Frequently Asked Questions
- Is School for Tomorrow accredited?
- Are SFT teachers certified?
- Where is School for Tomorrow located?
- What makes SFT so different from other secondary schools?
- Is School for Tomorrow a Comer, Core Knowledge, Democratic, Essential, Montessori, or Progressive school?
- What type of student does SFT seek?
- Will a student who needs structure be able to succeed at School for Tomorrow?
- What time does school start?
- What about lunch (and snacks)?
- What about homework?
- Does SFT offer AP classes?
- What about the SAT (or ACT)?
- What about college admissions?
Is School for Tomorrow accredited?
Yes. We have met the State of Maryland’s stringent requirements for nonpublic schools and are accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).
Are SFT teachers certified?
Some have been; others haven’t. All, however, are highly qualified, talented professionals who connect well with kids and are dedicated to enhancing the education and welfare of each of our students. Studies have shown that certification does not equate with effective teaching. And many of the best teachers have come to teaching later in life. Quite simply, School for Tomorrow seeks out the best teachers with the right mix of skill, knowledge, temperament and total dedication to educating young people.
Where is School for Tomorrow located?
SFT is located at 4511 Bestor Drive, Rockville, MD 20853 in the same building as The Children’s Learning Center (CLC). 4511 Bestor Drive is about a 10-minute drive from the Twinbrook, Rockville, and Glenmont Red Line Metro stations. Ride-on and Metro bus stops are within walking distance of our building.
What makes SFT so different from other secondary schools?
At SFT, we derive, everything we do from asking two core questions: (1) What does a high school graduate need to know and be able to do to thrive in college, the workplace, and life in the decades ahead? (2) What are the most efficient and effective means for students, in general, and each student, in particular, to master the curriculum that results from answering the preceding question?
We are different from other schools in three important ways. First of all, SFT is a school designed in the 21st century, to prepare our students for life in the 21st century, utilizing all the knowledge and resources we now have in the 21st century. Moreover, SFT will be an evolving, changing institution, responding to the evolving, changing world around us and students who are with us. Second, SFT’s cutting edge education model has been derived from a blank slate, and that being the case we are able to be more flexible and responsive to the needs of students. Third, SFT explicitly has a dual mission of providing a top-quality education for students, as well as standing as a model for other educational institutions.
“It is time to consider that the failure to improve learning might lie precisely in the assumption that the problem is one of performance to be solved by pushing the existing model to do better. Rather, we have instead a design problem—a need for radically different forms of schooling that can better educate the majority of students who, relative to their potential, are underachieving in the factory model of school.”
—Ted Kolderie, founding partner of Education/Evolving
Is School for Tomorrow a Comer, Core Knowledge, Democratic, Essential, Montessori, or Progressive school?
School for Tomorrow is not affiliated with any one alternative school movement. However, we have adopted and will continue to adopt the most effective features of each approach as applicable.
What type of student does SFT seek?
School for Tomorrow is designed to serve a general, diverse student population with a range of learning styles and abilities. Our expectation is that the vast majority of prospective students will be capable of thriving at SFT and making a positive impact on our community.
Will a student who needs structure be able to succeed at School for Tomorrow?
Yes. It is important to understand that, while SFT students benefit from more choice, flexibility, and individualization than students at other schools, everything they do is within the context of significant structure.
What time does school start?
All students must be at School for Tomorrow and ready to learn at 9:30 a.m. However, the school is open beginning at 8:00 a.m. (The core school day ends at 3:30 p.m., but the school is open until 5:00 p.m.)
“The school is innovative. Let me tell you how radical they are: Kids get to eat when they are hungry, and drink water when they are thirsty. Kids move when they need to move, and sit when they need to sit. This is radically humane. And, it creates an atmosphere where learning can happen.”
—Robbin, SFT parent
What about lunch (and snacks)?
Students bring their own lunches to SFT; we provide refrigerators and microwaves for student use. On occasion, we offer special lunches.
SFT students have access all day long to hot and cold purified water from our DrinkMore water coolers. Moreover, we periodically provide snacks for our students and encourage them to eat snacks they bring to school whenever they are hungry.
“Because of SFT’s homework policy I’m a lot less stressed and have more time on my hands.”
—Jeremy, SFT student
What about homework?
At School for Tomorrow we have a home reading requirement, with each student required to read for 30 minutes each day outside of school. In addition, we encourage and support individualized student-initiated homework – that is, school-related work at home that is clearly beneficial as well as without the negative baggage of traditional homework.
Also, our students complete work during our school day that, at other schools, would be assigned as homework. In fact, it is often much more efficient to do such work in the school setting rather than the home setting. Too often the amount of homework given in today’s schools is driven by the inefficient use of time during the school day and the false perception that more homework equates with greater academic rigor.
Does SFT offer AP classes?
At this point, SFT does not offer AP classes. However, as with all possible means of learning, if we determine that AP classes are the best option for some or all of our students, we will. In general, there is great debate regarding the educational value of AP classes. Many top colleges consider it important for an applicant to have taken AP classes. However, plenty of good high schools whose top students regularly end up at top colleges do not offer AP classes. What attracts colleges are students who have taken the most rigorous, highest level courses offered by their particular schools.
At School for Tomorrow we expect that our students will take their study of at least some subjects to a significantly higher level than AP classes represent. AP and other standard honors or advanced courses are not the ultimate definition of achievement and rigor at SFT. Rather, we provide ample opportunity for each student to take his or her education as far as s/he can.
“[R]igor traditionally is equated with mastery of content (core subject) alone, and that’s simply not good enough anymore. Knowledge and information change constantly. Students need both content knowledge and skills to apply and transform their knowledge for useful and creative purposes and to keep learning as content and circumstances change.… In the United States, we tell students the same thing a hundred times. On the 101st time, we ask them if they remember what we told them the first hundred times. However, in the 21st century, the true test of rigor is for students to be able to look at material they’ve never seen before and know what to do with it.”
—Ken Kay, president of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills
What about the SAT (or ACT)?
We are committed to ensuring that School for Tomorrow students are well prepared for the SAT (or the ACT, which is a preferred option for certain students). At School for Tomorrow we provide all of our students with opportunities to take practice PSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. And, as with any assessment given to an SFT student, we learn from it. We individually analyze each student’s results to determine what they tell us about that particular student (e.g., the student in fact doesn’t know [a particular math subject], the student works too slowly, the student has difficulty accurately filling in bubble sheets with a number 2 pencil). And we come up with a plan for the student to improve in the areas that need improvement. Moreover, we offer in-house SAT prep and review classes that, as with everything we do, draw upon the most up-to-date, compelling resources and research.
What about college admissions?
School for Tomorrow is designed to enable each student to identify and gain admittance to the college best for him/her. Core to our philosophy and approach is, of course, getting to know and understand each of our students extremely well. And to help each student identify the college that’s the best fit for him/her, we commit substantial time, energy, and resources to getting to know and understand the array of college options.
As for college admissions, School for Tomorrow students have a number of advantages over comparable students coming from traditional public and private schools. In today’s hyper-competitive college admissions environment, even top D.C.-area high school students with strong SAT scores and extra-curricular accomplishments are not guaranteed admission to highly selective colleges. Coming from even the best D.C.-area public or private schools, it is often difficult for a student to distinguish him– or herself from the many other highly qualified candidates from the same or neighboring schools. SFT students, however, stand out from the crowd.
We are actively introducing and marketing SFT to a range of quality colleges (and to any particular college in which any of our students are interested), highlighting all of the ways in which our graduates are better prepared for college than those from traditional schools.
To learn about the successes of our initial college applicants, you can visit our College Admissions web page.