Effective schools—where students are prepared for the next step of their educational journey and where the school as a whole makes a positive impact on the community—are all about discourse. What gets talked about, and how that discourse is conducted, says everything about a school community.
At Prep, the discourse is lively, ambitious, varied, and engaging. Life at Prep, as student, teacher, or parent, is very full: we ask a lot of each other and must dig deep within ourselves. Our students are also athletes, artists, musicians, community volunteers, and leaders. Our teachers are also mentors, coaches, and guides. Our parents pitch in, cheer on, and support the enterprise of this school. For forty-seven years, from humble beginnings on Upper Canyon Road to the gracious campus we now steward on Camino Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe Prep has prepared students for college and a world that requires thoughtful, compassionate adults.
Walk into virtually any classroom at Prep and you will see students around tables—exploring themes of a novel, debating the merits of a perspective in history, dissecting an organism, or collaborating to conjugate verbs in Spanish or French. We are committed to discussion-based learning (DBL) because it puts students at the center of intellectual inquiry, with the teacher as prompt, instigator, modeler, guide. DBL requires students to work together to identify meaning, to weigh the merits of alternative perspectives, to take responsibility for their own learning.
Classrooms are lively; students’ views are valued. When our students move on to college, they find themselves well-prepared with the classical tools of higher education: scientific inquiry, sound knowledge bases, facility with foreign language, strong writing and critical thinking skills. As importantly, they have developed their “voice” at Prep and enter college classrooms ready to engage and sensitive to their role in a group of students.