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At High Meadow, we believe providing students with choice + voice along their educational paths helps prepare them to be decision-makers in their lives and communities.

This kind of student-driven exploration promotes “21st-century skills” such as independent thinking and connection making, and allows students space and time to identify what they’re truly passionate about.

Last week, students selected from 29 elective courses — that’s right, 29!— to enroll in four classes for the semester. To inform their decisions, they heard brief “pitches” from the elective teachers, and had time to discuss their options with teachers and family members.

Classes this fall include orienteering, soft sculpture, newspaper, music composition, digital photography, choreography, podcasting, and pond science. If only adults could sign up!

Elective teachers, who are experts in their fields or staff members with expertise in a subject, provide hands-on learning experiences, and also offer a level of mentorship that goes beyond the content itself. Students have opportunities to both try new things, and dive deep into others.

As Molly Lugo, coordinator of the Electives Program, points out, it’s not only the students who enjoy these specialized classes. “It benefits the teachers, too,” Molly says, “to have a class of students who are truly interested in what they’re teaching. I find this really cool as a dance teacher!”

Our Electives Program represents a formal opportunity for students to direct their learning. Of course, High Meadow teachers prioritize student choice + voice every day, engaging and respecting their perspectives across all of our work.