Our curriculum stresses self-determination, key experiences, executive functioning, and academic self-discipline. Students pursue core classes in math, language arts, science, and social studies in the morning, while afternoons are used for building executive function and study skills and a rotating slate of occupations classes. These classes provide real-world experience and practical work in areas such as cooking, sales, farming and forestry. On Wednesdays students engage in seminar discussions on readings in current events and academic topics, meet and plan as a community, and give back through Creativity, Activity and Service experiences.
Students continue to build knowledge and skills through core classes in preparation for the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Spanish language study and fine arts electives also help students study subject areas for the IB program. Students have the option to pursue the IB diploma during their junior and senior years. They use Creativity, Activity and Service time to teach younger students, pursue internships or volunteer in the community.
International Baccalaureate at GRS
The International Baccalaureate Program is well-known around the world for providing a rigorous, globally focused curriculum for college-bound students. At Great River, our focus on meaningful and challenging work means that every student attends classes organized around this curriculum. We are unusual among IB schools because here completing the curriculum is not an honors program but an expectation and goal for every student. We take a collaborative, supportive approach to helping every student reach graduation through this rewarding and rigorous work.
While every student will take IB classes in 11th and 12th grade, some students also choose to pursue the IB diploma. This adds the extra challenge of more coursework and an extended essay as well as exams in chosen subjects. In 2015-16 35% of GRS seniors pursued the IB diploma with 75% of those succeeding in earning it. Many other students opted to take IB exams in at least one subject.