Portfolio's Four Learning Pillars
Students engage as learners and creators through interdisciplinary, collaborative project based learning incorporating the humanities and the sciences, literacy and math, technology and the arts.
Students advance at their own pace in literacy and math utilizing high quality research-based curricula in alignment with internationally recognized standards.
Students delve deeply into experiences that develop self-reflection, empathy, and social emotional skills.
Students serve as co-designers of learning experiences with their teachers in an environment that honors inquiry, creative problem solving, and students’ interests.
At Portfolio, students develop the skills they need to become superb readers, writers, speakers and listeners. Drawing from proven balanced literacy approaches and based on research and practices outlined by Irene C. Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell and Lucy Calkins, students develop a wide range of literacy skills. These include reading comprehension, writing, phonics, vocabulary, handwriting and typing. Students have opportunities to work with teachers, individually, and in teams, sometimes organized by academic level and sometimes by interest.
We use the Primary Mathematics Program, written by the Ministry of Education in Singapore and aligned with international standards adopted in countries achieving at the highest levels in math. With an emphasis on developing number sense, strong conceptual understanding, and facility with critical thinking and effective problem-solving, our program supports the mastery of math facts and core skills needed for success in higher level math. Math is learned both as its own discipline and integrated in interdisciplinary, collaborative projects. Within projects, we extend learning to include statistics and probability, which are vital to understanding a wide array of subject matter from the sciences to the humanities.
humanities and social Sciences
Central to interdisciplinary, collaborative, project based learning at Portfolio, the humanities and social sciences include literature, history, biography, geography, political science, economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology and philosophy. Through age-appropriate exploration that is aligned with the National Social Studies Standards, Portfolio students delve into the humanities and social sciences by asking questions and engaging in design challenges, participating actively in the ongoing human quest to learn, reflect, create and contribute.
Integral to understanding our world, physical science, life science, earth and space science, and engineering design are core to interdisciplinary project based learning at Portfolio. Through immersion in the internationally benchmarked Next Generation Science Standards, Portfolio students gain understanding of core scientific ideas as well as skill in observation, experimentation, and inquiry. Exploring questions and design challenges pursued by scientists and engineers throughout history and today, Portfolio students apply scientific and engineering thinking and practice, asking their own questions, seeking their own answers, and identifying their own design challenges connected to societal and personal interests.
technology and the arts
Distinguished by a fabrication laboratory open all day for students to access as needed, and equipped with tools like 3D printers, laser cutter and CNC router and resources regularly used by engineers and artists such as electronics and robotics, wood and paint, crayons and clay, Portfolio students interact with technology, computer science and the arts, not as consumers, but as creators, regularly engaged both in self-expression and creative problem solving. Our interdisciplinary, collaborative project based learning engages students as teams in creating meaningful works of art and engineering, and solving meaningful problems of societal and personal relevance. They also have numerous opportunities to work with artists-in-residence and to meet with experts in a wide range of fields.
Social, emotional learning
At the very heart of learning at Portfolio lies the quest to better understand oneself and others as learners, creators, and people. Self-reflection along with skills to develop empathy for others are embedded within our twice daily community meetings, as well as within the team and individual explorations and design challenges integral to our projects. Portfolio students not only develop academic and creative skills, but use those skills in solving relevant problems and design challenges aimed at making a positive impact for our school, the broader society, and our environment.
Students participate in physical education several times a week in a local park whenever weather permits and indoor on days of inclement weather. The aim of our physical education is wellness, fitness, and the development of a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Students will participate in a range of athletic activities largely based on their interests.