Research is constantly evolving in the field of teaching children with complex challenges -- and here at TQS, we know we must continuously address and improve our instructional methods to keep up with the latest findings in order to help our students thrive.
That’s why one of the four components outlined in our ambitious, five-year strategic plan “Expanding Our Reach, Deepening Our Impact” is Stronger Curriculum.
But what does “stronger curriculum” actually mean for TQS?
We are focusing on evolving our curriculum and instruction under three ongoing strategies. Here are the earliest updates on these strategies:
#1: Develop Core Competencies
Our goals: TQS serves a diverse range of students, each with unique educational needs. However, it is still important to identify the core-competency areas that all TQS students should master by the time they graduate.
Under this plan, we will work to identify several core competencies, thread them throughout our program, and measure the outcomes -- including literacy, critical thinking, executive functioning, math and more.
New updates: Within this strategy, we are currently consulting with Independent School Management (ISM) to develop purpose and outcome statements within two different documents, Portrait of a Graduate and Characteristics of Professional Excellence. These statements will be used to direct programmatic decision-making and to demonstrate our unique differentiators to potential students.
#2: Become a “Center for Excellence” in Project-Based Learning
Our goals: At TQS, we operate under a Project-Based Learning (PBL) pedagogy, which emphasizes inquiry, reflection, collaboration, learning through doing, and stewardship.
We are seeking to become a PBL Center of Excellence by connecting learning across disciplines, encouraging collaborative learning, engaging students with the community, and more.
New updates: We have begun taking steps to achieve this classification. Recently, we created a new faculty committee and committee charter. This year, each committee member will attend one PBL workshop, visit one school known for excellence in PBL, and attempt one PBL unit in their class.
As a group, the committee will be creating a brief document with feedback, reflections about their visits, and workshops and experiments. Then, they will compile a written recommendation to our administration for work to be completed in the second year.
#3: Embed Quaker Principles & Process into Teaching & Learning
Our goals: One of our school’s most distinctive aspects is our commitment to Quaker principles, beginning with seeing and appreciating the “light in each of us.”
As we look to the future, we will fully integrate Quaker principles and processes into our teaching and will learn to develop the critical thinking, social-emotional capacity and connectedness of our community of learners.
New updates: This is our third year of the Quaker Life committee at TQS, and we will be holding an orientation on Quakerism for new and returning faculty.
This year, we are instilling Quaker values and teachings into our community in several new ways:
A Quaker toolkit in each classroom, provided by an FCE grant
A yearly theme based on Quaker Principles (Our 2019-20 theme is “Peace begins with me.”)
Expanded service-learning integrated with queries. Our Weekly queries will tie in with our annual theme.
A Clerking workshop for each new faculty committee Clerk at FCE.
In fulfilling our mission and operating under our Quaker value system, we know we must have a steadfast commitment to ongoing learning. By working together to build a stronger curriculum, we can continue empowering our students to grow through new opportunities and accomplishments.