Our program is based on the five pillars shown below, click to learn more about each.
- Early and often, students are taught about the functions and anatomy of the brain.
- There is a focus on a “use it or lose it” technique — a daily practice of building long-lasting and healthy habits of mind
- Research-based models that apply important neuroscience techniques
- Students learn healthy mental models that promote sound reasoning, thoughtful actions, and critical thinking
- Students engage in our iterative SSB Learning Cycle during our problem-based activities and during independent assignments
- Experiential learning focuses on creating new neural pathways to optimize learning and performance. Quoting neuropsychologist, Donald Hebb, “Cells that wire together, fire together”.
- Anti-racist teaching and learning
- Teachers routinely engage in our Anti-Racist Challenge cycle to practice anti-racism daily
- Pedagogy is culturally inclusive throughout all subjects
- In problem-based learning, students study inequitable policies and systems of oppression, then work together to create solutions
Social and emotional development
- Our partnership with One Love focuses specifically on boys’ social and emotional development during the middle school years
- We foster empathy, accountability, and openness.
- Curriculum is also utilized to support students through the rigors and challenges of the learning process
- Each grade level has specific and measurable social and emotional growth goals
- We eliminate labels and social stratification through routine student self-reflection and employ a narrative grading process
- A warm and inclusive learning environment supported by our SSB B.R.A.V.E. Matrix
- Building the foundation for life-long learning through our Bridges Program where collaborative skills become mutually rewarding between environments, cooperating organizations, and the public sector
- Preparing our students for high school and beyond
- Problem-based assignments directly connected with local organizations to give students real-world experiences
- Engage with diverse environments to heighten intrapersonal and interpersonal awareness
Seattle School for Boys offers a balanced curriculum that prepares students for a variety of high school learning and social environments.
SSB’s qualified teachers ensure that our students are challenged in the standard core subjects of math, science, language arts and the humanities.
Students also choose electives that engage in the arts, such as music, visual art, dance (Massive Monkees Residency), martial arts, boxing, parkour, and other endeavors
b.me Series/SSB Curricular Framework
Unique to Seattle School for Boys is our b.me series/SSB Curricular Framework is a research-based framework designed specifically for middle school boys. The b.me Series/SSB Curricular Framework is the critical underpinning of our entire curricula’s scope and sequence and is woven into our institutional fabric. The b.me Series/SSB Curricular Framework enacts our mission, values, and is our primary vehicle for genuinely and authentically speaking to, guiding, and educating our students to be the best versions of themselves. b.me/SSB Curricular Framework provides common language used by all faculty and students to ensure continuity and transparency in our values.
Implemented in *three to four thematic phases during the academic year, with each theme building off of one another throughout the three middle school years, the b.me Series/SSB Curricular Framework is part of daily life at SSB.
A key to the Seattle School for Boys curriculum is integrated learning. Beyond the homogenized curricula that lean toward the status quo and rather than simply tying various lesson plans together; our innovative and culturally competent teachers routinely collaborate to develop 21st-century cross-curricular assignments that help students discover new applications for their developing skills and knowledge. Authentic collaboration and a thorough understanding of the learning process are required to achieve desired outcomes.
Not only do our students gain a solid foundation in core competencies, but they also develop skills that will make them compassionate leaders and trusted team members. And all the while, our students stay engaged and interested in joyful learning!
In four thematic phases over the academic year, our 6th graders learn how the brain works, how it changes during the learning process, and how it is impacted by nutrition, exercise, sleep, environment, and stress. Moreover, students learn brain hacks to optimize their learning as middle school students.
The SSB Learning Cycle is introduced. Students explore concepts of self-awareness and self-expression, with routine opportunities for personal reflections, realizations, and revised thoughts. Developing self-awareness evolves into thoughts and feelings around interpersonal awareness, and the study of and integration with various cultures and communities while making time for authentic connections. The year culminates with keystone projects that allow each student to creatively share their collective learning experiences from the year and how it has prepared them for next year.
Building from the previous year, our 7th graders begin the year learning to move beyond stereotypes and social messages around unhealthy masculinity, instead focusing on positive character development and a thorough understanding of respect and empathy. The next phase helps our students practice resiliency, manage stress, and overcome adversity, while teaching them appropriate language when met with unfavorable outcomes and allowing them to move away from stratifying labels. The study covers their own and others’ culture and history, broadening students’ perspectives and helping to strengthen their intrinsic motivation and motivation and a sense of invested interest in the environment around them. Connecting character, resilience, and culture, our 7th graders close out the year by collectively setting goals to address the global challenges we face.
Growing from the seeds well planted and nourished in 6th and 7th grades, the 8th grade year has a strong outside focus. Students grasp the importance of wellbeing through the sense of belonging to a greater community, fostered by empathy and compassion, helping students to become adept at building and sustaining healthy relationships inside and outside of the classroom.
As our students begin to think about high school, they strengthen their understanding of positive social circles, comparing and contrasting real-world versus virtual relationships.
Additionally, students tackle serious societal issues, current events, designing solutions and partnering closely with community groups. The final year culminates with the concept of choice and sound decision-making. 8th graders reflect on their middle school experience and collectively create a legacy that celebrates healthy communication, a balanced confidence, and a genuine commitment to community.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines of their education, each SSB student takes an active role in the progress of their academic journey.
Core subjects are centered around critical thinking, checkpoints, and creative solutions, which include lots of binary, factual information. Plenty of quizzes and tests are administered to provide teachers with accurate assessments of learning that align with individualized student growth goals. For the benefit of our students, however, our teachers go beyond the quantifiable, carefully articulating in narrative form the skills mastered, concept understood, and outcomes achieved for each student.
These narrative assessments are generated three times during the school year, following the culmination of each phase of the b.me Series/SSB Curricular Framework, with three mid-quarter check-ins between narrative assessments.
Connected with the three narrative assessments are student-led conferences. Each student prepares in advance for their conference, celebrating academic achievements, social and emotional growth, and intangible progress. Moreover, students weave their learning to mid-term and long-term goals.
Friday Bridges Program
In the Bridges Program, SSB students go out into their city and region to connect, serve, and learn. Every Friday, mixed-grade groups of students and their teachers leave the classroom with the mutually beneficial goal of learning about themselves and serving their community. These interdisciplinary, real-world experiences are created to have students build on the skills of communication, collaboration, and leadership. The Bridges Program allows students to better understand the city and region they live in from multiple perspectives and with diverse lenses, while building relationships.
The thinking behind the Bridges Program is simple: Students should not only experience their greater community during a final project or a special week at the end of the year. Genuine learning requires relevance and relationships.
On Fridays, students walk, bike, and take public transportation to different corners of the city to read, write, connect, and build. Each program that the students participate in has been designed to further the mission of supporting healthy maturation in a community committed to working towards a more equitable and anti-racist world.
what we learn at ssb
SSB students learn to express themselves, challenge themselves, challenge stereotypes, learn from mistakes, care for others, and champion social justice.
With small classes, expert educators, and a caring community, SSB provides an innovative and rigorous interdisciplinary approach to the humanities, STEAM, math, and Spanish along with leadership opportunities, integrated arts, and movement classes including parkour, martial arts, yoga, and fitness.
Toward the end of each quarter, the boys at SSB present interdisciplinary keystone projects to highlight acquired skills and showcase flexible levels of understanding. The keystone projects are directly linked to service and are designed as the building block that solidifies the edifice of the learner’s work.
SSB’s keystone projects, presented towards the end of each quarter, are iterative models and reminds the learner that the work they begin is not a singular and isolated task. These projects remind boys that the work they produce is continual, collaborative, and open for revisions. While boys understand that their work connects to a larger community, they receive support and advice from experts in their respective competencies.
Our interactive daily schedule is unified with our mission. It contains research-based ingredients that support the overall development of a middle school boy. Baked into the academic schedule is structured time for boys to strengthen their executive function along with structured time to foster social and emotional growth.
Transition Time & Organizational Support
Advisory groups and highlighted strategies intended to support organization and executive function.
Athletics & After School Activities
After school athletics programs rotating in fall (soccer), winter (basketball), and spring (ultimate). Physical education programs and movement with outside vendors throughout the school year, addressing both physical and psychological components.
Discussions of various “isms” and social/emotional support and guidance.