Every school has traditions and customs that make it unique: a school song, an annual spirit week, or a regular service project.
These special traditions help create a school community that feels like a family, united around common memories and a common effort to grow and learn together. For Blyth-Templeton Academy in D.C., our favorite community traditions include something we call Exhibition Day.
Keep reading as we explore what Exhibition Day is, how it brings out the best in our students, and what it means for our larger community of BTA parents, friends, and supporters in the D.C. area.
What is Exhibition Day?
Exhibition Day is a designated event that takes place roughly once each term to showcase the extraordinary work of our students.
In the first years of Blyth-Templeton Academy, the faculty noticed that the project-based curriculum and personalization of the classroom were allowing students to produce some truly excellent and unique projects across a range of disciplines. These projects were interactive, mixed-media, or simply personal and unique, the kind of work that students had poured themselves into and were proud of; these were not your average high school essays or problem sets.
The more projects like this that we saw, the more we wanted students to be able to share these projects with an audience outside their classroom.
Exhibition Day was born out of this desire to reinforce the personal ownership and value of our student work and to allow students to show their work with pride to parents, friends, and supporters of BTA.
Where and when does Exhibition Day take place?
Exhibition Day has never happened the same way twice. Although the event takes place roughly once each term, we continue to experiment with the structure and format in order to optimize the experience for the whole community.
This year, we wanted to give Exhibition Day a real place of prominence and hold it after school hours. Exhibition Day is taking place from 5-7 pm, Monday, January 28th at the Hill Center where BTA classrooms and offices are located.
Exhibition Day is an active and interactive experience. There are rooms designated for presentations or performances, rooms designated for displays of posters, interactive works, art work, and some rooms that are turned over to a specific class. For example, this year, Exhibition Day will feature an English 11 room where students of the English 11 class will all be reflecting on aspects of the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance through their projects and exhibitions.
How does Exhibition Day serve the BTA community?
Students grow in confidence and agency.
This is the biggest reason we continue to prioritize this day. Exhibition Day has nothing to do with grading or formal evaluation of student work. It is a completely separate event that we host because we see how much students grow when they get to share their work with a larger audience.
Our students approach this day with a lot of gravity. They want to do their best! We see students come to life, conquer fears about public speaking, and present themselves with confidence and maturity. They also get to see how their work can promote conversation and advance insight for others.
Parents are engaged in the life of the school.
We are truly a community at BTA, and our students’ parents are an important part of that community. Exhibition Day offers parents a chance to see into the daily life of their student in the classroom.
While parents are always delighted to see their own children present, perform, and excel, we see parents appreciate the depth and intensity of work and personal feeling that is involved in every presentation or performance. One of the great joys of Exhibition Day is watching parents react and talk to each other and to students after a particularly gripping or thought-provoking performance.
Friends of BTA get to see the transformative power of personalized, experiential education.
Exhibition Day offers friends and supporters of BTA the perfect opportunity to come be a part of the life of the school and observe how our educational model is changing students’ lives.
It may also be the perfect opportunity for you to visit! Whether you are an interested prospective student or a interested prospective parent, Exhibition Day gives you a chance to see what project-based learning looks like and also to get a feel for the community as a whole. Expect an evening of quiet chaos, excited energy, and fun learning!
Interesting in learning more about BTA or our project-based curriculum? Join us for Exhibition Day! We think you’ll enjoy this glimpse of our community and our student work.