Centers of Excellence

Critical thinking, writing, analytical thought and argument formation have long been central facets of a premium independent school education. In essence, in addition to exposing students to a wide range of ideas, viewpoints and content, a large part of what independent schools traditionally sought to achieve, was to teach students how to think and communicate effectively.
These fundamental skills are not only critical, but are also timeless in their functional value. That said, the ever changing and highly competitive landscape of the 21st century requires far more of our students than ever before.

With this new reality in mind, The Independent Day School developed The Centers of Excellence program; Design Thinking, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, Global Citizenship and Cultural Studies, Environmental Literacy, and the Creative Arts. Each individual center represents an important part of a broader strategy designed to ensure that our graduates have the skills necessary to both effectively compete and joyfully succeed in a world rich with both challenge and opportunity.
As educators of young people, we cannot know everything about the future in which our students will be living, learning, and leading. Yet, we joyfully accept our responsibility to prepare them to lead fulfilling lives in a world that will require them to be intellectually ready and distinctively skilled to address challenges, solve problems, and invent new approaches.
    • Human Body

      Human Body

Driving force behind the Centers of Excellence

  • Research on 21st century skills
  • Strategic plan for the future of The Independent Day School
  • Commitment to innovative, relevant curriculum
  • Unifying structure for curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities across grade levels
  • Value of hands-on, experiential learning
The Partnership for 21st Century Learning cites global awareness, environmental literacy, creativity and innovation, problem solving and critical thinking, and the use of innovative digital tools as essential skills for the new generation of learners who will lead our world in the 21st century.

At IDS, we are committed to offering our students a full array of opportunities to become well-prepared and highly educated for the future. In 2016, we created the IDS Centers of Excellence to shape our classroom and co-curricular activities to provide young people with engaging, relevant learning experiences that build their 21st century skills. An effort of our Strategic Planning Committee for Curriculum and Professional Development, the four Centers of Excellence – Environmental Literacy, Global Citizenship and Cultural Studies, Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship, and Creative Arts ­­­– were formulated based on IDS’ strengths and unique resources to support curriculum connections across all grade levels. The Centers of Excellence provide vehicles for collaborative faculty work focused on curriculum alignment and innovation and excellence in teaching and learning.

Beginning in 2017, we established a yearlong effort to make the most of our resources by bringing the work of our entire learning community to one of the Centers. We began by celebrating 2017-18 as the Year of Environmental Literacy, followed by the Year of Global Citizenship and Cultural Studies in 2018-19.

Centers of Excellence

List of 4 items.

  • Center for Environmental Literacy

    Stewardship of planet Earth’s resources is one of the most important issues of our time. Children who learn to appreciate the natural world, develop analytical skills to inquire about environmental issues, and build awareness of society’s impact on the environment will become the environmental scientists, entrepreneurs, and activists of the 21st century. IDS Environmental Literacy programs offer students 33 natural acres to explore, study, appreciate, and care for the environment while learning about local environmental concerns and natural resources.
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  • Student Trip to Ecuador Founders Day

    Center for Global Citizenship

    Young people who recognize that they can be active participants in a global world learn to work collaboratively with individuals from diverse cultures, with diverse viewpoints, and varied life experiences in a spirit of cooperation and appreciation. As students develop self-awareness they also develop an awareness of others in ways that provide opportunities for empathy, compassion, and respect for differences. IDS Global Citizenship and Cultural Studies programs give learners opportunities to develop knowledge and skills to be effective intercultural citizens and to explore languages and cultures to develop an appreciation for our big, beautiful world.
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  • Center for Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship

    Young people who have opportunities to create worthwhile ideas, make decisions, and work with others to build viable solutions to real problems develop the collaboration, communication, and inventiveness that are recognized as essential skills for success in tomorrow’s complex world.
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  • Center for Creative Arts

    Children who have the opportunity to actively explore the creative arts in all its forms – music, theater, design, and visual arts – not only develop a deep appreciation for the artistic process but also build confidence and skill in producing and displaying their own creative pieces. IDS Creative Arts programs provide children with challenging opportunities to express themselves in an encouraging, celebratory learning environment. Learning to explore and present one’s own ideas in visual art, music, movement, speech, and theater helps all students reach the ultimate goals of the creative arts - self-awareness, self-expression, and self-confidence.
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