Learning Above & Beyond is a personalized, project-based Middle School classroom. Each student designs and implements four innovative projects throughout the year that focus on student interests, academics, and success skills. Students in the LA&B program are driven, collaborative, creative, passionate, and dedicated to learning.
Middle School is where challenge meets nurture. The new version of the LA&B program consists of a variety of academic offerings, technology, entrepreneurship, science, history music, art, community service, and leadership opportunities. We believe Middle School is a time to build character, seek independence, and gain an understanding of self and others.
Learning in this program is both personalized and student-driven. Under the advice of a Socratic-style Guide, students decide what they want to learn and they put together an action plan for how to learn it. Each student is given several hours of individual learning time each day. During this time, students are allowed the freedom to allocate the time they spend on various core subjects (math, reading, writing) and they also decide which learning tools to use.
QUESTS (THEMED GROUP PROJECTS):
Examples of Quests: Digital Marketing, U.S Government simulation, Mock Trial, Medical Biology, Passion Project, Documentary, Professionalism
WRITER'S WORKSHOP - 21ST CENTURY WRITING SKILLS:
Examples of past Writer's Workshops: Screenwriting, Letter of Gratitude, Lab Reports, Internship Emails, Creative Storytelling, Investigative Journalism, Poetry.
CIVILIZATION - HISTORICAL DISCUSSIONS (In Socratic Format):
Examples of a CIV discussion question: You are a Medieval astronomer studying our solar system and you realize the Earth revolves around the sun rather than the sun revolves around the Earth. Do You: publicize this information to bring attention to your discovery and yourself, or withhold the information because it will possibly lead to arrest and execution?
During my daughter's year of LA&B I witnessed her curiosity bloom, as she took on projects that she was excited about. She read text that challenged her initial understandings of a topic, and developed thoughtful and meaningful projects as a result of her learning. I was thrilled to see her grow in many ways - of course she gained knowledge and skills as a learner and student. She also developed incredible independence, excellent advocacy skills and started to communicate with adults inside and outside of VMS in a very mature manner. I really appreciate all the guidance, direction and feedback she was given. It is wonderful to see your own child grow in ways you cannot quantify - but you can attribute to skills that will improve her life as an adolescent and an adult. LA&B Parent
Annual Trip to Boston
The LA&B program takes an annual trip to Boston, MA each spring. On this trip, students participated in Harvard's Youth Lead the Change (YLC), a global youth leadership development program that empowers students to unlock their leadership potential by developing tangible solutions to global problems. Over the course of the five-day program, students work in teams to understand an issue they care about and create a social change project to address it. Throughout this process, students learn about their own passions and strengths, as well as core leadership skills such as collaboration, public speaking, time management, and self knowledge. The students also gain one-on-one coaching from the Harvard trainers.
Click below to view the rubrics used in the LA&B Program
LA&B Project: Climate Change and Carbon Emissions
Many people are aware of climate change, but most just sit back and watch as even today, the effects announce themselves. All around the world, temperatures are rising, ice is melting, and people are losing their food and water due to the array of effects that climate change has already put into place. Things will get even worse if we don’t do something, endangering food and water for billions of people little by little. If action is taken now to stop climate change, we may avoid the worst.
Climate change is (and will be) the world’s biggest challenge this century. If we prove we have what it takes to unite together and solve this worldwide problem, we may be spared from the worst droughts and famines. However, if people sit by and watch as the world cooks, the consequences will be horrifying. The Western US might get hit by drought after drought, ice all over the world can melt, making sea levels engulf coastal cities. And, the intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes are forecasted to increase. Things all over the world can change as the world gets hotter.
Human-induced climate change is caused by a lot of things. Things like agricultural activities, the burning of fossil fuels, and deforestation all contribute to global warming by causing massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. The technology to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources is out there, but companies don’t care because they are only concerned about making the most possible amount of money. Using renewable energy sources in your own home means less profit to the companies that aren’t eco-friendly. Refraining from buying things from those companies does the same thing. Even one person can make a difference to help stop climate change in many ways. Doing small things is still making a difference.