Leveraging grade-level teaming, faculty members build networks of learning across the subject-area curricula. Because the real world involves challenges, projects and opportunities that require multidisciplinary lenses, Mount Vernon intentionally uses interdisciplinary and real-world connections to engage our learners in relevant work that matters beyond single-subject understanding. As just a few examples, the Upper School is home to innovative cross-disciplinary initiatives such as:
• Humanities Program – Careful coordination of the language arts and social studies curricula helps learners address broad questions and explore the relationship between the disciplines
• Arts Integration – Upper School art teachers work to meaningfully integrate the arts into the core disciplines via curricular connections and arts-enriched assessments
Another way Mount Vernon fosters real-world connections includes “external experts.” Throughout an academic year, learners interact with a number of business and civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and other professionals to exchange ideas, co-create, and receive feedback on their work initiatives. External experts are just one of several practices that Mount Vernon uses to establish and strengthen connections to the real world beyond the walls of school. Among other methods, Mount Vernon draws on use of writing, technology, performance tasks assessments, and partner-school relationships.
One of the hallmarks of the Mount Vernon Upper School experience, the writing program unites four learning goals that bear significant overlap with the goals of interdisciplinary and real-world connections:
• To give students opportunities to engage in real-world writing that fosters connections across disciplines and for a variety of audiences and purposes
• To increase opportunities for learners to garner feedback on writing
• To give learners opportunities to meaningfully reflect on learning experiences
• To prepare learners to produce polished pieces of writing and meet deadlinesThese goals are an integral part of the Upper School experience.
Our belief is that writing solely in a Humanities course is not enough to meet the demands of the current and future work worlds. As a creative form of expression and a means for exchanging ideas, writing fosters complex thinking and allows learners to see how their words can create impact. Through self, peer, and teacher reflection, learners improve as writers and contributors to the world.