Educating the Whole Person
At Rock Point School, our goal is to help students learn and grow in every aspect of their lives, in and out of the classroom. Whether we are analyzing the energy output of our solar orchard, or playing ultimate frisbee, or building houses with Habitat for Humanity, we encourage students to regard each experience as a chance to learn about themselves and their world. We are particularly proud of our service and travel programs that make learning relevant and memorable. Our classroom teachers and residential educators work closely together to provide a unified approach, helping students see that learning is a lifelong endeavor that does not stop at the classroom walls.
Core Learning Skills
Time and again, Rock Point School alumni come back from college for a visit and tell us, “You know, it’s funny, my professors keep office hours, but nobody seems to really make use of them except me.” We are pleased to hear this, but not surprised; it’s a natural result from our focus on teaching students how to advocate for themselves and form effective relationships with figures of authority in their lives. This is just one example of the many skills we teach because we believe they lead to success in any learning environment. We call these “core learning skills,” and they are reinforced throughout the curriculum, in academic classes and in residential life.
Some core learning skills are practiced primarily in the classroom, although they can be applied more broadly: things like writing, critical thinking, note-taking, test-preparation, and test-taking. Other skills are practiced everywhere in our program, as we help students learn to manage their time, maintain healthy relationships, and develop essential character traits like compassion, creativity, and resilience. More and more current educational research is discovering that these are the skills that most reliably lead to success in any learning environment; at Rock Point School, we have been operating on that belief for decades.
Tailored to the Individual
At Rock Point School, we are serious about considering the particular strengths and challenges of each individual student in every aspect of our program. All schools seek to do this, of course, but our small size allows us to be more flexible, responsive, and nuanced than larger institutions. While we believe that all students benefit from a learning environment where they are more fully known by their teachers, experience has shown us that certain students seem to need this more than others. For some, being truly known allows them to grow and change in ways they had never dreamed were possible.
When explaining our tailored approach, we often compare the relationships between teachers and students to the parent-child relationship. It is natural for parents to expect different things from each of their children, and to present them with different kinds of challenges. Parents do this because they have such a high degree of detailed, complex, and subtle information about their children that it would seem strange to apply the same standards to very different situations. Parents are also able to change their approach in nuanced and ongoing ways, responding to the changing needs and aspirations of the child. And, parents have a high level of commitment to the child, not allowing the child to get off the hook by choosing to fail, but hanging in through the difficult times with an eye to successes to come, maybe years down the road.