NeoCity Difference


Inquiry-Driven, Project Based

In addition to regular work, NeoCity faculty identify special projects each quarter known as Checkpoints. For these major projects, the faculty use a common rubric tailored to their particular subject. Through the Checkpoint, NeoCity teachers are able to identify areas of growth and challenge for each individual student and shape their instruction in order to meet the needs of the student.

The projects generate more student interest and involve multiple steps and drafts. They often require a great deal more effort than studying for a test.

Curriculum driven by design thinking

Projects at NeoCity Academy are different than traditional schools. The key to this difference lies in the design thinking process - focusing on process more than outcome. Faculty approach content creation as designers, using a backward design approach.

Teachers ask, "What are the understandings students should have when they leave this class?"

Faculty then design projects that can only be completed by showing both the skills and knowledge deemed to be critical to master the subject and demonstrate a deep level of understanding. Students use the design thinking approach to solve these problems.

The student's classes then become a series of exercises to make sure that students have the tools to do the work required. This is why the design is considered backward. Students begin with the desired outcome and design problem solving strategies to get there.

In a traditional classroom students might do many small projects along the way, but the final assessment of student progress is measured by a test. At NeoCity Academy, there may be multiple assessments - including quizzes and tests - along the way, but the primary assessment of student learning is through the projects. 

The 1:1 Initiative

NeoCity Academy students learn in a 1:1 laptop environment. This creates the ability for students to incorporate a world of knowledge into their projects. While textbooks may be utilized, teachers often want students to search for answers outside of the confinement of a single source.

Classes at NeoCity Academy often take the form of students working with one another in small groups with their laptops open. Instead of being at the front of the classroom, the teacher monitors student learning going from group to group providing ideas and support for students to complete their assigned tasks. 

The 1:1 environment means that each student is responsible for topic inquiry and ultimately the presentation of their findings. Differentiated learning (teaching to the ability and needs of each student) becomes inherent.

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