Mastery Across Campuses

Mastery Across Campuses
Ryan Sawtell, Mastery Program Coordinator

In the final month of school at Avenues, students in the Upper Division (grades 9 through 10), engage in project-based work during a unique program known as Fifth Term.

Last semester, Avenues São Paulo students joined Avenues New York classmates and signed up for Fifth Term electives that provided in-depth exploration of diverse topics on which they either produced a news show, designed board games, investigated the connection between art and science, examined futurism as a tool to predict human progress, or wrote, performed, and mixed original songs.

Other students selected Mastery as their Fifth Term elective based on their self-identified interests, desire to further develop skill, and motivation to demonstrate expertise in a particular domain. As a Fifth Term elective option, Upper Division students have the opportunity to receive the ultimate personalized learning experience in which they are placed in Mastery Houses with students of comparable interests to both collaborate and independently develop their projects. This space feeds curiosity, expands knowledge, and develops authentic skill in their area of interest. The Fifth Term Mastery experience culminates in a public exhibition for the Avenues community, with students demonstrating their progress towards the achievement of their long-term goals.

Of the Avenues São Paulo students participating in Avenues New York's Fifth Term, Rachel, Felipe, Chiara, and Rafael applied to participate in Mastery and became the pioneers of what São Paulo students can expect the years to come. Their distinct project proposals are emblematic of how the Mastery program allows personal interest to inspire profound and meaningful learning experiences.

Rachel conducted an investigation of hatred and emotion through the lenses of psychoanalysis, sociology and neurology. Then, she coupled her research with her artistic interests to create and curate an exhibition that demonstrated her findings via original poetry and photography. Her collaboration with Inês Moura, the Art and Design teacher, is an example of how Mastery students work with mentors to refine their ideas and final products.

Felipe took advantage of the iLab to fabricate 3D models of New York buildings to support the curriculum of the Early Learning Center (ELC) at Avenues New York. While the ELC students learned about and designed their own skyscrapers on paper, Felipe used their drawings to print three dimensional models of their ideas with the 3D printer.

Chiara sought to develop a means to increase empathy for children living with Asperger’s Syndrome. To more effectively boost awareness, Chiara recorded and edited a short film from the perspective of a child with Asperger’s with the assistance of our Wellness and Movement teacher Cristina Oliveira. Her Mastery project allowed her to consider how audiovisual techniques can best underscore the tone and objective of a moving image.

Rafael’s interest in politics led him to hypothesize how Brazil’s upcoming presidential election might result if it were to take place in the United States. To accomplish this, he analyzed diverse American voting blocs and applied how the data might connect to the Brazilian candidates and current political climate.

All four students’ Mastery projects allowed them to publicly demonstrate a deeper understanding of a topic connected to their personal interests. This experience provided the São Paulo campus an example of the excellent work we can expect from Avenues students both in the Mastery Workshop elective course and Fifth Term experience. The dedicated time, space, and flexibility will enable our students to explore their interests alongside local mentors and experts and expand our definition of education at Avenues São Paulo.





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