Small Learning Communities

Small Learning Community Interest Forms

The Center for Social Justice

Rising Sophomore CSJ interest form: Click here

The Center for Social Justice is a three-year English and History interdisciplinary program with a strong emphasis on the impact that social movements have had on the development of history, humanities, literature, and the arts. CSJ is based upon the Small Learning Community (SLC) model where students build close working relationships with staff and fellow students. Students will actively engage in curriculum that focuses on the theme of social justice and use their knowledge to promote issues of social activism within their own community. Students can choose to take their History and English courses on a variety of levels. Instruction includes crucial skills such as critical thinking, writing, and research.

CSJ also attends to study skills and time management. English and History classes are conducted in a two period block on alternating days. In addition, CSJ has a Research, Inquiry and Action Lab that meets one period each day. This lab period is an introduction to understanding issues of social diversity and social justice in the United States. It provides students with a theoretical framework for understanding different forms of oppression and a method to explore how specific forms of oppression affect their own lives. This active participation seminar ends each unit with a Public Display of Learning based on a specific issue of injustice. Students are required to perform 30 hours of community service each year. Students may design their own service projects or take advantage of existing organizations that perform local services.

Students will receive the following credits per year: 5 for English, 5 for History and 5 for Honors Social Justice Research Inquiry and Action Lab. After 3 years in the Center students will fulfill the following requirements for graduation: 21st Century Skills, Financial Literacy. Prospective students should fill out an interest form. 

The Civics and Government Institute

Rising Sophomore CGI interest form: Click here

Founded in 1997, the Civics & Government Institute (CGI) is a small learning community within the walls of Montclair High School, which focuses on the study of citizenship, government, and social issues. Students who choose to join the Institute in their sophomore year participate in student-run government, debates, elective courses, international relations, community service partnerships, US History, and British and American Literature. This constitutes three periods of the students’ day, while they leave the Institute for the remainder of their academic requirements. Throughout their three years in the Institute, students are given many opportunities to develop leadership skills to be used during their years at MHS and in the future.

The CGI academic program is interdisciplinary and thematic, weaving the history and English curriculum together. The sophomore classes engage in the themes of Social Movements & Reform and War & Conflict. In their junior year, the students progress from Economic Theory, Literature, & History, through Politics and Aesthetics. As seniors, CGI students participate in the “We The People” state and national competition through their Government & Politics course, while studying the Humanities and philosophy in English. All history courses are offered at the AP or Honors levels, while sophomores contract for  Honors and Academics in English, and AP Language and Composition and Literature and Composition or Honors English in their junior and senior years, respectively Within academics, Public Demonstrations of Learning are an integral part of CGI. Each year students create varied presentations based upon the theme they are studying. Sophomores participate in the Social Reform Panels and the War Room Museums. The Found Poetry Cafe concludes the junior year, while “We the People” presentations and an extensive AP thesis paper conclude the senior year. All students participate in, and all parents and friends are welcome to view these exciting alternative learning experiences and assessments. 

In the second period elective component of CGI, known as Government Studies, students participate in a variety of activities. Utilizing the theory of the democratic classroom, students engage in a student-run Congress which operates under a student-written Constitution.  In Congress students practice debating skills on a variety of local, national, and international issues, becoming familiar with parliamentary procedure. Students also participate in a Civics classroom throughout the year. In Civics, students are required to create and engage in meaningful service learning projects that begin with brainstorming issues, researching the chosen topic, and planning and executing an action plan. In addition, students choose from a variety of academic mini-courses, called Electives, in both the English and Social Studies content areas. The Civics and Government Institute provides an educational environment through which students can develop an understanding of their roles as functioning members of the community, state, nation, and the world.

The Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Small Learning Community 

Rising Sophomore STEM interest form: Click here 

The STEM Academy is a collaborative, project-based, hands-on learning environment that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to produce students that are innovative and creative leaders of a technologically advanced global-minded society. The STEM Academy’s mission is accomplished through the use of community partnerships, real-world activities and an extensive guest speaker series oriented toward developing pride and passion for STEM. The STEM academy’s instructional focus is to utilize project and inquiry-based learning to build specific 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, and innovation.

Students that choose to be members of the STEM Academy have the opportunity to participate in the STEM Project Based Learning (PBL) elective. This STEM PBL elective will provide a venue for students and teachers to work on projects that are tangible displays of Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical concepts as well as to develop specific skills. During the PBL period, students will work on small and large scale projects during each semester to be presented during their class and at public displays of learning or exhibitions. In addition, students will have the opportunity to develop a myriad of skills that include applied engineering & design, graphing and data interpretation, communication & public speaking, and research & document preparation.

Throughout all four years, students will have the opportunity to carry out scientific investigations and design projects related to the interdisciplinary core ideas of STEM. By the end of grade 12, students will have gained significant knowledge of the practices, cross-curricular concepts, and core ideas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students will also be able to engage in public discussions on STEM related issues, to be critical consumers of scientific information related to their everyday lives and to continue to learn about STEM throughout their lives. Students in the STEM Academy should come to appreciate that Science and the current scientific understanding of the world are the result of many hundreds of years of creative human endeavors.

STEM also provides students with real-life experiences within the STEM disciplines through community partnerships with organizations such as Montclair State University, the Weston Science Scholars Program, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey Institute of Technology, FIRST Robotics, the Picatinny Arsenal, Math League, and Science Olympiad. Public Demonstrations of Learning will be an integral part of STEM. Each year students will participate in a variety of PDLs and will be encouraged to compete in various district and state Science and Math competitions. All students participate in, and all parents and friends are welcome to, view these exciting alternative learning experiences and assessments. In the future, senior internships will be formed with local universities and community partners who are involved with the STEM Academy.
Throughout their years in STEM, students are given many opportunities to develop leadership and team building skills. The STEM Academy is interdisciplinary and covers the Next Gen Science Standards with an integration and practical application of these standards.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.