Academics at William Smith
Students are engaged in multi-grade level, cross-content projects, choosing to spend their day engaged in one project at a time, or working on several projects at once. In these projects, students work on and learn content as well as gain important academic and 21st Century skills, such as collaboration, creativity, problem solving, and innovation. A few of these projects include:
- The Shakespeare Experience: Act out, get dramatic, and spend some time with the most amazing writer in the history of English! In this project, we’ll read not one but two powerful tragedies by William Shakespeare: Othello and Hamlet. Students will become confident readers of Elizabethan English, learn to analyze Shakespeare’s language, and perform – from memory! – key scenes from the plays.
- Cancer Research Study: Our school has received grant funding from the University of Colorado Denver to conduct field research on skin cancer awareness. As researchers, you will be making short video clips targeting middle school students and measuring their effectiveness on student outcomes.
- Pick a Card, Any Card: Have you ever wanted to know your chance in winning the lotto? Or if you are going to win in Blackjack? Or how does that magician know what card you have in your hand? Lets learn about the probability that you will get the card you need. Lets learn how you will avoid hearing “Go Fish” again.
Students to Teachers
Project Based Curriculum
Community at William Smith
In addition to a rigorous academic focus, William Smith also focuses on building a safe and welcoming community. We build this community in several ways:
- Habits of Excellence: Students focus on four Habits of Excellence while attending William Smith: Engagement in Thinking and Learning, Responsibility, Time Management, and Self and Community Awareness. These ideas are woven through each academic project and are also addressed in our daily advisory structure, Crew.
- Crew: In Crew, students stay with the same group of students and teacher until graduation, focusing on emotional, personal, and character growth. In addition to reflecting on and making goals around the Habits of Excellence, each student also makes a personal growth plan. These plans can focus around academic growth, community service, healthy lifestyle, or other topics the student chooses. As a crew, students hold each other accountable for these plans and help each other reflect and revise.
- Adventure and Fieldwork: Each student at William Smith spends a significant amount of time outside the walls of the school to learn, bond, and interact with our environment and our community. Whether rock climbing, white water rafting or meeting with park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park for the Ecology and Animal Sculpture project, students spend meaningful time together outside the building.
Innovation at William Smith
The staff at William Smith is inspired to create a school environment that is forward-thinking in its evolution. Through a shared-decision making leadership structure, teachers and staff are encouraged to consider and implement enlightened and inspired curriculum. The efforts of the staff leads to innovative thinking and production in the classroom; students embrace the work of the projects and the opportunity to collaborate with others. The goal is to create an atmosphere of open thinking, creativity, and reflection to build a school in which faculty and students love to be.
How to Apply
William Smith is an open enrollment high school serving grades 9-12. Students are admitted through a random lottery process. Students interested in attending William Smith can obtain an application through our website, williamsmithhs.org, through the main office, or the counselor’s office at any Aurora Public Schools middle school. All students must apply to be entered in the lottery. The deadline for applications is March 1. 2018.
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