OUR APPROACH

FernLeaf is a Place Where All Students...
  • feel encouraged to develop their innate creativity and curiosity.

  • are connected to their community and the environment.

  • can experience the joy and wonder of learning and living.

  • are challenged by a rich and rigorous approach to academics while learning the skills necessary to be thoughtful, compassionate and engaged individuals.

  • feel inspired to pursue their unique passions and aptitudes.

FernLeaf Students' Needs are Met by Providing...​
  • a small, collaborative learning environment built upon kindness, respect and trust.

  • a robust experiential and project based learning model.

  • kind and caring teachers who balance traditional core academics through an integrated approach that includes social-emotional learning, arts, service learning and stewardship, environmental education/awareness, sustainable living, outdoor education, entrepreneurship, cultural awareness, and comprehensive health and wellness.


FernLeaf's School Culture...
  • embraces diversity.

  • values creativity and innovation.

  • respects learning as an ongoing organic process.

  • prepares students to meet the unknown challenges of the 21st century.

  • allows students to achieve academic fluency, discover their passions and aptitudes, and become thoughtful, compassionate and engaged contributors to society.

Fernleaf's Instructional Approach

FernLeaf moves beyond traditional classroom-based instruction by employing a rich and varied project based experiential learning model that brings the curriculum to life for students, teachers and the community. In this setting learning is relevant, meaningful and engaging. Students participate in a variety of learning environments in which they learn content and receive instruction in formats tailored to their unique and individual needs.  

 

This approach facilitates true academic fluency where students not only acquire knowledge and content but are able to apply it in real-world situations through project work.

 

Expansive Academic Focus and Emphasis

FernLeaf balances and integrates traditional core academic subjects with

  • social-emotional learning,

  • stewardship,

  • the arts,

  • entrepreneurship, and

  • comprehensive health and wellness.

 

Through access to a wide variety of subject matter and opportunities for success in a broad set of disciplines, FernLeaf students can discover their unique passions and aptitudes and develop the wide range of skills and knowledge that will meet the unknown challenges of the future.

School and Class Structure

 

The ability to effectively implement the curriculum and provide an expansive academic focus requires a paradigm shift in school design and class structure.

FernLeaf rethinks everything from physical infrastructure to scheduling. Of fundamental significance is FernLeaf’s small size which allows flexibility in all areas of the school and the ability to adapt to the changing needs of the school community over time.

 

Off-site learning opportunities are regular features of project work, while flexible scheduling helps keep students from getting bored, and multi-age learning environments promote cross pollination of ideas while allowing students to learn at their individual levels. 

Student Growth and Assessment

FernLeaf utilizes a comprehensive assessment strategy rooted in a culture of reflection whereby staff and students are encouraged to constantly evaluate themselves and their peers with the goal of perpetual academic, personal and social growth.

 

This strategy incorporates not just traditional quantitative measures, but a wide variety of ongoing qualitative measures designed to help students and teachers form a more complete picture of student growth and development. FernLeaf's assessments address not only academic goals but also a host of social, emotional and developmental goals, all contributing to high levels of success and well-being at school and beyond.