Rutgers Prep’s continuing commitment to student-centered learning is nowhere more evident than in our Middle School Ideas & Innovations courses. New to the curriculum this year, the Ideas & Innovations courses are available to all 6th through 8th graders at Rutgers Prep, and represent a broad range of topics which students engage with for about eight weeks before moving on to their next “I & I” course. The first courses offered through this program ranged from Coding to Financial Literacy; students were given a list of eight to choose from and the vast majority of this year’s participants received a course from among their top three choices. “Choice is part of the point of this program,” stated Middle School Principal Bob Marotto. “Students are heading into academic environments in which they will have more and more choice over their course selections, so we wanted to give our students a low-stakes way to get the feeling of making these kinds of choices.” Middle School Assistant Principal Stacy McMillen shared, “Another key benefit of the I & I courses is that they give students access to greater curricular diversity; in most cases, students will be engaging with a field of inquiry that they typically wouldn’t have access to in our regular curriculum.” The I & I courses are designed with an eye towards creating a collaborative, low-pressure environment; they are non-graded, hands-on, and project-based. The response from students and teachers has been gratifyingly enthusiastic; take a look at the photos below for some glimpses into the first curricular cycle’s worth of courses.
Middle School News students gather around to check our a preview of their next video.
These STEAM students are making some last-minute adjustments to their marble rollercoaster.
Here’s Paris T. ’21, making a point…
… and Hadley A. ’23 working the room.
Who says public speaking is hard? (Doesn’t Mason V. ’21 look so comfortable here?)
Yes, James J. ’21 and Dawson A. ’21… nothing beats a good book!
Here’s Chance W. ’21 checking out fan fiction during some free reading time in his Library Literacy program.
Imagination and Interests: “I’m going to try to write from the perspective of a kid whose father and older brother both have to fight in the war. And he can see some of the battles, with cannons and stuff, out of his window.” Charles C. ’23
Imagination and Interests: “I knew that they were behind some of the first manned flights, but I learned a lot more details in order to make the book.” Cassidy S. ’21
Students in Community and Ethics were working on proposals for projects to make a positive difference in the world.
Students in Mad-Learn Coding were working to design their own apps. As they prepared to present their creations, they were preparing to answer questions like, “Is the app visually appealing? Is navigation easy and intuitive? Do the links and videos all work?”