The Kurt Hahn School
The Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School (the Kurt Hahn School) is a 9-12 school working in partnership with NYC Outward Bound Schools and EL Education to arm students with the knowledge, skills and character necessary to serve as informed, thoughtful and courageous civic leaders in their own communities and beyond. Students at the Kurt Hahn School will enroll in a challenging standards based curriculum that readies them for successful graduation from 4 year colleges. The Kurt Hahn School emphasizes the interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics which develop students’ abilities to creatively solve problems and think critically. It also provides a myriad of out of school experiences through which students acquire the tools necessary to become life long learners. The Kurt Hahn School’s partnership with NYC Outward Bound Schools means that all students will participate in adventure and wilderness courses designed to enhance the development of rigorous academic skills while inspiring character development and critical self-discovery. Kurt Hahn School students will academically achieve more than they ever thought possible while developing and showing compassion for others and being actively engaged in creating a better world. These programs and their aims will be fully integrated within the Kurt Hahn School’s curricula and school culture through EL Education. EL Education is a proven national school design that leads to high levels of student achievement and family engagement by providing the school faculty and leadership with a rigorous sequence of professional development activities that are rooted in Outward Bound’s educational approach.
There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.Kurt Hahn
Who was Kurt Hahn?
Kurt Hahn was the founder of several innovative and successful educational programs, among them Outward Bound and the United World Colleges. He is renowned both for the faith he had in young people to rise to almost any challenge put before them and for his belief in the power of educational experiences to guide youth to make the right choices in even the most difficult of circumstances. As the headmaster of a successful progressive secondary school in 1930’s Germany, Hahn was jailed and ultimately exiled for writing letters to his school’s alumni protesting Hitler and the Nazi’s abuses of power and curtailing of civil rights in the days leading up to WWII. His life is an example of civic leadership and of informed moral courage in a dangerous time. It is these notions which guide the design of this school and this spirit which motivates our passion for youth and their future. For more information, please visit kurthahn.org.
Kurt Hahn students engage in Learning Expeditions, which are standards-based, real-world projects that provide active learning opportunities while preparing students for college and beyond. These interdisciplinary units include expert-guided field research and the production of high-quality products that students present to the public.
Every Kurt Hahn student belongs to a Crew – a small group that remains together until graduation. Led by a Crew Adviser, Crews meet daily to discuss college preparation, leadership development and personal challenges. Crew provides a safe, consistent environment for students to practice their leadership skills – and to push each other to do more than they ever thought possible.
As a community we believe that the goal of assessment is to provide students with meaningful information that they need to develop their strengths, identify areas for growth, and become self‐directed learners.
At Kurt Hahn:
- Students are responsible for their learning and actively participate in feedback, revision, and the production of high quality written work.
- Students know in advance how they will be assessed and what the assessment tasks will be.
- Students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate growth and are able to show mastery through multiple modalities.
- Students receive feedback in a frequent and timely manner so that they can use it to improve the quality of their work.
- Students’ grades reflect student’s ability to master standards and learning targets.
- Teachers communicate the expectations for the class clearly with students and families.
- Grading is transparent to students and shared with students and families using an online grading tool, PupilPath.
Performance Based Assessment Tasks known as PBATs are tasks that require students to demonstrate accomplishment in analytic thinking, reading comprehension, research writing skills, the application of mathematical computation and problem-solving skills, and the utilization of the scientific method in undertaking science research. PBATs are authentic, time-intensive, in-depth research projects and papers projects that require students to:
- think like historians;
- solve problems like mathematicians;
- conduct experiments the way scientists do;
- critically interpret works of literature;
- speak and write clearly and expressively.
PBATs help to better prepare students to succeed in college. A performance assessment more closely resembles the work that students must do to compete and stay in college than any standardized test. As a result, Consortium schools have higher graduation rates and higher acceptance rates to competitive colleges and universities compared to the citywide average. In addition, graduates of PBAT schools stay in college longer than students from traditional schools.
Student-Led Conferences (SLCs)- At most schools, parents attend a student-teacher conference. But at the Kurt Hahn School, parents will attend student-led conferences, where students lead their own conferences by presenting the knowledge they have gleaned and reflecting honestly on what they must improve in order to succeed.
The Senior Expedition is an independent project that allows students to pursue a passion in depth and intensely over time. Guided by their Crew Advisor, students develop a project that provides opportunities for them to explore a topic, learn a skill, practice a profession, experience a different culture, or travel to a new place. Students will create their own learning targets for the project and create much of their own exit criteria (again, under the guidance of their crew advisor). Senior Expeditions may include such experiences as internships, travel, work study, Outward Bound activities or college courses. Students are required to produce ongoing evidence of their progress and a final product that links to the 12th grade Graduation Portfolio.