A “Typical” Day at YIHS
THE MORNING CIRCLE
At the start of each day we meet as a school, share announcements, celebrate birthdays, and sit silently for 10 minutes. We’ve found that the consistent practice of meditation teaches students the importance of contemplation and self-knowing in a busy, distracted world and gives them a wellspring of mental and spiritual energy to draw from throughout their day.
MAIN LESSON BLOCKS
Classes begin with in-depth study in main lessons, which meet every day for two hours and are 3 to 4 weeks long. They are focused toward developing academic and intellectual skills and cover a range of subjects in History, Literature and Composition, and the Sciences. Morning blocks allows for a short, yet deep dive into core subjects.
9th Grade: What is there?
From karst geology to comedy and tragedy, freshmen develop skills of keen observation and precise description, discovering they have the ability to generate knowledge about the world around them.
10th Grade: How does it work?
Sophomores take things apart, explore process, and combine observation with critical thinking to discern the connections that compose the whole. From the history of technology to ancient civilizations, students peel back layers to analyze and understand complex processes at work.
11th Grade: Who am I? What is important?
Juniors question assumptions about the world and themselves. Whether it’s Parzival’s grail quest or the physics of electricity, students go far below the surface to find stable ground, conceptually and within themselves.
12th Grade: What other perspectives are there?
Seniors are ready to synthesize and bring alternative perspectives together. To solve the world’s challenges with creativity and pragmatism, students learn to see the truth from radically different viewpoints and to chart their own path forward.
SKILL-BASED PATH CLASSES
After main lesson, students take skill-based path classes—movement, music, math and foreign language—that extend through the year. These classes help students build up skill and discipline over time.
Languages (Spanish, French, German, Language Independent Study, Foreign Exchange/ESL)
Mathematics (Pre-algebra, algebra 1, Geometry, algebra 2, Pre-calculus, calculus)
Movement (Spatial Dynamics, Sports, Yoga, Dance, Circus)
Music (Rock Band, Guitar, Orchestra, Chorus, Sound Recording, Songwriting, Ethnomusicology)
In the afternoon, students engage in studies of the arts, including manual arts, visual arts and performing arts. These classes are mixed-age, elective and often punctuated by public showings and performances. Art inspires students’ discipline and creativity. Through practicing arts, students not only learn to create and appreciate beauty, but also become more agile and innovative in their thinking.
Visual Arts (2D Design, Photography, Figure Drawing, Block/Screen Printing, Stained Glass, Sculpture, Jewelry, Comics)
Performance Arts (Fall and Spring Plays, Playwriting, Circus Arts)
Manual Arts (Carpentry, Agriculture, Computers/Robotics, Auto Mechanics, Woodcraft, Garment Construction, Set Design)
INTENSIVE BLOCKS and FESTIVALS
We routinely break up our routine with week-long service projects and outdoor expeditions. Also, we celebrate several important festival days throughout the year with unique student-organized day-long workshops. We find that these breaks during the academic year revitalize and recharge our batteries, give us opportunities to develop new skills, and provide us with fun ways to come together as a school community as we work hard and play hard together.
YIHS encourages students to follow their passions. Students in good standing are able to pursue courses of study with the approval of the Independent Study Committee and their Care Group. Students design and evaluate their own class under the tutelage of a mentor.
Students are required to submit and get approval for a proposal to the Independent Study Committee. This committee accepts or rejects proposals and evaluates student work against its own benchmarks, eventually assigning the pass or fail grade to the independent study. This ensures freedom and responsibility for students undertaking independent studies.
The Independent Study process allows YIHS to maintain academic excellence while allowing students to study subjects as varied as Japanese, Survival Skills, Songwriting, Marine Biology, and many more.
During Service Week, students spend their time serving the community, sometimes in the form of work around the school, but more often doing work for other organizations or communities in need.