The Pinehurst Approach
We have the privilege and resources to deliver educational services fashioned to each child’s needs. Children are assigned a grade level, but at Pinehurst they are given work that is at par with their learning achievements so far. Then teachers help them progress at a rate which the child is capable of moving forward successfully. We see every moment at school as a teaching opportunity and every adult as a mentor. This model works very well and is beneficial for both the adult and child learners and teachers.
The Common Core
We put most of our energy–and design our learning day– toward helping each child master the academic skills required by the Oregon Department of Education and the federal Department of Education, from whom we receive funding as a public school. We see Common Core as a sensible outline of topics and skills which students need to master to become well-functioning, life-long learners. Our faculty is trained to help each child meet and–we hope–exceed the Common Core standards in math and English language arts. Our efforts have paid off with our rating among the top 5% of schools in Jackson County and in the top 10% in Oregon. Nevertheless, while the Common Core is necessary, it is not sufficient.
The Human Core
In numerous immeasurable ways we model and explore with our students the fundamentals of literacy, thinking, questioning, creating, calculating, writing, speaking, public presentation skills, physical fitness, health, citizenship, computer skills, listening skills, environmental awareness, manners and strategies for reconciliation and understanding.
Music, Art and Performance Education
Children learn differently. Some need to handle and smell and taste and hear, not just listen or watch. Some come with an ear for music, but turn out to be all thumbs as artists. When your children arrive in our school, they are there to try everything and see where it takes them. Every child receives art and music instruction, and given a part in an original holiday play written by one of the faculty that is customized for each performer’s readiness.
Physical Education and Group Play
We structure our day with plenty of unstructured play. Kids learn best in bursts of instructional activity interspersed with time to “get their energy out.” Not for long periods, but long enough to get rid of the wiggles and then get on with the next bit of seat work. Through structured games and skill development either inside the gym or out on the fields, we practice body movement, ball skills, cooperative games, while also letting the kids play fun group games.
Library and Media Resources
Whether they read out of a book or read off of a screen, our goal is to excite in each child the power to absorb the written word, imagine the images, feel the experience of the characters and learn a broad visual and spoken vocabulary in order to enjoy the freedom and benefits of literacy for the rest of their lives. We have an infinite number of resources for each child since we are as well-connected to the world-wide web as any student in town.
Outdoor Education and STEAM
Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology is STEM, add Art and you have STEAM. We do all that with a very comprehensive and integrated curriculum, made especially for our kids at our school that features outdoor education with a week- long field trip for first through fifth graders. Kinders take shorter day trips throughout the year. Weekly all our students dive into often messy but enjoyable hands-on activities and lessons to train them to think systematically, rationally and carefully about how to solve problems and learn strategies for coping with the laws of science and the practical application of accumulated knowledge and data.
Testing and Assessment
Our primary mode of measuring your child’s progress is to use “multiple measures,” not just standardized tests. As lessons are taught and activities carried out, the teacher engages in a dialogue with each child over the course of the whole school year. We ask questions, explore reactions, offer the child chances to say and show that they either understand or don’t. Often the most helpful test is an exploratory question. Teachers attend carefully to a child’s response and immediately affirm, correct and redirect the child. They also use standard tests or their own creative formal tests, as well. Which measure they select depends on what they need to keep the child’s progress on course and to double check their own conclusions or mistakes. We are required to administer Smarter Balanced standardized tests once a year. They help us measure a year’s progress and to see how our children are doing compared to all the rest of Oregon’s public school students.