Leadership and Strategic Plan

Project-Based Learning

Dear Parents,
Thanks to those of you who attended last week’s screening of Most Likely to Succeed. Our faculty were intrigued, and inspired, by the inside look at project-based education taking place at High Tech High. This San Diego school actively engages students in learning through group work, hands-on projects, and a student-focused approach to exploring math, science, literature, the arts and humanities in an interdisciplinary way. In-depth class discussion and public presentation to an authentic audience are emphasized over homework and tests. Education there looks very different from the traditional model and more like the problem-solving, collaborative projects found in the workplace. 

As the documentary points out, many educators around the country are embracing this method of teaching. Examples abound, from a recent New York Times article about high-tech wood shop at Rutgers to an NAIS article this week on integrating maker education with global citizenship. Tower Hill has many elements of this type of pedagogy, having never abandoned our wood shop, offering LEGO robotics and experimental rocketry, and providing practical activities like room design to scale in the Lower School Math Lab. Based on dialogue at our recent faculty meetings, I would not be surprised to see more examples in the near future as we continue our yearlong conversation about curricular innovation. Our amazing teachers are leading the charge; they are not afraid to ask bold questions and to try new things in order to best serve our students. 


Elizabeth C. Speers
Head of School