Academic Overview

ACADEMIC OVERVIEW

Learning. Together. Outside.

At September School we know that students learn better in community. It’s how we’ve done school for almost 50 years. After spending the 4th Quarter of 2020 doing Connected Learning online, we have made a pivot to School Outside. We have formed partnerships with Naropa University, Earthforce, and Americas for Conservation and the Arts to bring wilderness skills, environmental advocacy, and activism to our students.

We have always rejected the “sage on the stage” model: teachers dispensing information to students. We ask students to take ownership of their education and make connections between what they’re learning, what they’re doing, and the kind of life they want to lead. Our classes require commitment, curiosity, participation, and a great sense of adventure.

“At September School, we encourage students to fully engage in their education. We cultivate both individual and collaborative approaches to learning. And we believe in the power of students and teachers learning together in a supportive small community.”

Classes are small, averaging eight students each. They take place around tables in outdoor classrooms or in the great outdoors. Everyone contributes. Students might lead an analysis of text in their English class, teach the solution to a problem in math, create artwork from natural elements, or present a research project in Environmental Issues.

In our Outside School program, students engage deeply with the world around them through their studies, meaningful work, and outdoor experiences. They spend hours doing field work in the mountains and canyons around Boulder in science class. In Art and the Natural World and in Environmental Issues classes, they make use of surrounding open space, nearby hiking trails, and sites throughout Colorado. Their math problems may include modeling changes in our own Boulder Creek or designing components of our outdoor classrooms. In English, they explore how words can capture the relationship between people, nature, and place–a relationship they’re forging right here. Real-world, hands-on experiences complement the traditional components of every class. September School’s commitment to a small staff to student ratio allows us to be the intimate and supportive community that our mission statement proclaims. Many new students come to us disenchanted with their former experiences, which is why we focus on reawakening their love of learning. At September School, staff and students develop close personal relationships based on trust and acceptance. We celebrate individuality, and encourage students to pursue their interests in becoming who they want to be. We welcome all students with patience and nurturing, so that they may feel comfortable sharing their whole selves with the community. We honor the differences between students’ abilities and experiences by creating instruction that meets each student wherever he or she is academically, developmentally, and emotionally.

In the classroom, students are encouraged to share the responsibility of finding solutions to their personal and academic problems. Our students navigate challenges by becoming critical thinkers, which is a process we facilitate by posing open-ended and compelling questions both in and out of the classroom. When given the space and resources to discover and develop passions, students are inspired to pursue their own lifelong learning paths. Each student is empowered to find his or her own truth as he or she learns the values of and means to self-advocacy. September School graduates leave our classrooms believing that challenges are opportunities to learn and grow, and they go into the world seeking experience and knowledge. Because they have developed their personalities and talents, September School graduates become effective leaders in and contributors to the community.




Courses

Outdoor Education

Art and the Natural World
Natural History of the American West
Ecology
Literature and the Land
Environmental Issues
Wilderness Skills
Nature Photography
Phys Ed: biking, hiking, rock climbing, martial arts

Relationship-Based Education

Community
Overnight and Day Trips
Group and Individual Therapy
Working Together
Service Learning


Curriculum

Our curriculum is as broad and diverse as the student body itself. We offer in-depth preparation in core academic areas including science, math, English, social studies, and foreign languages. Teachers take the time to make sure each student understands the key concepts in these critical areas so that they are better prepared for college and for life. Students are also given the chance to examine first-hand the world they are studying. They take regional trips and have the opportunity to explore very different cultures through travel and study in Europe, Costa Rica, and Thailand.

Each student at September High School takes classes that are designed to maximize personal academic potential and cultivate emerging talents and interests. Teachers at September High School are experienced in identifying and responding to different learning styles. Close attention is given to all students wherever they fit within the educational spectrum, from emphasis on basic skills to advanced coursework.

Accommodations

September School provides any and all academic, social-emotional, and physical accommodations necessary for students to access and engage the full curriculum. Our small class sizes and individual attention ensures that students build relationships necessary to facilitate academic risk-taking and improved engagement.

Transferable Credits

All credits are transferable to all public and private in-state and out-of-state high schools. While enrolled at September High School, students can earn additional credits by taking classes at various institutions, including the University of ColoradoNaropa UniversityFront Range Community Collegepublic schools, and area technical centers.

September High School is accredited by AdvancED.

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