The South Bronx Early College Academy curriculum is designed to engage middle school students in the challenges that inspire learning and the questions that build core competencies and deep understanding. School culture emphasizes the student as learner and the classroom as a learning community in which the teacher, as expert and coach, brings a passion for the subject and skilled attention to students as individuals with unique needs and interests.

Project-based learning defines the basic structure of the curriculum. This means that students develop knowledge, skills, and understanding through extended attention to an authentic challenge within the subject area. In Social Studies, for example, this could mean answering a question like, “What is the best form of government?” as students study ancient civilizations and compare them to relevant current issues at the local, state, or federal level. It might be an artistic question in music or art class about the choices to be made in representing an idea or personal experience through the creation of a song or painting.

Projects are designed with care so that students are acquiring core knowledge and skills as well as forms of thinking that are useful across subject areas and central to future success in secondary school, college, and professional life. Equally important, this project-based approach gives teachers and students a supportive and challenging framework for meeting the needs of the individual learner.