16 days ago
Classroom and Capstones
Deerfield Academy Mission Statement
Deerfield Academy is an independent secondary school committed to high standards of scholarship, citizenship, and personal responsibility. Through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, extensive co-curricular program, and supportive residential environment, Deerfield encourages each student to develop an inquisitive and creative mind, sound body, and strong moral character. Set in a historic village bounded by river, hills, and farms, Deerfield inspires reflection, study and play, abiding friendships, and a defining school spirit. A vibrant, ethical community that embraces diversity, the Academy prepares students for leadership in a rapidly changing world that requires global understanding, environmental stewardship, and dedication to service.
Learn more about the ways in which Deerfield has become more innovative in the modern age.
Kyle and Dr. Hills:
Technology, Curriculum, and Collaboration at Deerfield:
Classroom and Capstones
Classroom & Critical Thinking
With time and technology comes new knowledge and deeper understanding. Deerfield has reviewed its programs and invested in the physical and intellectual resources required to ensure that they remain world-class.
- A Targeted Curriculum Review examines multi-section courses, core skills, and information literacy to bring coherence, consistency, and alignment to the academic program.
- Capstone and Research Courses, such as Global H2O, an interdisciplinary, team-taught course that explores the challenges we face as water becomes an ever-diminishing resource, encourage our students to connect ideas across their entire academic experience.
- New Student Orientation Programs put incoming students on the path for success from the moment they arrive at Deerfield.
- Summer Programs sharpen student skills, encourage year-round learning, and encourage deeper studies in particular subjects.
- Additional Classrooms in the Arms Building outfitted with modern teaching amenities, maintain small classes and enable innovative teaching methods.
An important component of the Academy’s mission is to provide an academically rigorous curriculum that develops life-long learners with inquisitive and creative minds. Furthermore, we strive to instill in our students initiative, independence, and resilience. All of these attributes are built on disciplined work habits and involve collaboration with peers and mentors. We believe students can cultivate and showcase these qualities by engaging in capstone experiences at Deerfield.
While Deerfield offers a variety of capstone experiences, they all share the following characteristics:
- The projects allow students to reach higher levels of critical-thinking and synthesis by requiring an end-product pulling together key lessons.
- The endeavors require significant time and effort, with the best experiences being supported by drafts and iterative progress, thereby producing a superior output that was not necessarily initially envisaged by the participants.
- The products are shared internally and externally, thus inspiring our students to tackle meaningful and important topics relevant to the Academy and beyond.
Within this framework a student passionate about English and theater could write and direct a play; a student interested in energy topics could explore ways to convert the energy of the Deerfield River into electricity; a student intrigued by global issues could propose water purification solutions, travel to a site and implement them.
This year, fifteen Deerfield seniors participated in a capstone experience endorsed by the College Board, allowing them to possibly receive Advanced Placement credit for their work. The project required our students to select an intriguing debatable question, to examine and vet resources supporting various differing viewpoints on how to address the topic and finally to present a substantiated conclusion proposing their own answer to the issue.
Here are two examples of these efforts. They highlight the high level of scholarship our students can achieve and serve as a preview of additional capstone experiences yet to come.
Carter-Smith-Wellman: Should the Law of the River be amended to better fit the modern-day social, economic and environmental circumstances of the states that rely on the Colorado River for water?
Ashley-Cooper: Should Atlantic Aquaculture Be Permitted in the Gulf of Maine?
We invested in a new Academic Center, housed in the Boyden Library, that uses modern technology and data-driven analysis to identify and support more personalized programs for our students.
- New Academic Resources teach organization, time management, information literacy, and study skills.
- A Writing Specialist, focused on non-fiction writing, supports our students while providing guidance in clear, creative, and critical thinking.
- Academic Center Specialists provide students with early, individualized guidance on their greatest academic challenges and opportunities.
- Diagnostic Tools evaluate student progress throughout their time at Deerfield, ensuring focus on the most important challenges and opportunities.
- A Test Preparation Program supports all Deerfield students’ performance on standardized tests—and reduces pressure on classroom time.
New technology enables easy relationships, but at Deerfield, we continue to focus on meaningful ones. Our campus remains a vibrant community—supportive, inclusive, and involved. To ensure that the unique character of our community endures, we continually invest in spaces that bring Deerfield together as a family.
- A new Dormitory with Faculty Housing ensures that faculty are close to students’ lives and needs and ensures that comfortable common rooms remain an attractive spot for students to gather.
- Upgraded Arts Facilities provide venues for events that bring the campus together: performances, school meetings, and weekend events. Read more about the renovation of the Memorial Building in Deerfield Magazine.
- Community Spaces like the fitness center and Greer Store provide casual spaces for students to gather and share, even as they serve essential functions for health and wellness.
To promote Deerfield’s excellence, and to prepare students for leadership in a collaborative, global community, the Academy significantly increased its financial aid budget, ensuring that we bring worthy students from every corner of the socioeconomic landscape.
- Expanded Financial Aid ensures that Deerfield’s programs benefit from worthy students, regardless of their background, financial need, or hometown.
Deeply Committed Faculty
Mr. Boyden’s model of “teach, coach, and live” still defines Deerfield’s faculty, but within that framework, teachers face more complexity than ever before. New technology, more advanced students, more connected parents, and a more competitive athletic environment means that our teachers are stretched to the limit.
- Additional Teaching Faculty keeps class sizes small, guide new programs, and ensure that Deerfield’s teachers have time to pursue professional growth, new methods, and new technologies.
- Diversity Recruiting and an International Visiting Fellow provide diverse perspectives and ensure that every Deerfield student can find an adult to whom he or she can relate.
The best teaching comes through a relentless pursuit of excellence. We help our teachers identify new opportunities in their lessons—new tools, techniques, and pedagogies—by delivering more data, more feedback, and more opportunities for collaboration. The result is a faculty—teachers, coaches, and mentors—that is collaborative and reflective about its practices and intentional about its professional growth.
- Professional Development Systems set clear expectations for our academic program—aligning departments and classes around key goals.
- Classroom Observation and Feedback programs provide comments and recommendations to teachers on best practices, curricula, and lesson planning.
- A Data Coordinator provides faculty and administration with key metrics on student success.
- A Comprehensive Performance Evaluation System provides faculty with frequent and valuable feedback on their teaching—and their students’ success.
Read more about our collaborative faculty in the Deerfield Magazine.
Cultural knowledge is the key to collaboration and innovation, and with it, our teachers help our students unlock global opportunities. We ensure that Deerfield’s teachers understand the nuances of different cultures and the global marketplace by providing them with first-hand knowledge. When they return to the classroom, faculty are able to better relate in-class lessons to real world opportunities—bringing unique perspectives into the classroom and onto the corridor.
- A study of Global Teaching Methods brings successful teaching practices from other countries back to our American school.
- Expanded Travel/Service Opportunities provide direct experience of different cultures and bring that perspective into the classroom.
- International Study Opportunities enrich faculty knowledge and speed access to pedagogies from around the world.
- A Director of Global Studies connects Deerfield students and faculty with cultural resources and travel opportunities throughout the world.
Read more about faculty travel in the Deerfield Magazine feature “Far Beyond the Western Mountains.”