The Birch School is an experimental micro-school
With less than 40 students in grades two through 12, in multi-age groups, it is usual to have classes of 7 to 12 students. This low student to teacher ratio allows Birch educators to get to know each student well and utilize learning tools to keep each student on material that is right in their “zone of proximal development”– the cutting edge where learning takes place.
Birch teachers also forge positive personal relationships with students. Teachers are an integral part of the school community. Teachers are addressed by their first names. They do not play “sage on the stage” but rather learn, study and produce alongside their students, demonstrating and modeling learning behavior.
School spirit and strong bonds
Students form strong bonds with their peers by working together, collaborating on projects, and sharing feedback on each others’ projects. Strong group process, regular talking circles, conflict resolution skills and structures, and a baseline attitude of kindness and accommodation allow this 21st century learning community to function smoothly.
Individualized learning in the basics
The curriculum is individualized, with a foundation in age-appropriate natural history, geography and history, science, technology, math, literature, writing, music and the arts. There are many possibilities for exploring areas of interest beyond the basics at Birch.
Our staff enjoys working with students; we love kids!
Recent large scale learning research showed that the greatest correlation to good learning outcomes is when the student perceived that her teacher liked her. This showed a stronger correlation than cognitive style, learning style, or test instrument type. Birch teachers strive to achieve real connection with each student- we seek out the best in each, cultivate the unique skills, adjust for quirks and flashes of brilliance and facilitate outbursts of creativity with patience, humor and, yes, affection.