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Notes for Prospective Students

What you do here at CSW matters.
To you, to us, to the world. You matter.
You’re an essential part of a close-knit community that supports each member in taking creative and academic risks—which means you’ll do your best work here.
You’ll benefit from meaningful relationships with inspiring peers and mentors from across the globe as you engage in deep, experiential learning.
Together, we’ll ask big questions and craft imaginative solutions to tangible problems. We’ll think critically, question sources, and seek multiple perspectives.
Every member of our kind and inclusive community helps shape the CSW experience—whether by speaking up during classes and discussion assemblies, starting new clubs, or by serving on the Curriculum Committee, Judicial Board, or Board of Trustees.
So you quickly get the sense that your voice counts.
That what we’re doing here together is important work.
This is not about busywork, scantron bubbles, and going through the motions of what’s expected of you.
Your time at CSW will connect you to teachers and peers who know you well and will engage with you in a joyful process of active learning and growth.
As a result, you’ll discover who you are and how you can contribute: to your school, the community, and the world.
You’ll leave here with a deeper sense of self, a healthy disregard for the “impossible,” and the resourcefulness and skills to build a meaningful life and a better world.CSW's longstanding dedication to—and leadership in—progressive education is what sets us apart from other independent schools.
In fact, CSW has partnered with three other progressive schools to form The Progressive Education Lab, an organization committed to furthering progressive education by training new teachers to become powerful educators and change agents.  The following elements of a progressive education at CSW constitute our key points of distinction.
  • The Module System: The Module System has been a cornerstone of our academic approach since 1973.
During any given module, students focus intensively on just three academic subjects a day. The longer class periods allow teachers to use a variety of teaching techniques to engage all learners.
Taking fewer classes at one time—yet more courses over the course of a year—allows students to build a solid foundation of applicable skills from a true liberal arts core, and to dive deeply into the artistic and academic subjects covered in our more than 300 course offerings.
  • Creative Thinking: At CSW, creative thinking isn't confined to the Art Department.
  • Students are challenged to explore new ways of thinking and fresh approaches to problem-solving in our process-oriented approach to learning.
    Our faculty members are practicing writers, artists, mathematicians and researchers who bring their own passions to the classroom, building an innovative curriculum that is responsive to emerging and interdisciplinary topics.
    Students learn to explore the intersections of these disparate subjects and to find imaginative solutions to tangible problems.Experiential Learning: Active, participatory learning is central to the student experience.
    Classes connect students with course content in a personally meaningful way through livelydebate, hands-on experiences, laboratories, studios, service-based learning, collaborative projects and off-campus research.
    Students are asked to reflect, revise, and wrestle with complexity.
    In this way, learning is an active and immersive process of discovery that leads students to develop and refine academic skills and passionate interests.Meaningful Relationships: CSW's community cultivates meaningful relationships characterized by respect, compassion, and open and honest communication.
    Everybody is on a first-name basis. Faculty and staff are approachable and committed to supporting and witnessing student growth in and out of the classroom.
    Students form close relationships with advisors, who are available to meet with them daily.
    As a community, we are invested in getting to know each other as individuals, soliciting and listening to each other’s opinions and celebrating each other’s accomplishments.
    We take care of each other, and the powerful relationships established here last well beyond graduation.
  • A Mindful Community: A CSW education inspires a heightened awareness of issues that transcend the individual, such as social justice and global connectedness. In fact, we are proud to be the first high school in the country to institute a Social Justice Graduation Requirement! Students discover how to make substantive contributions to their school, their community and the world through school and community service, off-campus study, social activism, and on-campus workshops and events.
  • Through involvement in Town Meetings, the Board of Trustees and various committees, students also play an essential role in school decision-making.
    As such, they become socially responsible citizens who honor the values of participation, inclusion, compassion and sustainability.Passionate, Powerful Students: Students take an active role in shaping their classroom environments, their academic schedules, and school policies.
    They learn that questioning the questions and forming a distinct point of view are both expected and valued.
    And they appreciate that CSW is a place to explore their passions and to take risks.
    As a result, students develop a strong sense of independence and self as they discover more about their character, passions, goals and ability to contribute to their communities.
  • Our unique Module System fosters deep learning and innovative teaching in all disciplines.
  • Classes are an hour and a-half long, and students concentrate intensely on three subjects at a time.
    Our curriculum is diverse and interdisciplinary, combining demanding academics with extensive offerings in the visual and performing arts.
  • Students are encouraged to explore new educational experiences and areas of study, and to be proactive in planning their academic schedules.
  • We offer 300 courses.
    No two student schedules are alike.
    Each student works with an advisor and the Academic Office to create a unique academic schedule that balances personal interests with college expectations and the school's requirements for graduation.
    Ultimately, each student schedule aims to provide balance, rigor, and stimulation throughout the year.
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