The Kurt Hahn School
The Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School (the Kurt Hahn School) is a 9-12 school working in partnership with New York City Outward Bound and Expeditionary Learning Schools 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 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 Expeditionary Learning Schools. Expeditionary Learning 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.
Courage- Rise & Conquer
“Fear everything and run OR . . . face everything and rise.” – Jay Jay
Courage is an inner quality that becomes evident in situations where:
1. You step out of your comfort zone.
2. There is uncertainty or an unpredictable outcome.
3. You show bravery.
It’s important to have courage because in life you need to take chances if you want to go far. At Kurt Hahn students show courage by overcoming fear. For example, during Adventure Week, students overcame their fear of heights on the high ropes course, even though it was uncomfortable.
Authors: Maia, Jaquon, and Jenesse
Compassion- Caring for other is ultimately caring for yourself.
“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama
Compassion is the way to help people get through their pain. It is the act of going out of your way to help the physical or emotional pains of another.
Some examples of ways that Kurt Hahn students show compassion:
- Helping people get up the hills during Adventure Week.
- Helping people to get their work done during Explore Week.
- New York Cares projects: visiting a soup kitchen and feeding the homeless.
- Supporting people with breast cancer through the Breast Cancer Walk.
Compassion is the way to show that we care for each other. Compassion doesn’t have to be physically seen, it could be felt emotionally. Compassion is feeling someone else’s pain and trying to help them get through it.
Authors: Anika, Da Rai, and Imagesty
Respect- Give it to get it.
“Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.” -unknown
Careful. One Mic. Thoughtful. Kind words and actions. These are a few words to define respect. Saying “good morning,” “excuse me,” “sorry,” and “Sir, Ms.” are further signs of respect. Respect varies from place to place. At Kurt Hahn, in our community, respect is displayed by students, teachers, deans, custodians, and security and by treating others the way you want to be treated. Give respect and carry yourself in a respectable manner.
- Calling teachers Mr./Ms. instead of by their first or last name only.
- Greeting students as they enter your classroom.
- Speaking calmly during discussions.
Authors: Kessia, Danny, Tahj, Nathaniel, and Shariff
Stewardship- We are the world.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Ghandi
Helping out your peers around you is a good example of stewardship. Stewardship includes managing time and resources and is an important part of creating a forward thinking, productive environment. Ways that you can show stewardship at Kurt Hahn are:
- Community Service
- Being a role model
- Helping out younger peers
- Helping teachers
- Cleaning after people – you want to take care of the space and respect your school property
Authors: Ayana, Rhiana, Ta Shay, and Rashanda
Perseverance- Perseverance can make a change!
“I can accept failure but I can’t accept not trying.” -Michael Jordan
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. Perseverance is also a key to life. Many people who persevere achieve their goals and succeed. If we don’t persevere, we are most likely to fail, and failure is not an option. At Kurt Hahn, the students show perseverance by continuing to work hard even if they feel like giving up. An example of perseverance is working to bring your grade up in a class you dislike or failed first semester. Another example of perseverance is trying to complete your work in class, regardless if you understand it at first or not. In conclusion, we should persevere through life, through school, through everything! Persevere!
“There is no failure except no longer trying.”
Authors: Sergelyn, Tianna, Ohemah, and Jermaine
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.