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The Responsive Classroom

Instilling lifelong learning and social skills at all levels of learning

A well-balanced education equips students to succeed in all aspects of life. In addition to academic excellence, students need to develop emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and social skills to help them navigate through the circumstances and relationships they face. Developing these skills early in life also helps to establish foundational elements of leadership development.

We have employed the Responsive Classroom methodology as a school-wide approach to create safe and engaging classroom environments in which students can develop. One of the core tenants of this approach is to create an atmosphere in which the students can develop essential social and emotional skills while they achieve academic excellence.

The Responsive Classroom in Action

The Responsive Classroom provides a unique classroom experience for students by a series of guiding principles and classroom practices. Schedule a tour or join us for an open house to see the Responsive Classroom in action and see what sets our teachers and staff apart.

Guiding Principles

  • Interactive Modeling: Teachers use an interactive approach and consistent modeling with their students, helping to solidify students’ understanding of both academic material and social skills.

  • Logical Consequences: Students learn from mistakes in an environment that handles misbehavior in logical, predictable ways that maintain dignity.

  • Interactive Learning: Collaborative and hands-on activities are regularly incorporated into classroom instruction to engage students and help them develop social skills while mastering skills.

Lower School Responsive Classroom Practices

  • Morning Meeting: Time is set aside each morning to practice greeting, sharing, and collaborating. This activity allows students to begin the day with strong social connections and encourages confidence building.

  • Goal Setting: Collaborating together, teachers and students discuss goals and establish an environment in which each individual can achieve success.

  • Energizers: Teachers engage students by incorporating regular “energiziers” into daily instruction. These short, fun, and engaging group activities help students to focus throughout the day.

  • Quiet Time: A time of rest is incorporated into the daily routine. These purposeful moments teach students how to transition between segments of the day.

  • Closing Circle: Each class wraps up their day with a short gathering that celebrates the day and teaches students the value of reflection.

Middle School Responsive Classroom Practices

  • Responsive Advisory Meeting: These structured meetings help to begin the day recognizing students’ developmental needs and providing an environment in which students build trust and strong relational connections.

  • Rule and Goal Setting: Students learn how to put SMART goals into practice and realize how the classroom environment impacts their success.

  • Engaging Academics: Teachers incorporate three phases of classroom instruction to facilitate learning mastery by the students. The phases include: Teach and Model, Student Collaboration, and Facilitate Reflection.

  • Modeling and Reinforcement: Students are encouraged to actively model and practice the concepts they are learning. This enables teachers to regularly coach on progress and ensure independent study is as effective as possible.

  • Collaborative Learning: Teacher-organized small group activities provide another environment for students to collaborate and develop social skills while learning academic content.


See the Responsive Classroom in action and discover what sets our teachers and staff apart.