Meaningful and Relevant

We believe that high school students should do work that really matters – both to the students themselves and to the world.

It is in wrestling with important questions that our students come to take themselves seriously as thinkers and problem solvers. Engagement with critical problems ultimately leads to meaningful reflection and self-knowledge, as students discover not just what inspires them, but how they can connect their passions to the work they do in high school and for the rest of their lives.

Meaningful, relevant work happens every day at The New School – in the classroom, as part of community-based projects, and in dozens of other ways.

It’s Spanish students getting to know a group of rural Guatemalan teenagers over Skype, to sharpen their language skills while broadening their perspectives on fair trade as they explore what it really means to be an informed consumer.

It’s students sampling and testing groundwater sources in the neighborhood on a regular basis, and reporting to the Department of Natural Resources about potentially troubling changes in water quality.

It’s students taking the knowledge and skills they’ve gained in the TNS Coding Bootcamp, and putting it to use in a Hackathon, where they worked with professional programmers, designers, and translators to create web-based tools to help ease the transition into the United States for local refugee communities.

We love it when we hear “Why do I have to learn this?” It’s a question every student has asked themselves at some point in their education. At The New School, more often than not, our answer is, “Because it matters. Because it’s important. Let me show you how.”

Meaningful, relevant work happens every day at The New School – in the classroom, as part of community-based projects, and in dozens of other ways.

Community Engaged Learning

We believe that the classroom should extend beyond the four walls of the school and encompass the entire community.

Atlanta is a vital city in constant flux, one that is increasingly a launching pad for the ideas of the future. We’re committed to using the city as our classroom, leveraging the physical environment, the creative class, and the resources of the community to enrich our students’ learning and to give them a sense of how they can be change-makers in their city and their world.

When we engage the community across all aspects of high school, we radically reinvent the role at the center of learning: that of the teacher.

Most people look back at the times of profound learning in their lives and realize that those moments didn’t often happen with a classroom teacher. In addition to their incredible classroom teachers, TNS students will learn from 50-70 other adults every year as part of their experience at The New School: artists, entrepreneurs, and community activists who visit the school each week as part of our Speaker Series; professors and grad students at Emory, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State; business leaders and computer programmers; world famous actors and environmental visionaries. These are the experiences that stick with young people, that inspire them, that make them eager to launch themselves out into the world.

When we engage the community across all aspects of high school, we radically reinvent the role at the center of learning: that of the teacher.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Learning to empathize, seeing problems as opportunities, mastering the test, reflect, and revise innovation process, and developing grit will enable our students to excel in whatever path they chose in life.

Learn more

We teach and instill these critical habits of mind, known as the entrepreneurial mindset, through project and collaborative real-world work, the entrepreneurship program, internships and mentorship programs.

In 9th and 10th grade, our students practice prototyping, testing and reflecting, and investigating the world through independent research and innovation projects. By doing work that is used in the real world by companies and nonprofits, or exhibited in public forums and pitch events to experts and community members, our students learn to stick with it to the end and develop grit.

The project series introduces students to the skills they’ll hone in their Junior year as part of our year-long Entrepreneurship Program, a curriculum created by TNS faculty (who have designed similar programs for Village Capital and Social Impact House), in conjunction with TNS community partners like the Center for Civic Innovation.

In their Senior year, TNS students work in curated internships with local mentor-professionals, bringing their Entrepreneurial Mindset to the real world, deepening their professional networks, and logging invaluable workplace and innovation experience.

By doing work that is used in the real world by companies and nonprofits, or exhibited in public forums and pitch events to experts and community members, our students learn to stick with it to the end and develop grit. 

Rigorous, Demanding, and College Preparatory

At TNS, we teach a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that rivals that of the finest schools in the country.

More than that, the intense project-oriented learning that our students undertake requires them to develop the skills and habits of mind that are essential to success in higher education and the ever-changing workplace of the future.

Let’s start with Math. Math is a sticking point for many students, and lack of help in the classroom is often cited as a core reason. At TNS, we believe in teaching math in small group workshops, where time for 1-on-1 help is a priority. That’s why half of the school is ready to take AP Calculus by 11th grade, and other students no longer fear math or suffer from a lack of confidence.

Same with English. We push all of our students to take AP English Language in 11th grade and AP English Literature in 12th. They’re very hard. They’re also awesome courses, where students will hone that most valuable of skills – writing.

Here’s the thing about a demanding academic curriculum – it should also be fun! Our teachers have very high expectations of our students (expectations that they routinely exceed, by the way). But they also love to teach young people, and are passionate about their subjects. That’s a combination that ends up with high school students catching the bug, and pushing themselves to places we haven’t even imagined.

Here’s the thing about a demanding academic curriculum – it should also be fun! Our teachers have very high expectations of our students (expectations that they routinely exceed, by the way).