Clark High School Curriculum
Clark Montessori High School is nationally recognized for academic excellence and is a place where students and teachers work in communities to lead students in developing intellectual skills while learning to influence society in meaningful ways. Clark is the nation's first public Montessori high school.
Focusing on the triangle of Montessori education — students, teachers, parents — Clark works to form a strong community of adults and teenagers who respect each other.
Clark Montessori allows students enrolled in Montessori elementary schools to continue their Montessori education through 12th grade. Maria Montessori's vision for the adolescent included learning from the real world, achieving “valorization” of the person and contributing to the betterment of society.
"Maria Montessori's vision for the adolescent included learning from the real world, achieving 'valorization' of the person and contributing to the betterment of society."
In the classroom, the Montessori teaching method engages students in their learning by fostering their natural curiosity about the world and by providing an environment that guides their natural drive to learn.
- Staff and students train in mindfulness, restorative practices and peer mediation to influence core values of peace, respect, learning, hard work and community.
- Classrooms are organized into multigrade learning communities.
- Students, parents and teachers sign agreements requiring a commitment to the Montessori values of learning, community involvement, and respect for others.
- Clark's endorsed high school diploma includes several requirements:
- Earning additional math, science and social studies credits through senior year
- Completing 200 hours of community service throughout high school (plus 36 hours per year in grades 7-8)
- Completing all field studies (8 in high school)
- All seniors complete a year-long project, an in-depth study on a topic of choice. The project is phased in over the course of a year, allowing seniors to learn long-range planning skills and to connect their academic study to a hands-on project that contributes to society. Students present their final projects to the Clark community during an exhibition night prior to graduation.
High School Course Guide
Our High School Course Guide includes more detail about the opportunities and resources available to CPS high school students. Students and their families are encouraged to use the High School Course Guide to plan their educational pathway. The guide includes course descriptions, information about early college credit and alternative credit programs, and more. Graduation requirements, grade reporting, report cards and other policies and procedures are also included in the guide.
Honors-level Core Courses
All core courses are taught at the honors level, with four years of English, math, science and social studies required. English and social studies have overlapping content, giving students a deeper learning experience.
Intersession Field Studies
All students participate in four weeks of off-site field study each year. Students in high school continue this journey by selecting from an array of two-week intersessions that allow them to explore their passions in-depth.
- Fundraising, scholarships and work opportunities are available for families to pay for field study experiences.
- Eighth-graders travel to Andros Island, Bahamas, for a marine biology and cultural field study at a scientific field station.
- Other Intersession courses vary from year-to-year, but past offerings have included studying art in New York City, traveling to Morocco, hiking the Appalachian Trail, serving and learning from the homeless community in Cincinnati, filmmaking, local food discovery and cooking, space exploration, and others.
Learning through Service
Clark students also expand their knowledge of the world and their own self-confidence by participating in mandatory community service. They may volunteer for any non-profit organization they choose, getting as much (or more) from this experience than they give. Students learn first-hand about the problems faced by those who are less powerful in our society (becoming better citizens in the process); they also build life and career skills and gain a sense of their place in the community when their actions have a positive impact on others.
Community Meeting Time and Team building
Advisory meets once a week, every week, for one hour. During this time, Advisors not only provide students with important information, they also build community among students by leading "group initiatives." These initiatives are team-building activities that knit the students closer together and help them appreciate each other’s talents.
Ability to Choose Courses
There are certain courses that all Clark high school students have to take, but students also have a fair amount of choice. Students choose two elective courses per semester in grades 9-10 and three elective courses per semester in grades 11-12.
There are seven bells a day, but we operate on a block schedule two days a week, which essentially doubles the length of each class. The block schedule allows students to spend more time learning certain concepts or working on projects.
Clark offers an array of performing and visual arts electives, including Jazz Band, Printmaking, Steel Drum Band, Sculpture and Photography courses.
All teachers are available after school to help students. They have regularly scheduled "help nights" but can also arrange to meet with students on other afternoons, as well.
Post-secondary Enrollment option
Students can earn college and high school graduation credit by successfully completing college courses. This option is available to students in grades 9-12 who have at least a 3.0 GPA in the subject they want to study.