Foothills School has a unique approach to creating classrooms that is grounded in our focus on differentiation of instruction. The school is composed of multi-age groupings of students called dyads; the Upper School is made up of the 5th & 6th Grade Dyad, and the 7th, 8th and 9th grade Junior High. These dyads allow fluid groupings that change throughout the day that are sometimes ability-grouped, sometimes purposefully heterogeneous, and sometimes driven by student-choice of activities. Providing students avenues to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and creatively with a variety of peers in multiple settings (which meet their specific academic needs) maximizes opportunities for student growth and satisfaction within the learning environment at Foothills.
The strength of Foothills School’s mission lies in the equal weight given to personal, academic, and social responsibility. The school does not simply educate so that a student can excel on an end-of-year exam. Foothills is dedicated to providing an educational experience that inspires and creates passionate citizens of the world, who have all of the skills needed to effect change in their lives and in their changing communities.
Academic Priorities in the Upper School
Academic instruction in the upper grades is focused on each student developing his or her authentic "voice." The upper level classes deliver an outstanding and rigorous curriculum - benchmarked against national standards - while encouraging students' personal growth.
Foothills is an educational leader in helping students learn to learn, and that becomes a significant outcome for upper level students. The inquiry learning methodology permeates the classroom - we ask big questions and explore them across the curriculum. In Socratic Seminars and other discussion formats, students are asked to reflect on their perspective and be able to express how they've come to their conclusions. This respectful communication, in which the teacher is an expert guide, allows students to achieve a level of confidence - as a learner and communicator - uncommon in mainstream middle and junior highs.
The curriculum at Foothills School is broad and rich, including elements that are considered "electives" in other school environments. At Foothills, we balance the core curricular subjects with visual and performance art, global education and foreign language instruction, and a CHOICE electives program to ensure students are becoming broadly educated, with skills developing across many domains.