At MCCPS, we promote the integration of knowledge and its application to everyday life with thematically planned units based on essential questions and understanding goals. To date, the MCCPS faculty has developed seven global themes, each with its own set of essential questions and understanding goals.
These themes are an effective vehicle to ensure integration of knowledge across disciplines and application of knowledge to everyday life. At the conclusion of each 13-week trimester, all students are required to exhibit a variety of interdisciplinary exhibition projects as part of their academic evaluation. These projects are designed and developed by interdisciplinary teams of teachers to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines, connect to real-life experiences, and cultivate essential skills and habits. Exhibition projects are geared toward enhancing academic success, encouraging productive attitudes, and developing habits of lifelong learning.
One organizing framework for the MCCPS curriculum is global thematic units. Global themes are important to humanity and can be explored throughout a lifetime, across the curriculum, through many different modes of experience. To date, MCCPS faculty have developed seven global themes framed by essential questions and understanding goals.
Essential questions are those that are important to understanding the world, have more than one complex answer, require serious thought and investigation, and generate other questions. Understanding goals aim for deep understanding of either higher order content or higher order skills as defined by a particular thematic unit.
Global Thematic Units taught at MCCPS currently include the following:
Communities & Individuals
Change: Cycles & Transformations
Time & Space
Conflict & Harmony
Character & Identity
Work & Wellness
Essential habits are ways of being that all students should demonstrate in order to be effective citizens and lifelong learners “even when no one's looking,” regardless of the context. At MCCPS, the following Essential Habits run through the curriculum at all grade levels:
Each trimester at MCCPS culminates in a public exhibition of student project work that integrates important skills and content from the disciplines while addressing the relevant global theme. Many integrated projects incorporate the visual and performing arts as well as core skills and knowledge related to math, science, global studies, and/or language arts (English and French). Community service learning is also integrated into the curriculum through project work, and many exhibition projects aim to connect disciplinary standards and benchmarks to the world outside of school.
The MCCPS Enrichment Program is a daily 45-minute period in which parents, community volunteers, and staff work with students on a wide variety of projects and activities. The Enrichment Program began in the school’s first year as a means for parents to take an active role in the learning environment of their children and for students to learn from their extended local community. Since then, it has grown to become an integral component of the school’s core commitment to community partnerships.The Enrichment Program creates opportunities that connect the school with local community members. In addition to the learning gained from working on projects and participating in activities, students learn about themselves, enhance their skills and talents, and meet and work cooperatively with other members of their community. Parents and other community members have an opportunity to enhance the learning of the children. Community partnerships help create and maintain a healthy school community.