New High School Curriculum

Cabot High School Launches New Curriculum
New Curriculum

As part of this year’s re-designed curricula at Cabot High School, students registered in August for multidisciplinary “studios” in topic areas ranging from small business start-ups to sci-fi film production to exploring the interaction of music, physics, and biology. Now one quarter into the school year, both students and teachers are enthusiastic about the approach, and students are getting ready to present their progress on their chosen projects to the community this month.

Cabot has been a statewide leader in progressive and personalized learning for decades. In recent years, Cabot teachers have developed proficiency-driven, project-based curricula in the arts and humanities- prompting visits of staff and teachers from interested schools in the region, and invitations to share this work at national conferences. Designed by Cabot High School faculty last spring, the new program takes the prior work one step further.

“In a nutshell,” according to Cabot’s Principal Glenda Cresto, “the new program provides a rigorous authentic learning experience for our students. We want our students to apply what they are learning in studio to real-world issues or problems, creating a project or product that will actually impact the world beyond the school community.”

Several of the school’s core values (curiosity, creativity, and design) inform the new approach, according to Brian Boyes, who serves as the high school team leader at Cabot and helped to design the program. “At the heart of an authentic learning experience is curiosity. From there, our curiosity can spark creativity to create new work that has meaning and relevance.” Boyes is also convinced that the skills developed in the learning model itself will benefit Cabot students after they graduate. “The world runs on projects.” says Boyes. “From business to engineering to the arts, work in the professional world is project-based, requiring essential life long skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.”

Open to students in grades 9-12, each studio integrates at least two disciplines. Students enrolled in the “Sounds of Science” studio, for example, will explore the physics of sound, the biology of hearing, and the art of making music. After studying acoustics and musicology to build an understanding of how different sounds are produced, students will use their knowledge to create new instruments. Next, students will explore how the brain interprets sound. As a culminating presentation, the public will be invited to hear the students’ own compositions played on the instruments that they designed and built.

Students in each of the studios will have an opportunity to present either a finished product or a work-in-progress to students and the larger Cabot community at some point this year. Coming up this Thursday, students in the Sci-fi Film Production studio will be presenting a single scene of a script they’ve written as a first step in determining which scripts get the nod to eventually be filmed. This “Sci-Fi Script Slam and Exhibition” is this Thursday evening, November 8th at 6:00 PM in the Cabot School Performing Arts Center (CSPAC). The public is strongly invited- to get a look at how this new project-based  curriculum is playing out, and possibly to get a glimpse of the very early work of the next generation of academy award contenders.

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