Spectrum School offers self-directed 9th grade

Spectrum School, an independent, progressive private school, will expand to offer a self-directed high school to students starting with a ninth grade class this fall.

Spectrum School serves children between the ages of 3 and 14, and will offer an individualized, inquiry-based curriculum centered on a common theme to students in the ninth grade. The high school program will be individualized to meet the specific needs of college-bound students and those interested in the trades or entrepreneurship. The self-directed program will allow students the opportunity to take traditional high school courses and explore, in-depth, fields in which they have a special interest. Such traditional courses would include: English, Math (Algebra 1,2 or Geometry), science, a technology course, and Foreign Language. Special interests will be explored through community service, internships/career shadowing, approved online electives, and, if appropriate, college courses.

The common theme, decided on by the students, will take a local focus in the first year, a statewide focus in the second year, a national focus in the third year and will culminate with a global focus in the fourth year. Each year, the current ninth grade class will select its four-year theme. Spectrum’s recent affiliation with the new American International School in Vietnam will provide opportunities for global learning experiences and student exchange programs.

Spectrum School believes the chronic truancy rate in the Rockford Public Schools proves there is a need for a high school that is more engaging, relevant and connected to the lives of students. Studies have shown that many area high schools, even those that boast of high graduation and college attendance rates, rarely demand students use information, skills and technologies to construct new knowledge and to solve complex problems, integrate concepts and ideas across disciplines, communicate effectively orally and in writing, and work in diverse groups.

Spectrum courses will meet California State Standards, as they are more progressive and in line with college entrance requirements for 2011. The high school will issue a transcript, and is seeking recognition from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Spectrum School is an independent, progressive school established in 1967 serving just fewer than 200 students ages 3-14 from Rockford and surrounding areas. Guided by the principles of multiple intelligences, active participatory learning, and an arts-integrated curriculum, Spectrum School has received accolades for developing a conscientious program and integrating the study of all major academic studies.

Spectrum School is recognized by international educators as a foremost example of progressive education, focusing on the intellectual, social and emotional growth of the individual and his/her development as a lifelong independent learner. For more information, contact Keri Solverson at 815-877-1600.

From the March 28-April 3, 2007, issue

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