The Dexter curriculum is informed by the work of Kieran Egan (an imaginative education) and Alan Kay (powerful ideas). Our curriculum begins with the premise that learners minds aren't vessels to be filled with information, but a fire to be kindled. What follows from this recognition is a departure from teaching the memorization of isolated facts and shifts towards an interdisciplinary curriculum aimed at developing a well rounded human that will thrive in the knowledge age. This approach leads to an increase in both depth and breadth where learners tackle areas of human knowledge previously thought out of reach for young learners. The sequencing of our curriculum is not centered around individual nuggets of knowledge, but instead around the natural progression of the powerful cognitive tools humans have developed throughout human history. From story telling to calculus, these cognitive tools are super powers that enable learners to explore, create and express themselves in transformative ways. For example, computer programming is one such cognitive tool that we treat not as an individual subject, but instead a fluency to explore all subjects. From recreating Plato's Allegory of the Cave with code to creating art with algorithms, computer programming leads to a powerful process based understanding. Just as literacy transforms a learners mind so too does the cognitive tool of computer programming. With this new process based fluency, learners start to see the world around them as verbs instead of nouns, dynamic systems instead of isolate parts, relationships instead of objects. This powerful cognitive tool (along with many others) forms the bedrock for a new way of understanding for the learner.
The Dexter curriculum covers all of the core areas of knowledge in traditional schools (history, mathematics, physics, writing, social studies, etc.) while also preparing learners with the skills and mental models needed to participate in the knowledge age. From communication skills, technical literacy, artificial intelligence, mathematical thinking, systems and design thinking, entrepreneurship and the like - our curriculum is designed to insure that learners have a seat at the table in the highly technical world of tomorrow. As members complete curriculum, they're building a growing portfolio of work that's easily exported as a transcript for re-enrollment in traditional schooling, college entrance or employment. Our primary metric for student growth is individual work, but we recognize the need for outside accountability metrics. All members will take the PSAT and/or SAT bi-annually. These test scores, in combination with an extensive portfolio, community involvement, certifications, work experience, exceptional writing skills and professional recommendations will help our members gain entrance to the world's best universities (if they so choose).
Members progress through the curriculum by completing lesson cards associated with required core decks. As members complete decks, they level up to a different class (bronze, silver, gold, ruby, emerald and diamond). In addition to the core decks, each student has a persistent 'skills' deck that auto-populates with level appropriate curriculum to help them prepare for the benchmark PSAT/SAT exam.