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Progressive Education

What is progressive education at TCS?

At The Cooper School, we redefine learning. Our unique approach values individuality, fosters personal growth, and develops well-rounded and well prepared students ready for an ever-changing world. Our core values – academic excellence, inquiry, innovation, empathy, community, and sustainability – form the basis of our curriculum and school culture. We balance high student engagement and exceptional social emotional learning with content specific academic rigor.

Active Learning & Real-World Skills

cooper school student sitting at desk with paper and pencil

Students at TCS take the lead through project-based learning, reflective assessment practices, and real-world experiences. This hands-on approach prepares them for success.

Project-Based Learning (PBL) at The Cooper School is more than just a teaching method; it’s a transformative educational experience. PBL empowers our students to become active participants in shaping their own knowledge and understanding.

Each project serves as an immersive exploration of real-world topics that captivate student interest, making learning truly engaging.

With PBL, our students develop essential questions, embark on authentic research journeys, and navigate diverse avenues to creative solutions.

At TCS, we encourage our students to ask big questions and nurture their ability to craft even bigger answers. Project-Based Learning is at the heart of our commitment to fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and lifelong learning skills, ensuring that our students are well-prepared for the complexities of the world beyond the classroom.

Kindness, Community, Diversity

4 students by wooden fence beam

TCS cultivates a culture of kindness, fostering community and celebrating diversity.

Inclusivity, understanding, and collaboration are central to our ethos.

We wholeheartedly believe that a culture of kindness and psychological safety is the foundation of empowering our students.

We prioritize social and emotional learning, understanding that when students feel supported and valued, they are not only more open to learning but also willing to take risks in their educational journey.

Our nurturing environment allows students to grow into compassionate global advocates who appreciate diversity, respect others, and contribute positively to the world.

Enrolling at The Cooper School means giving your child the gift of a holistic education that not only shapes their intellect but also molds their character, ensuring they are well-prepared to thrive and make a meaningful impact in an ever-evolving world.

Qualitative, Applicable Feedback

3 girls with red tablets sitting in gazebo

At TCS, we emphasize qualitative feedback and personalized assessments instead of traditional grades, helping students understand their strengths and areas for improvement.

That means we replace conventional letter grades with competency benchmarks based on national standards, as well as lengthy narratives that provide comprehensive feedback about your student’s progress.

Our approach places emphasis on meaningful feedback, fostering an environment where students take an active role in self-reflection as students work towards mastery.

We believe that this method not only helps students understand their strengths and areas for growth but also encourages a deeper connection to their own learning journey.

In Middle School, we introduce percentage-based mastery numbers to offer a comprehensive view of a student’s progress. While we understand the desire for traditional grades, our research-backed approach is better aligned with modern educational principles.

At The Cooper School, we prioritize a holistic educational experience that nurtures your child’s growth, both academically and emotionally, ensuring they are well-prepared to excel in a dynamic educational landscape.

Join us on this exciting educational journey!

Questions and Answers

Progressive education diverges from traditional models in several fundamental ways, prioritizing student-centered approaches, holistic development, and experiential learning over rote memorization and standardized instruction. Unlike traditional classrooms, where teachers primarily serve as disseminators of knowledge, progressive educators act as facilitators, guiding students through inquiry-based learning experiences that promote critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. In progressive settings, curriculum design is flexible allows for interdisciplinary exploration and real-world relevance, rather than adherence to rigid subject boundaries. Furthermore, assessment focuses on authentic demonstrations of learning rather than standardized tests, emphasizing mastery and growth rather than grades.

Certainly! TCS students engage in hands-on projects where they explore real-world problems, conduct research, collaborate with peers, and present their findings, allowing them to take ownership of their learning process. This active involvement not only increases the depth of learning but also promotes higher-order thinking skills, ultimately raising the level of rigor in the classroom. Moreover, student-centered activities encourage students to explore complex topics independently, pursue their interests, and collaborate with peers, further elevating the intellectual demands of the learning environment. Through this combination of student-centered approaches and rigorous academic standards, TCS cultivates a culture of excellence and intellectual curiosity among their students.

Individual learning needs are addressed through personalized and differentiated approaches to education. Teachers regularly assess students’ strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, and interests using various assessment methods. Flexible grouping strategies, such as ability grouping and interest-based grouping, ensure that students are appropriately challenged and supported. Teachers adapt teaching methods, materials, and assessments to accommodate diverse learning styles, abilities, and interests through differentiated instruction. Targeted intervention and enrichment programs offer additional support or extension opportunities as needed. Through these practices, our school creates an inclusive learning environments where all students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Preparing students for the future entails equipping them with not only academic knowledge but also essential skills and competencies needed to thrive in a rapidly changing world. By integrating interdisciplinary and real-world learning experiences, students are encouraged to explore diverse perspectives, solve complex problems, and apply their knowledge in authentic contexts. In addition to academic achievement, social-emotional learning is prioritized, nurturing students’ self-awareness, empathy, and emotional intelligence. Through a combination of academic rigor, real-world relevance, and holistic skill development, we empower students to become adaptable, innovative, and socially responsible leaders poised to thrive in the future.