High schoolers are expected to be many things today - scholars, athletes, volunteers, civically engaged, and socially responsible.
We aspire for our graduates to be all these things, and much more. Our hope, for every young person that walks through our doors, is to equip them with tools and help them develop qualities that will serve them both in high school and for the rest of their life.
Keep reading for a full description of the top five characteristics we work to develop in Blyth-Templeton Academy (BTA) graduates.
BTA Graduates Understand Their Gifts and How to Use Them
Every young person is gifted with a combination of talents, abilities, and passions that are unique to them.At BTA, we seek to honor those gifts and help each young person to draw them out through our pedagogical approach. We always start with the student in mind. Each aspect of the program is tailored to fit the needs of our students, from the schedule to the curriculum, to the place-based learning experiences.
Our classes are small - on average only eight students, which encourages classroom discussion and collaboration instead of lecturing and competition. In these small groups, students have the opportunity to think introspectively and reflect on which of their gifts brings them joy and allows them to serve others. We encourage students to discover what brings them joy - because it is usually these areas of passion that translate later down the road into meaningful and fulfilling careers and life experiences.
Through Service Learning, students engage in projects that contribute to the betterment of their community and to their overall education. Students are highly self-motivated and encouraged to find and organize their own projects. Staff and faculty are there to support our students, but take a step back to enable students to see their service projects through on their own merit.
BTA Graduates Look At Challenges as Opportunities, Not as Obstacles
At BTA, we approach education differently. Our curated group of dedicated and skilled educators have one mission - to transform the life of each and every student through highly individualized, experiential education. Through this individualized approach, our teachers are able to work with students, many times one-on-one, to help them recognize their potential to think critically and problem solve even in the face of difficulty.
Our students graduate with a mindset that is different than your average high schooler’s - they welcome challenges and unknowns, because they see them as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than an as obstacles to their success. This is an important part of the identity development in adolescence: teenagers who think of themselves as resilient problem-solvers are more likely to thrive in challenging school, work, and personal environments.
BTA Graduates Are Creative Thinkers and Effective Communicators
Students are encouraged to cultivate their creative thinking skills through individual and group projects, collaborative learning, and project-based learning. These methods of active learning foster abstract thinking and avoid the pitfalls of traditional classroom lecturing. Our graduates have spent much time in seminar style classes, honing their skills for discussing, listening, and persuasive argument. They have developed communication and social skills in these classes that they will carry into every classroom, career, or relationship in the future.
A defining aspect of BTA’s approach to education is our emphasis on experiential learning. Studies have shown that experiential education, leads to a deeper and more readily applicable understanding of the subject. Both in and out of the classroom, students learn by doing. Whether it is designing experiments in Chemistry class, debating in History class or going out of the classroom to the numerous local museums, headquarters, foundations, institutions, book stores, and local businesses. Local experiences - which serve as resources for real-world learning - combined with classroom study, offer students the wealth and variety of mental activity that produces creative thought. Students make connections and are inspired by the input from both their experiential learning and the more theoretical work they have done in the classroom.
BTA Graduates Leave Prepared for Post-Secondary Education, Career, and Life
One of our goals at BTA is to prepare students, not only for college, but for their future careers and for life. We recognize that a young person’s high school years can offer them so much more than a traditional education, designed to propel them to the next benchmark. This time in their life is a perfect platform for personal growth in character.
We know that by focusing on educating and cultivating the whole individual, students naturally strive for academic excellence - which translates into preparation for their post-secondary education. In addition to small class size, our approach to education includes focused study and deeper learning. Students approach only two subjects per term, in a four-term year, allowing them to truly focus on the topic at hand. To provide an environment for deeper learning, we operate on a block schedule. Students are able to spend several hours a day on each subject, which encourages critical thinking and deeper exploration of complex topics.
Our block scheduling also provides students with the opportunity to develop critical time-management skills and learn to lead a balanced lifestyle with regard to family, academic, and social responsibilities. Students have one open period each term. The time is self-directed, and serves as an opportunity for them to work on projects, study for tests, collaborate with classmates on assignments or homework, meet with teachers, write papers, and develop social connections with their peers. It is meant for students to get work done during the school day and utilize their resources at school, so they can go home without the stress of having too much homework.
BTA Graduates Are Global Citizens, Engaged and Empathetic Community Members, and Lifelong Self-Directed Learners
An overarching belief that we strive to incorporate continually in our education model is a focus on self-giving and empathy, rather than self-centeredness. Students are constantly encouraged to look outside themselves, to their peers, family, local community, and beyond. Through our place-based learning model and emphasis on experiential learning and service, students develop a mindset and habit of community involvement and outreach. This habit becomes ingrained in their value system, and sticks with them the rest of their lives.
We recognize that both a global perspective and international collaboration are central to becoming valuable world citizens. We have found that when students focus on contributing to the wellbeing of those around them and engaging with their community - they are happier, more self-aware, and tend to lead service oriented adult lives. Connection to our community is an essential part of learning and living. These experiences also foster a sense of curiosity about the world, people, and problems around them, which leads them to a path of lifelong self-directed learning, discovery, and problem solving.
A Good High School Can Prepare A Student For Life
The characteristics we work to help our students develop will not just serve these young people in their high school education, but also as they form the foundation for their future. These five qualities embody what we hope every young person gets from their high school experience - a foundation for a happy, productive, and fulfilling human life.
Interested in learning more about how BTA cultivates these qualities in students? Check out our full digital resource for parents and students: The 2030 High School Graduate.