While your student masters all the traditional subjects through our interdisciplinary curriculum at MSR, they also apply their academic learning through real-world projects (which, as life experience teaches us, are by nature interdisciplinary, personal, and interpersonal), so that every school day helps them grow their intellect, develop a humanity, and strengthen his sense of autonomy.
Take, for instance, our students’ yearlong “Engineering Structures” project. We begin not with a set of geometry theorems to practice, architectural histories to study, and physics laws to memorize. We begin by asking your student to interpret the idea of structure. In Art they plan and build a model of a house, engaging their full imagination and interest. In Math, they apply ratios and geometrical formulas to determine square areas and circumferences of their proposed structure — cubes, cylinders, ellipses, and irregular polygons — and the measurements of his interior and exterior walls. In Humanities, they study scale and learn to read contour maps. Where is the best place to build? What are the traditions, customs, and materials considerations of building on this or that piece of land? How will their house affect the neighborhood, energy resources, or existing animal habitats? They examine the earth’s terrain and learn about erosion and other natural forces that affect the environment and creates models of the land and the home they've designed. In Science, they examine the structural integrity inherent in specific materials, testing samples of timber, brick, cement, stone, and metals in order to determine their load capacity and durability.
And learning isn’t limited to the usual academic subject areas. Consider just a few of the supra-academic skillsets your student develops in this single project. They calculate the real-world costs of their building project, balancing his dream outcomes with his practical limitations and employing self-discipline, organization, and prioritization. They apply design thinking to creative problem-solving. They consult with experts, exercising personal initiative and self-confidence. They consider the competing needs and desires of friends, family, and community and reconciles them with their own values, preferences, and ideas, developing empathy and skills in diplomacy and conflict resolution. They manage the entire complex, long-term project, gaining self-awareness and practicing collaboration, planning, and persistence.
In other words, in MSR’s Upper School, your student begins to master the crucial-to-happiness life skills that many young people authentically encounter for the first time post-college. And they gain this experience in ways that fully integrate with and strengthen their academic studies.
Through internships, community service, the college search and application process, and other opportunities for learning beyond the classroom, your student develops essential life skills, building competence and confidence (not to mention their resumé!) in preparation for their next experiences in college and beyond. These distinctive aspects of our program — deeply integrated with academic learning in traditional subject areas — exemplify the Third Plane principles of the Montessori approach.
The Triangle is home to an abundance of colleges, universities, nonprofits, and business ventures of all shapes and sizes, from start-ups to publicly traded companies. Raleigh is consistently named a top city for business and career opportunities by Forbes, Wallethub, the News & Observer, and many other publications. MSR makes the most of this concentration of highly-regarded educational institutions and innovative businesses around us, offering our upper school students extraordinary opportunities for real-world collaborations and preparation.
Internships take place during sophomore, junior and senior years, with, students preparing for their internships in 9th grade when research their interests and passions, create their resumés, learn to network in their community, participate in mock interviews, study professional skills, etc.
Your student might participate in investigating the physics of diagnostic medicine in a radiology lab. They might join a team of technologists at an investment firm where they help develop a database, perform systems analysis, and design and develop new software applications. They might apply artistic skills in an internship with a marketing firm, assisting in the creation of real content for professional blogs, websites, and advertisements.
Through the internship experience — from preparation through performance —students not only gain valuable insight and experience in the world of work in their areas of interest, they have opportunities to apply their in-school theoretical learning to real-world situations and, conversely, to discover new motivations to fuel their academic inquiries.
This program perfectly exemplifies the Third Plane manifestation of the Montessori approach, combining mastery of academic learning and the development of essential life skills — preparing students fully for their next experiences in college and beyond.
SERVICE & LEADERSHIP
Many high schools offer community service and leadership programs. The MSR difference: Our entire program — for students from 15 months old to 18 years old — is designed to cultivate a sense of personal and social responsibility and genuine engagement in service. In other words, it’s not just something our students do, it’s a part of who we are together as a community.
Our mixed-age classrooms prepare students to work collaboratively, to master their lessons in order to teach them to others, to look for and foster skills and strengths in their peers, and to tend to their responsibilities and communities. As students advance at MSR, leadership opportunities exponentially increase. In Upper School, this means that your student not only practices leadership and service in their home and school communities; they are expected to begin making a positive impact in the wider world.
Starting in their freshman and sophomore years, students must complete 50 hours of service; in their junior and senior years, this grows to 75 hours of service per year. This work doesn’t merely signal the high value MSR places on service to the community, it plays a valuable role in galvanizing your student’s sense of self at this age, their sense of responsibility, generosity, and empathy. In both whole-school service activities and in service projects of their own design — improving marine habitats with an environmental organization, tutoring younger students, volunteering at a local hospital, organizing and participating in a charity run, building and populating new beehives, or other self-constructed commitment to community — your student forges a connection between their advancing talents and interests and his maturing self and social consciousness.