The Upper School Electives Program provides opportunities for our oldest students (11s–13s) to direct and/or design their own creative pursuits independent of the Social Studies work in the classroom. The core principles learned at C&C, driven by exploring the world and describing what they see, are still present, but with more independence and freedom for each student to problem-solve and create.
Electives run M/W and Tu/Th for 45 minutes a day. Students may explore an idea, work with a new material or explore a familiar material with a new purpose, tell a story, solve a problem, create a project, or fill a need within the School. Students have a wide variety of open-ended materials, tools, and techniques to consider, such as film, photography, woodworking, animation, performing arts, mixed media, computer programming, and songwriting.
In the 12s and 13s a pursuit begins with the articulation of a proposal in which the overall project is defined. A pursuit can take all year or a few months, but with their proposal in place, students enjoy having the freedom to work independently or collaboratively for as long as they wish. Some proposals in the past have included creating wearable electronics, the making of a horror film trailer, metal clay jewelry design, and even the construction of a boat.
Inherent in harnessing a student’s curiosity and providing time and space to work toward a goal is the need for that student to persevere in the face of challenges. The result may be a redefined goal, additional insights into the properties of a particular material, or a renewed approach to a collaboration with a peer. Students work closely with an adult mentor who is an expert in their field. Mentors encourage a student’s interest in, and focus on, the process.
Complementing the proposals-based Electives program are the Upper School Orchestra and Upper School Chorus programs.