Education, for us, is not merely a race for the accumulation of facts; rather our programs challenge students of all ages to build upon and satisfy their natural curiosity, to seek and evaluate information, and to use the information they acquire to delve deeply and critically into their studies in order to creatively apply their skills and knowledge to real-world problems. We give students a strong conceptual and analytic foundation from which they can launch their own explorations, and develop and pursue their own passions.
Our students learn by doing, and our educational practices are informed by research, particularly on the neuroscience of the brain and its implications for teaching and learning. At a robotics tournament, students collaborate to find solutions to make their robot outperform competitors, combining creativity and technology to solve problems collaboratively. Science classes focus on experiments, not lectures, in real-world laboratories that extend beyond the classroom. Humanities classes are discussion-based, exploring texts in a contemporary context and discovering linkages to other academic and artistic disciplines. Our students learn that telling stories orally is essential to human understanding and careers. Our Middle and Upper School Workshop programs prepare students for citizenship in the global community by asking them to identify, research, and collaboratively take action to address societal challenges as individuals and groups. By the time students are seniors, they are able to work with independence.
This approach makes students active participants in their learning, with faculty guiding the process. Trial-and-error, mistakes, reflection, and growth are essential aspects of the learning process for college and beyond. In addition, we encourage students to connect deeply to their learning process so that their intrinsic motivation helps them develop the grit, resourcefulness, and creativity to solve seemingly impossible real-world problems. Complex challenges can only be solved through collaboration and engagement with multiple disciplines.
All of this must take place within an intellectual habitat that meets each student where they are, creating a desirable level of challenge so each learner can achieve and maximize their abilities. The relationships our students develop among their peers and with their teachers affords the sort of climate where we educate the head and the heart, and students practice heutagogy — taking agency over their own education.
New Roads is clearly rooted in the tradition of Progressivism: democratizing educational access, preparing students for democratic citizenship, and employing educational methods based on the science and art of education. Progressivism at New Roads means that students are equipped with the social awareness, a moral compass, and intellectual resourcefulness to lead meaningful lives to invent the future, and to fulfill their responsibilities as democratic citizens in a global community.