21st Century Learning

Creativity, character, critical thinking, collaboration, communication and cosmopolitanism, the 6 C's, are the primary skills students need to be competitive in the 21st Century. At Wye River, we have embedded a structure for students to grow in these areas across the curriculum, whether through course-based projects, working in the Middendorf MakerSpace, or gaining leadership in the arts, athletics, internships or community-based involvement.

Students document their accomplishments and growth in the 6 C's during their entire Wye River experience, and formally reflect on their learning in preparation for a final digital portfolio presentation, a graduation requirement. Before a faculty panel, seniors use their portfolios to defend how they have accomplished the School's Twelve Demonstrations of Learning. These "Demos" are meant to foster 21st Century and Executive Function skills; student strengths and the processes of learning are rewarded as much as academic content.

Some “21C” projects that Wye River students have explored include:

  • Robotics: Students constructed and programmed a robot capable of performing a difficult physical task.

  • Forensics: Students studied Forensic Anthropology and its practical applications in criminal investigations.

  • Music Recording: A school rock band, “The Khakis,” played for several school events and recorded their own three-song demo, one of which was an original composition.

  • Student Government: Students in traditional offices identified student concerns and community needs to address, planned events, fundraised, and drafted a detailed charter.

  • Zoology: Students studied animal structure and behavior through observation of live animals and dissection.

  • Kindergym: Students designed a repertoire of games to develop gross motor skills and regularly delivered a class to local Head Start preschool students.

  • Computer Animation: Students created a professional-looking stop-motion animation short using green screen technology.

  • Science Art: Students used scientific subjects as the inspiration for drawing, painting, poetry, and sculpture.

  • Computer Programming: Knowledgeable students teamed to write code using common programming languages.

  • Sustainable House Building Project: Students designed a “Green Thumb House,” a sustainable small house, and raised funds in order to construct a replica on school property.

  • Trebuchet Design: Students studied, designed, constructed and tested a large-scale trebuchet and taught lessons to local primary students about the physics of their design.

  • Wye River Radio: Students publicly broadcasted radio podcasts of news, weather, music, and human interest stories relevant to school life.