Academics at Spectrum Progressive School
Students at Spectrum do not follow the traditional K-8 grade levels, but are split by age and ability. Please explore each level to discover how Spectrum promotes learning at every stage of a young person's development.
Multi-age learning Classrooms
With help from Specialists, arts activities (including music, drama, movement and visual arts) are woven throughout the academic program at Spectrum. The arts integrated curriculum reflects our belief that communication/expression (drawing, speaking, writing, dance, song, etc. ) is art. Art becomes a foundation for learning and interaction that underpins the curriculum at Spectrum.
Visual arts, drama, movement and music all develop complex mental processes such as judgment, creativity, emotional balance and cognitive flexibility. In both a figurative and literal sense, the arts help a child’s mind.
Our arts specialists hold weekly classes for every level. Art classes develop art appreciation, studio skills, and history. Covered topics may parallel topics begun in the student’s homeroom or learning topics may originate with the art specialist. The result is a rich learning environment for the student. For example, a lesson on African Masks in the art room developed into the study of African folk talks in the classroom, writing and developing a personal folk tale, which then “traveled” to music and drama for performances of the student written folktale. The finished performances were complete with wardrobe from our costume closet and the masks students originally created in the art room.
A cornerstone of the Spectrum program is learning that occurs by experiencing the world through field trips. Throughout the year students at every level will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of field trip experiences. Each year teachers plan several trips to extend or introduce classroom learning. Please check over your classroom's webpage and calendar for planned trips. The world is our classroom!
Spectrum has a wide range of during and after-school extra curricular activities including; Guitar Lessons, Band, Martial Arts, chess, and more.
In today's ever shrinking world it is important for students to not only have an understanding of other cultures, but have the opportunity to learn languages other than English. Spectrum offers French instruction to students from Pre-Elementary through High School and offers Japanese to students enrolled in Upper Elementary through High School.
The focus for early childhood French is oral language and active physical engagement. Stories, poems and rhymes, along with vocabulary related to classroom learning are introduced. In the elementary years, the twice-weekly language time continues the oral focus, with written language becoming a greater part of the program. World cultures are woven throughout. French grammar and language play a greater role in the twice weekly program in Middle School. Daily high school French class becomes more in-depth to qualify for high school credits awarded.
Students in Upper Elementary and older are offered Japanese Language as a second world language. Students focus on oral language, Japanese culture and Kanji at first, gradually adding more grammar, vocabulary and syntax throughout the years. Japanese is offered opposite French twice per week through Middle School.
Interest groups are small, focused groups concentrating on a topic for a short, specific length of time. Spectrum has three interest group sessions during the school year, each lasting for one week. The first two sessions involve Middle Elementary and all of Upper School, with the final session including Early Elementary students.
Each session begins with the interest group sign up sheet that families receive in the Wednesday communication envelopes. Students choose their first, second and third choices and are assigned to one of the interest groups based on choice and availability of space. The menu of choices comes from brainstorming with students.
Interest groups help to honor student choice and vary the multi-age groupings in a child's classroom. They also allow students to get to know teachers with whom they might not interact on a daily basis. This increases the feeling of community at the school. We survey our staff and students about interest groups regularly.