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Our Principles

The Thinking Behind the Learning

A philosophy to grow by

It’s not every day that a school gets the chance to build its curriculum from the ground up. With Revolution School, we are fortunate to be able to take a principled approach based on current research in education from around the globe.

Using evidence and research to inform our curriculum, we design for outcomes that lead to personal development and high levels of engagement, program growth and real world impact. We’re built to remain current.

We build on research and learning criteria that support essential knowledge, future-ready skills, and habits for success. In everything we do, we keep the four pillars of our educational philosophy in mind:

We believe, just as learners are always growing and learning, so should our teaching practices.


In our leadership, faculty, and student body, we strive to embody the beautiful diversity of our home city. We deeply value differences in race, culture, language, ethnicity, class, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, age

and physiological ability, and believe that bringing varied experiences and perspectives into a community benefits both the individual and the whole.

What does diversity look like at Revolution School?

None of us check who we are at the door to school. Everyone’s personal story is part of our learning.

Individual ways of being and belonging become part of the culture of the school through our co-constructed norms and agreed-upon expectations.

Our weekly Community Cafe transforms “high school lunch” into a fun and immersive sharing of culture and identity.

Our Difference-Maker Curriculum intentionally opens doors to authentic interaction with people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences.

Our innovative sliding scale tuition model embraces socio-economic diversity as fundamental to everyone’s learning.

Place-based learning

Bruce Mau, a designer who worked with the Henry Ford Academy once said, “We have places in our society that are already rich with culture and content. Why do we build an empty box and then try to make it rich?”

Place-based learning is learning rooted in the community where it takes place. In Philadelphia, we have a city rich with history, living science, working networks, and vibrant social systems. Our program brings students to those resources rather than trying to only imitate them in a classroom building.

How does place-based learning happen at Revolution School?

Students work with local professionals to make learning relevant and achieve immediate, real-world impact.

Students present their learning to authentic community audiences for feedback and revision, building life-based knowledge and important connections.

“Inquiry lanes” allow flexible time for learning beyond the classroom: at local businesses and organizations, science labs, civic spaces, nature environments, and more.

Students utilize the most current technology and practice skills used by today’s experts, gaining exposure to the cutting edge of industry and enterprise.

Systems thinking

The Systems Thinking approach comes directly from the learned lessons of fields like medicine, applied science, and social sciences research. We focus on natural, social and technological systems and subsystems because students

learn best when they can situate details within a bigger picture. They won’t just have a better grasp of facts: they’ll also be able to creatively and confidently think through complex challenges.

How does systems thinking come to life at Revolution School?

We teach cross-cutting skills such as writing, artistic design, applied mathematics, and prototyping in focused master workshops to support interdisciplinary project work.

Students take their learning into the world and see the context of their experiences through direct links with academic content.

Integrated technology allows students to examine events by considering patterns and trends, underlying structures, and mental models.

Our teachers frame learning within the “big picture”, so students connect academic subjects to one another, and to economic, health, environmental, and civic literacy.

Personal development

We’re creating an environment that fosters a healthy, productive and supportive school culture with a focus on emotional and physical health and wellness.

Our goals are empowerment, self-mastery, belonging, purpose, perspective, and courage for every student.

What does personal development look like at Revolution School?

A whole-person wellness program encompassing physical, mental, and emotional health.

A strong advisory program that prioritizes social skill development, relationship-building, and advocacy for self and others.

The intentional incorporation of mindfulness such as structured reflection and meditation practices.

Our Difference-Maker curriculum teaches and incorporates self-management skills essential to successful project- and team-work.

Our students use the wellness resources available in our city, getting access to facilities that include local fitness centers, climbing gyms, and yoga and dance studios.


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