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Why K-12?

San Domenico leads the way in Independent School, K - 12, educationSan Domenico Makers Space: The 3D LABA cohesive K-12 education supports and enhances student learning with a purposefully integrated scope and sequence of curriculum

San Domenico leads the way in Independent School, K - 12 education

Every day at SD, exceptional academics and our core values of study, reflection, service, and community cultivate lives grounded in a sense of purpose. We dedicate ourselves to discovering and celebrating meaning, purpose, and joy as part of every endeavor. And when our children uncover their purpose, they recognize that the most powerful motivation possible can come from within.

In a K-12 educational experience, teachers and administrators become the extended family, the proverbial village integral to raising healthy, happy, well-adjusted children.

Academic and Social-Emotional Benefits

A comprehensive K-12 education provides students academic and social-emotional continuity and stability that is unparalleled in most school settings. Young people who experience a cohesive curriculum that builds upon itself year-over-year, are better able to integrate and retain what they have learned, while not being disrupted by school setting changes which are often accompanied by significant stress, achievement loss, and curricular content gaps. As a result, students feel safe taking academic risks and are able to immerse themselves in classroom and community activities with confidence and pride.

As students progress through the grades, their increasing sense of belonging empowers them to find their voice, strengthen their commitment to the community, and deepen their level of trust with their teachers, mentors, and peers. Under these ideal conditions, students are motivated to achieve at their highest potential.

At San Domenico, we are proud of the pro-social culture that our K-12 environment fosters over the course of thirteen years. Our older students recognize that they are role models for younger children, and our younger students look up to their outstanding student mentors. While each school level has its own developmentally appropriate physical spaces, we intentionally create opportunities for multi-age interaction and learning. Kindergarteners may find themselves partnering with AP Chemistry students for a science lab, while Lower School students may participate in a dance class led by 9th graders. In addition, our international boarding program creates unique opportunities for cross-cultural exchange among grade levels. For example, Lunar New Year is not something that our youngest students just learn about in class, but rather they experience it firsthand as our high school students from China lead them in a parade and festivities to celebrate this 4,000-year-old tradition. With opportunities such as these, SD students learn to appreciate many cultures, as well as benefit from learning alongside students of all ages. These experiences are critical in cultivating global citizens and the leaders of tomorrow.

Social Emotional Benefits

As many a visiting parent has remarked, “You seem to have such a pro-social culture here.” It’s true and our K-12 community is just one of the reasons why. At SD, older students know they are role models for younger children, and our younger students have terrific older students to look up to. While school levels have their own, developmentally appropriate space, we thoughtfully and intentionally create opportunities for multi-age interaction and learning. Kindergarteners may find themselves partnering with AP Chemistry students for a science fair; Lower School students may find themselves in a dance class led by 9th graders. In addition, our international boarding program creates unique opportunities for cross-cultural exchange among the grade levels. So for example, Lunar New Year is not just something that our youngest students hear about. Our students from China lead a parade and festivities in celebration of this 4,000 year old tradition. With opportunities such as these, SD students develop the first-hand understanding of multi-generational and multicultural understanding so critical to thriving in the future of our world.

Our core beliefs are key to our approach:

Academic excellence requires not just knowledge, but also meaning.

A San Domenico education doesn’t stop at simple acquisition of facts and figures. In pursuit of excellence and in support of academic curiosity, we encourage students to consider how diverse academic subjects offer distinct perspectives on our interconnectedness with all living beings. As a result, we can guide our students in imagining and building a better world.

We seek to redefine achievement.

Academic excellence is at the heart of a San Domenico education. But when schools become focused solely on grades and test scores, students lose their passion for learning, seeing each task as only a means to an end. At San Domenico, our academic curriculum emphasizes effort, resilience, persistence, and continuous growth, so that we can better inspire and equip students for excellence both in school and life.

Self-awareness must be cultivated.

Our culture celebrates the busy—at the expense of depth and purpose. Both children and teachers can develop confidence and a sense of purpose by engaging more deeply in each experience to uncover their talents and passions. At San Domenico, we encourage each other to test out new experiences and new ways of thinking, always taking the time to reflect on and share what we’ve learned and how we’ve grown. As a result, each of us can own our education—and our life—more completely.

Inquisitive minds rightfully struggle with spiritual absolutes.

By fully exploring the enduring values and beliefs of the great religious traditions, San Domenico students can embrace the truths they discover for themselves. In the spirit of inquiry—the hallmark of our Dominican founders—our community supports each member in this ongoing search for personal truth.

Young people need to know that change is possible.

Problems both big and small can overwhelm those who don’t feel they have the tools to create change. Our children need inspiring role models who demonstrate proactive engagement and who demonstrate resilience in attacking problems and making a positive impact. At San Domenico, we help our children build the confidence to tackle any issue in their lives, in their communities, or around the world.

Service should be more than a buzzword.

At San Domenico, we believe in service learning, where students examine the context, policies, and cultures that have created a world where so many of us are in need. We work in partnership with those we serve to identify issues and create change. We ask ourselves what talents or gifts we can bring that can be of benefit. We pursue not just charity, but social justice as well.

When we work in isolation, we never achieve our true potential.

When we become too self reliant, we miss an opportunity to bring diverse perspectives and experiences to our lives. At San Domenico, we believe that coming together in community to reflect on and share our learning uncovers hidden connections and aids in our growth. From teachers meeting to improve student success to our youngest students gathering each morning to share their hopes for the school day, we understand that opening ourselves to others is a skill to be constantly practiced and refined.

Teachers should be students, too.

If we simply repeat our curriculum, lesson plans, and programs each year, we shortchange our own growth in addition to that of our students. At San Domenico, we do not rest on the laurels of past achievements or ever consider our work “done.” Our entire community engages in a culture of continuous exploration and lifelong learning that models the same spirit of inquiry we encourage for our children. We continuously seek to incorporate proven and emerging approaches to education and child development. Our guiding question: How can we make this even better?