The School’s curriculum incorporates best practices for educating urban adolescent girls, emphasizing collaborative work, project-based exploration and the link between the classroom and the real world. Hawthorn’s curriculum is infused with attention to literacy; advanced proficiency in reading, writing, and communicating is essential to students’ success in secondary and post-secondary education.
Against this backdrop, the School’s focus is on STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We encourage and expect our girls to approach these and other subjects with energy and creativity, a willingness to take risks, and assurances that they can achieve a level of mastery in these subjects. In a single-sex school, the girls are free to tackle these academic areas with gusto and confidence.
Hawthorn’s Project Based Learning is an innovative and cross-curricular approach to hands-on learning. Instruction focuses around a central driving question and student projects delving into that question culminate in a final presentation. For example, our 6th graders worked in teams during their math unit on ratios and proportions to compete in “Catering Wars.” They converted recipes, created budgets, and graphed spending allocations in planning a party of 100. The winning team threw the party for the rest of the school! In dance class, students choreographed dances to express human rights issues important to them and then performed those dances at a concert in which they raised funds for Amnesty International. Project Based Learning units are in each subject area each semester.
Students benefit from small class sizes, teachers who are specialists in their area, an innovative curriculum, access to and training in modern technology, and opportunities for hands-on learning in science, engineering and math. This learning also takes place outside of the classroom in fieldwork and in partnership with businesses and organizations in the St. Louis community. Hawthorn girls actively engage in extracurricular activities, exploring new areas and honing their unique talents.
As a publicly funded school, Hawthorn is required to administer the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests every spring.
In order to measure our students’ growth throughout the year, Hawthorn administers the NWEA assessment three times a year in the areas of Reading, Math, and Science. While this test is not required by the state, we use the performance results to monitor students’ growth over time, adjust our instruction based on our students’ changing needs, and report our progress to our institutional sponsor.