Teaching & Learning
Since its inception in 1992, Foothills School has worked to bring a different kind of education to the Treasure Valley. By focusing on the individual needs of students alongside national curricula in all academic areas, the school has come to attract families that are interested most in their children's autonomy and skill development as learners. We are proud to be producing a next generation of innovative thinkers and problem-solvers who are capable of working in community contexts.
Teaching Through Inquiry
Foothills School of Arts & Sciences holds at its central core the model of teaching through inquiry. Inquiry is asking questions, investigating, gathering information, considering possibilities, coming to tentative conclusions that are then tested and justified. Over the past 35 years, educational research has proven that people learn best through the model of inquiry teaching, yet it continues to be used in a small percentage of the schools in the United States. At Foothills, we have chosen Project Based Learning as our primary method of teaching through inquiry.
Our educational philosophy and teaching implement best educational practices through:
•Engaging students more deeply in their learning
•Making education relevant - students learn best when they're learning about what matters to them
•Integrated, hands-on, collaborative projects
•Social construction of knowledge
Our inquiry-learning program ensures that students are:
•Learning to learn
•Learning to think, know and understand
•Learning to relate, participate and care
•Learning to research, attain and deploy resources to solve a question or reach an objective
•Learning to live full, healthy lives
•Learning to create purposeful, personal meaning
•Learning to act ethically
Differentiating for Students
The second component of our educational philosophy is the differentiation of instruction for learners – at Foothills, we work every day to deliver personalized education to each student. Differentiation of instruction is the response of a teacher to the different and unique needs of each student in the classroom. A teacher differentiates instruction when s/he responds to a student’s readiness by creating tasks that extend that student’s knowledge, understanding, and skills a bit beyond what the student can do independently. A teacher can also differentiate instruction when s/he responds to a student’s interests through learning tasks that ignite curiosity or passion in a subject. By differentiating instruction through learning profiles, the teacher encourages students to complete learning tasks in his or her preferred manner of learning. Teachers continually observe and assess students in order to adjust instruction by readiness, interest and learning profile to meet their needs. When teachers assess each student to determine his or her needs, and then provide appropriate learning activities for that student, they assure that the range of students' needs, from advanced to emerging, are met.
As a community, we work at every level to promote and advocate for these outcomes and ask that all members of our community – faculty, staff, volunteers, students, parents, and board members – reflect on how they can and do contribute to these educational values each and every day.