An oval Harkness table, seating students and the teacher, replaces traditional desks and rows and the standard lecture format. This student-centered classroom facilitates self-advocacy, collaborative problem solving, and an exchange of ideas.
Rocky Hill’s 84-acre campus, which includes a 10,000 sf community garden, the 1.5 mile Land of Fires Nature Trail, and direct waterfront access, is used as a lens through which students better understand science, art, literature, and history. The availability of these resources supports the School’s emphasis on marine and environmental sciences. Courses include Lower School EnviroEd, Middle School Enviroweek, and Upper School AP Environmental Science, Marine Biology, Oceanography, and Ecology courses. Partnerships with Save The Bay and URI’s Ecology Lab further enrich the curriculum.
Real World Learning
Through intentionally designed projects, students at Rocky Hill School engage in rigorous and extended inquiry by asking questions, conducting research, and testing findings. Teachers craft projects that deliver important content, use authentic tools and resources, and allow students to shape the process through their questions and experiences. Projects culminate in work presented to a public audience. At Rocky Hill School, students do not just “learn about,” rather, they learn “to do” and “to be.” While in school, our students are scientists and artists, not just students of science and art.
In support of our academic program, Rocky Hill’s curriculum employs the philosophies of Responsive Classroom and Developmental Designs to foster a sense of community, responsibility, and camaraderie into our classrooms. Mindfulness practices are used daily in classrooms to model specific behaviors for students and explicitly articulate the benefits of them. Community Service is not simply a graduation requirement, but a value woven into activities, clubs, and field trips throughout the year.
Beginning in 6th grade, each student at Rocky Hill is assigned an adviser with whom they meet consistently throughout each week. Advisers serve not only as a mentor and
advocate for the student, but also as a liaison between parents and the school. Keeping the same adviser for each year in a Division helps to deepen that relationship.
4+ Year College Counseling Program
In addition to a robust faculty/student adviser program, students enjoy a personalized college counseling experience. Our college counseling program begins in 8th Grade so students can start crafting their high school course selections, extracurricular activities, and summer plans in their freshman year. Rocky Hill’s small size allows for one-to-one college counseling and virtually unlimited access to a highly-trained college counselor. Engaging workshops and events are scheduled throughout the year for both students and parents. Comprehensive and individualized standardized test prep is woven into the curriculum and more than 70 college representatives visit Rocky Hill each year.
Center for Innovation
Innovation has quickly become the most prominent buzzword in mainstream media to describe companies, products and experiences, and has now made its way into school brochures. At Rocky Hill, we are looking at innovation through the lens of mindset, purpose, and the role of human response to the impacts of innovation. The ability to innovate is, first and foremost, a human skill involving human capacity for thought, ideation, consideration, and reflection. Rather than merely providing access to innovative gadgets in our classrooms, we are laser focused on using experiential learning which integrates content and skills across the disciplines and supports these habits of mind and behaviors. Our goal is to develop innovative students, capable of identifying and solving some of the world’s most challenging problems.
Rocky Hill School was pleased to welcome its first Innovator-in-Residence, Susan Fonseca. A visionary and a global leader in women’s empowerment, Susan was on Rocky Hill School’s 84-acre waterfront campus for a week. She is well known for designing systems to increase access to STEM fields, entrepreneurism, and school design, and will speak with students and faculty about the process of innovation.
Rocky Hill School has forged a first-of-its-kind partnership with LearnLaunch, a nationally-recognized organization in Boston dedicated to connecting, supporting, and investing in the education technology ecosystem to drive innovation and transform learning. The partnership allows selected education technology companies that are part of LearnLaunch’s co-working space/accelerator cohort to test and develop new educational technology with students and faculty on Rocky Hill School’s campus.
Trinity Repertory Company Partnership
Rocky Hill’s Deckhands Theater Company features an impressive partnership with Trinity Repertory Company. Both Middle and Upper School students have the opportunity to work directly with professionals in the performing arts field right on our campus. Together with Trinity Rep, the Deckhands hold two shows a year, including a musical.
The Senior Internship is the culmination of a student’s Rocky Hill School experience. Seniors arrange a one-month internship in areas of possible career choices, community service, or a unique one-time learning opportunity. Students initiate all communication, set objectives, manage the details of their schedule, and prepare a final multimedia presentation. The ultimate goals are for each senior to refine their critical and adaptive thinking skills via real world experience, and to gain confidence in their ability to succeed.
Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE)
ACE serves students who need additional academic support to reach their full potential within the context of a college preparatory school. Through assistive technologies, enrichment classes, academic support, study skills, remedial techniques, and active student participation, ACE strives to produce independent, confident learners who emerge as self-advocates in their learning.
Small Class Sizes
To create a close-knit and student-centered experience, Rocky Hill enrolls 12-16 students per Lower School, 26 per Middle School, and 40 per Upper School grade. Our small class size, averaging 10-12 students with a 5:1 student-teacher ratio, allows our faculty to focus on the talents and strengths of each individual student.
For more than 20 years, Rocky Hill School has hosted international students from a wide-range of countries. Recently, Rocky Hill has welcomed students from China, Japan, Germany, Norway, England, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Italy. This international focus reaches down to the Middle and Lower Schools where each year these two divisions choose one country or region of the world to study in depth during their cross-divisional World Cultures Week.
Clubs and Trips
Learning happens all over our campus and beyond. The option to investigate a passion and join a club begins as early as the Lower School, and clubs are fully integrated into the weekly schedule in the Upper School. Our students also benefit from thematically-based trips throughout the year, such as the Preschool visit to Casey Farm, the 8th grade excursion to Quebec for Winter Carnival, and the three-day 9th grade community-building trip to the Berkshires. Rocky Hill’s students have countless opportunities to learn outside the classroom.