Citizens Philosophy

If you were to peek into a classroom at any point during the school day, you would see learning focused on three philosophical pillars.

Philosophical Pillars

Project-Based Learning

Our students will develop deep mastery of knowledge and skills. They will be challenged, supported, and will make real life connections to their learning.

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Project-Based Learning


We want our graduates to know and be confident in themselves, and have strong relationships with their peers.

Diverse by Design

We believe it is important for students to learn to work alongside peers across lines of difference. This will be necessary for them to practice self-understanding and empathy in order to solve complex problems that exist in our world.


Constructivism is a theory based on the idea that humans are meaning makers in their lives and construct their own realities. Individuals are active participants in creating and determining their path rather than passively taking in information.

In a constructivist classroom, you will see students having the flexibility to explore their own interests. Big ideas will be introduced first, and students will be motivated to seek understanding of the smaller parts. Students learn by building upon prior knowledge rather than by rote memorization, and teachers serve as facilitators of learning rather than purveyors of knowledge. There is a flexibility to investigate, invent, experiment, and explore! Constructivism honors the natural curiosity of students and fosters a love of exploration and learning, which fosters intrinsic motivation.

Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) is an instructional approach designed to give students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills through engaging projects set around challenges and problems they may face in the real world. Some examples explored by classes are running a class election, creating a classroom marketplace, designing protective vehicles to compete in the Egg Drop Challenge, and organizing a community fall festival.

Project-based learning is more than just “doing a project.” As the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) explains, with PBL, students “investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex problem or challenge” with deep and sustained attention.

Project-based learning is in direct alignment with constructivist theory and supports the notion from Jean Piaget that “knowledge is a consequence of experience.”

Conscious Discipline

Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based, trauma-informed approach to behavior management in the classroom. Using an understanding of brain science, Conscious Discipline teaches both adults and students how to regulate emotions, resolve conflict, and create an empathic and emotionally safe school environment where all students can learn. It is built on three principles: 1) Controlling and changing ourselves is possible and has a profound impact on others, 2) Connectedness governs behavior, and 3) Conflict is an opportunity to teach.

Conscious Discipline is a Tier 1 Intervention which will support all students’ social and emotional learning and facilitate a safe learning environment for all students. With an understanding that all behavior is an expression of a need, Conscious Discipline will guide decision making around assessing students’ needs and putting necessary supports in place.

Conscious Discipline teaches both students and adults 7 important skills that are crucial to creating a healthy school family. They are composure, assertiveness, encouragement, choices, empathy, positive intent, and consequences. Conscious Discipline incorporates routines, structures, and rituals to support each skill, which will be woven throughout students’ school day, regardless of grade level.

Restorative Practices

Restorative Justice is a powerful approach to discipline that focuses on repairing harm through inclusive processes that engage all stakeholders. It views “harm” as a fracturing of relationships vs. a behavior that must be punished. Practices rooted in Restorative Justice are designed to create a culture which is inclusive, builds fair processes into decision-making practices, and facilitates students learning to address the impact of their actions through an approach that allows for true accountability, skill building, cooperation, and mutual understanding.

Through Restorative Practices, members of the school community will have an opportunity to be heard, learn to take responsibility, repair harm, and recognize one’s role as a contributing member of the school community. Connection circles are used for team building and problem solving. These circles help a group build trust, respect, and empathy. When a harm is caused in the school community, circles play an active role in addressing the harm and making things right.

Restorative practices can strengthen the school community and reduce behavior incidences and recidivism in the future. In addition, it assists both students and adults to learn how to solve problems and disputes without resort to violence or to the remedy of separating and excluding people from the community.

Citizens Philosophy