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Academics

Strengths

Siena recognizes that confidence plays a major role in successful learning. To that end, each Siena middle school student designs an independent study based on an area that he or she has identified as a personal "strength" and topic of significant personal interest. With the guidance of their teachers, students plan an in-depth study of the topic and produce a project by the end of the year.

The goal of this course is to provide a series of classes dedicated to matching our students’ interests to their learning styles. Through self-directed learning opportunities, students receive guidance from staff while working on student-centered hands-on activities. Projects developed have included: creating and filming an animated short film; developing board games based on the real life experiences of our students; writing and editing a student magazine; and learning computer languages.

Founded on the use of multiple intelligences and principles of multi-sensory learning, the Strengths class provides opportunities for students to draw upon their areas of prior knowledge as well as their own outside interests. The overall purpose of this class is to assist our students in navigating an enriched learning process and in learning how to independently develop and manage long-term projects while maintaining a high level of engagement and enjoyment. 

Semester Breakdown

Quarter 1
  • Consistently work to meet deadlines and maintain productivity during class periods
  • Learn about multiple intelligences through surveys, online resources and discussion
  • Choose a project to develop over the semester, clearly outlining the project's plan
  • Undertake targeted research on the chosen topic using various resources
  • Fill out weekly planning and reflection sheets thoroughly and accurately
Quarter 2
  • Be prepared with necessary materials and maintain productivity in class
  • Complete project by final deadline
  • Give a final presentation to the class and parents meeting all specified requirements
  • Learn and practice study skills to prepare for midterms

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