A school designed with "how to learn" in mind
MCP is more than a private school. Our alternative education programs and schedules reflect the best research on how learning occurs. In recent years many independent researchers have shown the educational benefits when teens start their academic day later, in alignment with their physiological development. These benefits are maximized when students begin academic work after physical movement. They are more "centered" and ready to learn.
We begin our day with exercise and structured play (9 am - 9:50 am), in which all members of our community participate. Staff and students walk and play together – we build authentic relationships, strengthen our bodies and forge a strong community. The combination of routine exercise, team learning and flexible communication highlights social learning and transcends traditional teacher-student relationships.
Academic learning time
Our academic day begins at 9:50 am. Academic classes are 80 minutes long to allow for a complete learning cycle of introduction, practice, direct instruction, independent work and reflection. Each class emphasizes not only the specific skills and content expected of the course, but also the cognitive and metacognitive requirements for learning the subject. Classes are taught with a balance of hands-on and traditional assignments, culminating each quarter with an "anchor project."
Personalized Learning plans
Developing strong habits of mind for organization and executive function is embedded throughout our school-wide systems and in class. Each week students review their academic performance and personal goals on Monday and chart a plan for the week. On Thursdays they engage in a self-reflective review of their achievements and progress that week. On Fridays, students review the week and identify what they need to complete over the weekend to prepare for the following week.
small group instruction
Small classes (4-8 students) allow for academic and social collaboration, for personalization of content and for differentiation. We endeavor to group classes by academic ability, social maturity and personality. Classes often have a mix of grade levels. In order for students to complete their work at different levels and in different ways instructional practices are differentiated for each student's learning profile, and assignments are personalized when appropriate.
At MCP we build in time for students to get additional support from their teachers for assignments, projects and homework during each school day. Students meet with teachers during office hours and during our 21st Century Skills class Monday-Thursday.