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Academics & Curriculum

Curriculum is a bigger word than you might think. Many people assume that curriculum refers to specific subject matter – the entries on a course syllabus in college, for instance. We consider Brookwood’s curriculum to be more than that. While it is partly comprised of all the subject matter, or content, in the academic program, it also includes all the skills that students are taught in those subjects and all the problem-solving processes they learn to use at different grade levels.

Curriculum also includes all aspects of an extracurricular program – from the philosophy of the athletic coaches, through the drills they use, right down to the actual rules of the specific sports they coach. And because you can’t really separate any of these aspects of curriculum from the way in which they are taught, we also consider teaching styles and methodologies to be part of the curriculum itself. So the content of the program is important, to be sure, but without those skills and strategies and teacher tactics, a curriculum would be incomplete.

Frequently, when you ask about a school’s curriculum, you are handed a large piece of paper covered with boxes; the boxes are generally filled with words or phrases that name specific units of study or skills in the curriculum. The reality is that the boxes represent only one variable in a curriculum, and without knowing something about the other variables, you can’t really make a judgment about the quality of a school’s program. Of course, we also have charts and a myriad internal curriculum documents, as well, and below you can scroll through our departmental and grade-level curricular goals and focal points. But it is also important to know about Brookwood’s curriculum that…

  • It is child-centered, process-oriented, and skills driven. 
  • There are strands or areas of focus in our curriculum – subjects or disciplines that have become organizing principles for us in the curriculum development process. They include but are not limited to: communication skills, information management skills, critical thinking and problem solving skills, organizational skills, and actual study skills.
  • We make every effort to mount a multicultural curriculum, one that includes in its content, to varying degrees and in various ways, the perspectives and practices of a wide array of cultures. At Brookwood, our commitment to diversity presupposes that our curriculum, in general, will be multicultural.
  • Brookwood is in its tenth year of web-based curriculum mapping; faculty go to a website to plan and chronicle their curricula. We spend considerable time on curriculum development and evaluation (in a rotating departmental review cycle) with the hope of providing our students with a stable, well sequenced, and consistent program. At the same time, our curriculum is thought to be a living entity; that is, we continually tweak, hone, and amend it in an effort to keep it fresh and relevant for both students and teachers.

Finally, it is essential to understand the irrefutable logic and current pedagogy that underlie the WAY we approach our program at Brookwood. To really understand what Brookwood is about from an educational point-of-view, please read Brookwood's New Face of Rigor. And then come visit us, for a “three-dimensional” sense of Brookwood’s curriculum can only be had through conversation with our teachers, our Department Coordinators, and our students!