The Crefeld Approach: Ten Guiding Principles
1. A Tone of Trust and Mutual Respect. All staff employ a tone of trust and respect, while also setting appropriate boundaries. Restorative practices are embraced as a means of embodying this principle.
2. Embracing and Supporting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice. The Crefeld School is committed to building a culture that respects and embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion.
3. Fostering Student Agency. Programmatic and curricular designs and decisions are made with an eye to supporting students’ self-reflection and developing their sense of agency in their education and communities. We strive for our graduates to be self-aware and to see themselves as powerful actors in society.
4. Flexible Curriculum. Curriculum and instruction is developed with current students’ interests, passions, and educational needs in mind. As such, Crefeld teachers are both curriculum designers and classroom instructors.
5. Learner Friendly Curriculum. Faculty actively consider what unintentional barriers may prevent some students from achieving success, and they work to remove those barriers. Teachers balance robust supports and a highly accessible curriculum with high expectations for all learners.
6. Strengths-Based Approach. Student strengths are identified, highlighted, and activated as teachers address areas of growth. The Crefeld School embraces a whole-child philosophy; teaching duties are wide and varied, thus teaching staff gain a broad view of student strengths and these are actively celebrated.
7. Demonstration of Mastery. Crefeld students graduate by demonstrating mastery in sixteen exhibitions; this process is called Graduation By Exhibition (GBE) and is the foundation of our intentionally different approach to college preparation. Working backwards, teachers create curriculum that develops the skills needed for students to demonstrate mastery in these sixteen areas.
8. Less is More: Depth Over Coverage. We highly value teacher independence from high-stakes testing and curriculum mandates. We believe this allows instructors to emphasize deep and critical thinking and to determine appropriate pacing for a specific group of learners. We value skills of the mind rather than broad coverage of content.
9. Student-Centered Classroom. From the set-up of their classrooms, to the choice of curriculum and the method of instructional delivery, teaching staff focus on promoting active learning. Instructional strategies that engage all learners are emphasized.
10. Experiential Learning. The Crefeld School highly values hands-on learning and reflection. Teachers are encouraged to use this instructional strategy frequently and to design curriculum that fosters this approach. Projects, culminating activities, guest speakers, student performances, and field trips occur regularly throughout the school year.