Problem: The preparation of students for the world of yesteryear, which is what happens in traditional schools, is actively rejected at the Ross School. Founded in 1991 by Courtney and Steven J. Ross, the Ross School's central philosophy is that anyone can become a successful student and that there are no limits for what the student can accomplish at any age. The school adopts the "theory of multiple intelligences", which was developed by Howard Gardner. According to the method, students begin their schooling with different kinds of intelligence, skills and passions, eager to be developed. The school has two campuses in New York: one is in East Hampton, the other in Bridgehampton.
Solutions: This private school, which teaches children from kindergarten through high school, is most notable for its use of prototyping laboratories. In the school's Innovation Laboratory, students that are passionate about the sciences, mathematics, engineering, media and technology are free to conduct research and execute projects that develop their skills in the areas of electronics, computer programming, data visualization and digital media. The learning environment stimulates curiosity, creativity and entrepreneurship. Laboratories and workshops allow students to use their skills to create innovative solutions for local and global problems.
Partnerships with outside institutions foster relationships with professionals from various fields, such as artists and movie directors, or from not-for-profit organizations.
The curriculum is interdisciplinary, in which disciplines are connected through the completion of work that is related to real world issues. Classroom activities integrate the arts, writing, literature, health, well-being and the use of technology, which students employ in their problem solving, decision making and logical reasoning endeavors.
The use of online tools, in collaboration with other students, teachers and parents, is essential for student development. Furthermore, the inclusion of laptops allows students to access the Internet, communicate with others and participate in videoconferences. Students that need to travel with their parents, for example, can continue their studies over the Internet. One of the tasks students conduct on their computer is the construction and deconstruction of contemporary media messages that can be found on television, in cinema, in advertisements and in video games. Parents participate in classroom activities, educational programs and special events and participate in school fundraising.
Outcomes: The school's teaching method promotes cross-disciplinary learning, integrated thinking and innovative leadership. Students come into contact with the global community and feel motivated to learn throughout their lives. They are also encouraged to dream and exercise their imaginations. Some of the most important skills to be developed include cooperation, courage, gratefulness, integrity, respect, responsibility and conscientiousness. In 2014, all of the students that graduated from the high school were accepted into college.