LOVE. GRIT. ACTION. With students, families, teachers, and administration, we lead with Love, Grit, and Action. These three principles are both goals and standards by which our school culture is defined in every way. Our students are known and have a voice; our teaching practice is rooted in love for our students and our community; we help each other get “unstuck;” we serve our community through project-based learning.
REALM Middle School is a learning community founded on the principles of Love, Grit, and Action. REALM Charter School serves students grades 6-12 with a focus on college preparedness, project-based learning, and social justice. REALM middle and high school programs support and challenge the whole child through rigorous curriculum, a personalized advisory program, and creative enrichment opportunities. We prepare students to succeed in college and beyond by connecting the classroom to their community, core content to creativity, and their own voice to contemporary citizenship.
REALM Charter School students are graduating on to UC Berkeley, UCLA, Boston University, and Stanford University just to name a few. Since our inception in 2011, REALM students have designed and built houses for the homeless and a greenhouse for a local community center. They have dissected a cow’s heart and performed at a jazz music competition in Santa Cruz. They have built a robot and performed in plays and learned how to run a small business out of their economics class.
What Sets REALM Apart? Project-based Learning!
Project-based learning (PBL) is one of REALM Middle School’s main strategies to increase our students’ academic achievements. Project-based learning is backed by comprehensive evidence that demonstrates deeper student understanding and retention. Research shows that, in PBL, learners actively use what they know to explore, negotiate, interpret, and create. Our students work together on projects in every class – developing deeper understandings of concepts through cooperation and teamwork.
How? Through PBL, students develop a better capability to integrate and explain concepts, which prepares students for future learning. Project-based learning has been shown to engage students, cut absenteeism, boost cooperative learning skills, improve standardized test scores, and increase academic achievement. Those benefits are enhanced when technology is used in a meaningful way in the projects, such as in our robotics, video game design, computer programming, and design/build after-school opportunities. There is also ample evidence that PBL is an effective method for teaching students complex processes such as planning, communicating, problem solving, and decision making.
Ultimately, PBL has been shown to improve students’ mastery of 21st century skills.
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Charter schools are public, tuition-free schools that are open to all students. Often operated independently from the traditional school district, charter schools provide high-quality instruction from teachers who have the autonomy to design a classroom that fits their students’ needs. They are led by dynamic principals who have the flexibility to create a school culture that fosters student performance and parent satisfaction.