At Avenues, we expect students to be active in the classroom. In humanities and math, students prepare for class by reading and reflecting or working on a problem set. In class, students and teachers solve problems and discuss texts, building on each other’s ideas and insights. They grow comfortable developing and presenting ideas. This discussion-based method is at the heart of our mission to develop students who are emotionally unafraid, collaborative and comfortable taking intellectual risks.
Through 7th grade, the Avenues math curriculum utilizes Singapore Math, which is based on the framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education. Singapore Math draws on best practices from around the world and uses problem solving as the focus of mathematical learning. Throughout all units of study, students learn problem-solving skills and practice using mathematical language to explain their reasoning. In addition to the development of traditional mathematical skills, Singapore Math aims to build strong conceptual understanding and improve student beliefs and attitudes about math.
Beginning in 8th grade, students transition to a problem-based approach to mathematics originally developed in the United States at world-renowned Phillips Exeter Academy. Before class, students are given a set of problems to work on. In class, students present possible solutions and discuss their approach, concept and alternative ways of arriving at a solution. In these classes, students learn an approach to problem solving that can be applied to any area of life. Cem Inaltong, Avenues’ math curriculum specialist says, “This is about learning from your own failure. This is about learning from mistakes. This is about perseverance. Students become lifelong learners who can tackle any problem.” Students who complete the entire math sequence will have the opportunity to take college-level calculus.
At Avenues, we ask students to practice the big thinking necessary to confront complex 21st-century problems. From the earliest grades to graduation, students are presented with questions that require them to work and think across disciplines. For example, a World Course teacher might ask students to develop a theory of how technology is changing the nature of global conflict, while a project in the iLab almost always requires input from both the hard sciences and the fine arts.
At all grade levels, our curriculum incorporates research and inquiry-based learning. Teachers are guides, helping children develop their own questions, use multiple methods to find answers and interpret complex information — the essential skills of independent problem solving.
Once a year, classes in the middle grades stop for a week for Minimester, an opportunity for students to explore areas beyond the regular curriculum. During Minimester, students choose classes from a host of extra-curricular offerings, from digital design to fashion design, cooking to sports journalism, sailing to forensic science. For middle grades students, this opportunity to explore the unknown and learn new skills builds confidence and helps prepare them for more self-directed study in the upper grades.
A cornerstone of the Avenues upper grades experience, the Mastery Program has one mission: to inspire happier, more meaningful lives through the engagement of one’s passions. Mastery provides students with time and space during the school day to pursue a self-directed project in a field – whether academic or extracurricular – of their choosing. The program begins with a series of seminars in 9th grade. In subsequent grades, students take their explorations to deeper levels with more independent work. The program culminates in a large-scale senior project, which students present in a public exhibition and support with an oral defense.
Fifth Term is held during the last five weeks of the school year and provides further opportunity for upper grades students to focus on a single topic of their choosing. Students get to choose from a set of interdisciplinary electives that give them significant freedom to direct their own study and execute their own projects. Past electives at Avenues New York have included an interdisciplinary drama project on Hamlet, a course on creating and running your own business and an assignment to improve the customer experience in New York’s Penn Station. Students may also choose to use this time to pursue their own Mastery projects.
At Avenues, our goal is to graduate students who are global citizens “at ease beyond their borders” – and we consider second language acquisition to be a core part of our mission.
Avenues São Paulo benefits from the accumulated wisdom of our language immersion experts at Avenues New York, who have developed one of the largest and most advanced multilingual programs in the United States. In the Primary Division, Brazilian and international students communicate and play together from the very first day of school. In lower primary immersion classrooms, two teachers teach all subjects in English, thus building foundational academic vocabulary early in life.
The full English immersion program continues through 3rd grade, although daily study of Portuguese language, literature and Brazilian Social Studies, integrated with our World Course, begins in 2nd grade. Once students have become literate in English, the amount of instruction in Portuguese increases, ensuring that students have the linguistic resources to thrive in Brazil. Additional support is available for students whose first language is not Portuguese.
In the Secondary Division, students develop the advanced academic language skills required for study at colleges and universities in Brazil, the United States and around the world. Students deepen their language study by pursuing rigorous, college-level coursework aligned with the higher education destination of their choice.