Trillium provides for families who want greater educational choice and involvement in their children’s education. Our target population includes students wanting a community atmosphere in which to pursue learning. We reach out in our community to build economic, ethnic, cultural, and educational diversity in our student base. We leverage the rich human talent in the Portland area through service learning, job shadowing, public outreach, and active solicitation of community volunteers.
Philosophy of Teaching and Learning
Trillium Charter School’s philosophy is founded on the belief that schools and families can provide effective ways of supporting the student throughout their years in the public school system. Our school treats students as actively involved learners who are building a personal knowledge of the world around them through action, experience, and reflection. The educational philosophies used are centered on contextual teaching and learning and constructivism. Contextual teaching and learning utilizes problem-based learning, collaborative/cooperative learning, project-based learning, service learning, and work-based learning.
The constructivist learning model treats students as active participants rather than passive recipients of information. The constructivist message suggests that students who are engaged in active learning are making their own meaning and constructing their own knowledge in the process. Students make meaning of their learning experiences through interactions with teachers, parents, the community, and each other.
We believe that learning:
- Requires the active participation of the learner
- Is both an individual and a social process
- Is most successful when it occurs in a variety of ways
While the basis for a solid education must and will include comprehensive and continuous instruction in reading, writing, historical understanding, social analysis, and arithmetic, mathematical literacy (data analysis, geometry, and number operations), computer literacy, and scientific literacy, these basic skills are not enough to develop the whole child. Our curriculum will be broadened to include problem-solving skills, investigating, communicating, and recognizing relationships. These are important thinking strategies in all areas and all levels of education. And they are critical skills for a successful life beyond school.
An integral part of our curriculum will be to establish an environment where students make choices about their education. Students are naturally motivated to learn and have the ability to direct and demonstrate their individual interests. “The drive to learn,” says anthropologist Edward T. Hall, “is more basic than the drive to reproduce.” Learning to make appropriate choices, to challenge themselves at their individual developmental level and to self assess are skills that our curriculum directly supports.
Trillium School curriculum engages students in inquiring, exploring, comparing, collecting information, predicting, testing, justifying and defending ideas, and synthesizing the results of their inquiries. Higher-level thinking is taught and expected. The school is a place of research and innovation, from our youngest to oldest participants. Students, teachers, and families are required to construct and reinvent continuously. All students have opportunities to experience art, dance, theater, and music as part of their education. Skilled discussion and reciprocity lie at the heart of successfully keeping our curriculum alive.
Reporting of Student Progress and Assessment
We utilize both formal and informal communication about a student’s progress to the student, the family and appropriate school personnel. Teachers and families use the shared information to support the student’s learning. The student needs to understand and contribute to the process by helping identify her or his efforts, accomplishments, and learning needs.
Trillium relies upon a balanced set of assessment tools. Along with the Oregon state-mandated tests, these may include individual Education Team assessments, academic descriptors, student-led conferences, and student work portfolios. They may also include performance projects, community service logs and project evaluations, and exhibitions. An exhibition is a student presentation to a panel of faculty and experts to determine the student’s knowledge and ability to explain what was learned. By using a variety of assessment tools, we increase the likelihood of gathering accurate information. We also use narratives for all grade levels, in addition to providing our high school students with letter and number grades.
Non Discrimination Policy
Trillium affirms that no person shall, on the basis of race, color, age, national origin, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, or disability, be excluded from participating in, be denied the benefit of be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity.