Our Learning Program
Our faculty inspire students to develop their voices, embrace new challenges and discover their passions.
In each of our divisions, Lower School (K-5), Middle School (6-8) and Upper School (9-12), Bullis offers an innovative course of study which instills our core academic values of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication and resourcefulness.
Using a modern interdisciplinary approach, students learn traditional subjects while building developmentally appropriate skills. Throughout their experience at Bullis, students also delve into the key themes of our four signature program areas in coursework and experiential learning outside the classroom: Entrepreneurship, Humanities & Global Studies, STEM and Visual & Performing Arts.
Learning in the Lower School
Students in Lower School learn essential life-long skills in a joyous environment. Faculty delve into topics of study within an environment that cherishes a child’s need to explore and play. Small class sizes provide plenty of time for personalized attention that ensures every student is both challenged and supported.
Teachers incorporate hands-on projects, frequent experiential learning outside the classroom and the appropriate use of technology to create a dynamic and fun growth opportunity for our youngest learners. Lower School students develop habits of learning in foundational subjects such as mathematics, reading, and writing to ensure a smooth transition into Middle School.
Learning in the Middle School
Middle School students develop leadership, citizenship and organizational skills in a safe environment which fosters risk-taking, growth and independence. Small class sizes allow our faculty to inspire and cultivate our students’ desire to learn, question, explore and accept responsibility.
Faculty provide opportunities for students to master fundamental skills needed for a rigorous Upper School experience and explore project-based learning, experiential learning outside the classroom and develop social-emotional and metacognitive skills. Specialized seminars and differentiated instruction personalize the learning for all students.
Learning in the Upper School
Students in the Upper School acquire the skills and knowledge to be successful at the college level and become independent lifelong learners who seek a balanced, fulfilling and meaningful life. Bullis faculty draw on a wide variety of teaching practices and learning opportunities to cultivate respect, understanding and compassion for others.
We honor the unique needs and contributions of each student through a continuing process of challenge and self-reflection. A wide array of class offerings and the opportunity to delve deeply into one of our Signature Program Capstone experiences allows for personalization of instruction and independent learning.
Bullis School, in its vision to prepare its students with radically different learning and living skills necessary for the 21st century, has implemented a blended learning initiative. Blended learning, which combines the delivery of curriculum in an online environment with other modes of instructional delivery, is a proven successful medium for teaching and learning and, at the upper school level, is the fastest-growing segment in the educational arena.1 The blended approach with accessibility and flexibility of structured online curriculum combined with the “human touch” of interaction with the teacher in a face-to-face setting is an ideal paradigm for teaching and learning.
Bullis offers blended learning modules and/or courses in the Middle School and the Upper School. The modules and/or courses have been developed by the teaching staff and are housed in and taught through its web-based learning management platform called Haiku Learning Systems. The complete module and/or course descriptions are included in the listings for each division.
In the Upper School, the faculty authors of the courses have developed high-quality online courses that will be taught in a blended online structure. Typically, each class will meet with the teacher (face-to-face) in the traditional classroom setting two to three days per week. For the remaining two to three days per week, students will manage their use of time in virtual sessions; after signing in with a proctor they can do online work for their class, work on other course work, or even do off-campus work. While the workload for each blended online course is in alignment with the typical schedule rotation of the traditional class, the online work settings during the schedule rotation will provide flexibility for students to manage their time.
Class participation in the online component will require interactivity through asynchronous discussions, collaborative work using technology-rich resources, and possibly scheduled synchronous sessions via web conferencing, all with regularly scheduled due dates and deadlines. All Bullis teachers developing and teaching blended online courses have prepared their courses with formal teacher professional development in this new teaching/learning delivery style. The courses are fully developed with clearly defined goals, objectives, activities, and student outcomes that meet core academic standards.
The Middle School is using a module approach to incorporating blending learning in the classroom. This approach will complement the traditional face-to-face instruction students receive on a daily basis. A typical module will last up to two weeks and will be accessed through the Haiku Learning System. They are designed by Middle School faculty and encourage differentiated instruction by allowing students to work at their own pace. Modules are crafted to introduce students to a specific unit of study within a broader topic. For example, a social studies teacher may develop a political convention module to support a unit on democracy. Consistent with the Upper School model, they are developed to meet the Bullis core academic standards.
1from The Rise of K-12 Blending Learning, by Innosight Institute, Inc. 2011
The winter and spring months of the year bring school closings and make-up days that over the years have proven disruptive to the school calendar and to the instructional programs for students. Unscheduled closings compromise the quality of the learning process that Bullis carefully and deliberately plans and prepares for its students. Unforeseen make-up days impact school-sponsored and personal activities, including planned vacations, faculty professional development programs and other Bullis events.
To eliminate the need to extend the school year into the summer or cancel holidays currently scheduled during the spring, Bullis School will implement online snow days on the third school closing due to inclement weather (not including delayed openings).
The program is intended to provide meaningful learning experiences for Bullis students. Parents and students are encouraged to integrate the following strategies into their online school day academic time:
- Establish a quiet learning space and remove distractions to learning.
- Create a routine for doing school work. Start early in the day.
- Review the online work that needs to be completed. LS/MS parents should review the online work with their child, be present while the student is working and check their child’s completed work. US students should set goals for completing their work.
- Use online tools to communicate with the teacher during the day. Many teachers will announce “office hours” when they will be available to communicate with students.