Inspired by research and best practices


Last week was an exciting one: We debuted a whole host of new content on our website including detailed information about the academic program at The Downtown School! If you haven’t seen it already, you can find it on our academic overview webpage. There is also grade-specific information, for grades 9, 10, 11, and 12.

In developing The Downtown School’s schedule and curriculum, I worked with a team of Lakeside faculty. From decisions about the start time to number of classes in the day, and the nature of assessments to using the city as a lab, we looked to current research in adolescent development and best practices in education. One of our inspirations is Challenge Success, a nonprofit associated with Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Challenge Success partners with schools and families to provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future.  

Dr. Denise Pope, cofounder of Challenge Success, recently ran a professional development workshop with faculty and staff at Lakeside School. It was truly affirming to see just how many aspects of The Downtown School are in alignment with her work.

A framework that Challenge Success uses for supporting healthy school design is the acronym SPACE

S = Students Schedule and Use of Time

P = Project and Problem Based Learning

A = Alternative and Authentic Assessment

C = Climate of Care

E = Education (students/faculty/staff/parents/guardians)

Over the course of the new few months, I’ll share more in-depth information how The Downtown School incorporates each of these into our academic program.   I hope that you continue to follow the journey!

If you interested in learning more about Challenge Success and the SPACE framework, check out their website.