Upper Elementary School
Inquiry-based instruction looks quite different to the traditional lessons in which the teacher presents information to the students in class. During an inquiry class, teachers present you with problems, and in the process of solving them, you ask questions, figure out the answers, and look deeply into the issues involved. As you do so, you make the neural connections in your brain so that you not only understand the topic on a much deeper level, but you also remember it for much longer, often for the rest of your life.
At Longview, much of the work you do connects to the real world. Many of your elective classes tie directly to the world outside of Longview. In our Geography class, you learn about cartography by creating a map of the town of Brewster. In Science class, you design and make a light sculpture to learn about electricity. In a robotics class, you assemble a robot and teach it to follow commands. Hands-on time is highly valued at Longview.
Too often, students’ depth of learning is limited by the bells of the class period. At Longview, you have the opportunity to work on projects that can last for days, weeks or even months.
Projects often arise out of classes that students have requested. Each spring there is an intense surveying process during which time students suggest ideas for electives which often result in classes involving long-term projects. In a history class for example, students created a board game about the Silk Road.
The Longview Experience
Many schools claim to have a student government, but too often, these bodies don’t have any real decision-making power. The official not-for-profit corporation known as Longview School is run by its democratic “School Meeting” which is made up of all the current staff and students in the school. This is a body in which every member gets one vote on every issue, be it a kindergartener or the director of the school. Since there are always more students than teachers in the community, this not only places real power in the hands of students, it gives the students a majority vote. This might sound scary to adults who are unfamiliar with democratic schools, but the truth is, students take this responsibility extremely seriously. We believe Longview’s School Meeting record of decisions compares favorably to elected bodies even at the highest level of our country’s government.
Your education cannot be limited to the classroom. You need to put your skills to the test by applying them in the real world.
At Longview, completing homework isn’t the only way a student can show how responsible they are. Through our Clerkship system, we rely on students to keep the school running. This reinforces the importance of accountability and demonstrates the applicability of what they learn in classes to their future lives.