In recognition that each student matures academically in a unique way, The New School has replaced the traditional hierarchy of freshman, sophomore, junior and senior with three Phases. All new students, regardless of high school experience, begin in Phase 1. Students pass through the Phases at their own pace, after completing a required outline of work for each Phase (e.g., specific projects completed, course credits obtained, etc.) Some students will stay in a Phase for two or three years, while others will remain there for only a single semester. Students may progress to a new Phase at any point during the school year.
A significant requirement that must be met to pass to a new Phase is the completion of Gateways — structured presentations that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of subject areas. Successfully completing a Gateway assures students that they are acquiring important knowledge and skills and are on a progressive path towards graduation. A Gateway Roundtable Committee, consisting of faculty, parents and students, critiques each presentation in accordance with ME Learning Results standards. If needed, the Roundtable requires additional work on the part of the student in order to pass the Gateway. The four Gateways are:
A student presents her Persuasive Essay to a Gateway committee
Students write a 3-5 page essay that addresses a complex issue of the writer’s choice. The essay must include a thesis statement, address multiple sides of the issue, take a position and attempt to persuade the reader, and include proper citations. Students discuss the writing process and defend the ideas presented in the paper to the Roundtable.
Students find the solutions to three applied math problems using algebraic skills. They demonstrate the relationship of graphs, tables and equations while explaining the problems and solutions to the Roundtable verbally and in writing.
Students use the scientific method to examine a quantifiable research problem that interests them. They create a hypothesis about the problem and carry out an experiment to collect data to test it. Students analyze the data to come to a conclusion, either accepting or rejecting the hypothesis, and propose ideas for further research. The lab report to the Rountable is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
This Gateway provides students with a forum to share artifacts, performances, skills or knowledge that demonstrate their interest in and aptitude for an area they are passionate about. These may include art, theater, athletics, costume design, small engine repair, travel experiences, martial arts, historical research or gardening — essentially any subject field known to humankind. Students work closely with their Advisors to decide on an area and how to present it, as the approach can be as varied as the passions themselves.