light and shadow. Children programmed an LED bonfire, designed masks of the main characters of their myths, and at our public exhibition, brought our guests through an immersive storytelling experience about rainbows.

 

Pet Power

Stemming from the desire to adopt a class pet, children engaged in learning about what is considered to be the most significant event in the past 15,000 years of human history: the Neolithic Revolution, or the period in which people domesticated plants and animals. Children learned not only about the domestication of guinea pigs (the animals they chose to adopt) but also about how humans domesticated plants and a wide range of animals, changing the course of human history. Considering what it means to live with animals today, children designed and built a multi-story home for guinea pigs, with ramps that allowed our two guinea pigs to move between levels and a rooftop farm that grows the plants to feed the guinea pigs. Learning that when the humidity gets too high the home needs to be cleaned, the kids designed and built sensors to measure the home’s internal humidity. This included a user interface that lights up when it was time to clean the guinea pig home. They also began experimenting with Artificial Intelligence to train a neural network to identify each of the two guinea pigs, so we could check in on them even when we weren’t at school. All of this work was presented at a public exhibition at which the students presented their guinea pig house and brought guests on a journey through history via the lens of the domestication of animals.

School Calendar


School Calendar


2017-2018

 

Wednesday, September 6    Opening Day

Thurs-Fri, September 21-22    Rosh Hashanah: School closed

Monday, October 9    Columbus Day: School closed

Friday, November 10  Veterans Day: School closed (PD day for staff)

Wed–Fri, November 22–24    Thanksgiving recess: School closed

Friday, December 22    Last day before Winter Break

Monday, January 8    School reopens

Monday, January 15    Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: School closed (PD day for staff)

Mon–Tue, February 19–20    Presidents’ Weekend: School closed

Friday, March 16    Last day before Spring Break

Tuesday, April 3    School reopens

Monday, May 28    Memorial Day: School closed

Tuesday, June 12    Last Day