Columbia Secondary immerses its students in science and math as a way of seeing and making sense of the world. Learning experiences focus on the active exploration of major concepts, ideas, and theories that respond to life’s big questions. Students are exposed to the history of these ideas; the struggles and controversies necessary for their development; the kinds of questions and problems that are key to the discovery process; and the special role of effort and creativity. Students model and engage in their own explorations so that they may experience the excitement, beauty, and difficulty of discovery. Students become cognizant of the limits of knowledge and become sensitive to the dangers of over-reliance on science and technology. Students learn to explore new questions, to ponder the significance of new scientific discoveries, and to use scientific knowledge and critical thinking in their own life decision-making.
Effective instruction depends largely on setting clear and high expectations, promoting an inclusive and participatory classroom culture, and motivating students to become independent learners. Instruction at Columbia Secondary will be Socratic in spirit, with discussions, debates, guided inquiry, and carefully led lectures that focus on key questions, concepts, and theories. Students have extensive opportunities to engage in research, solve real-world problems, and learn experientially through internships and community service.