College Preparatory Curriculum

Our students read.

Here’s what you take away: Steamboat Mountain School is relaxed and informal. There’s no pretense here—people are comfortable being themselves. Students are serious about what they’re here to do, but not against having fun doing it. People speak up and say what’s on their mind.

Our students write.

They write essays in English, research papers in history, lab reports in science, aftermaths in calculus, and scripts in Film. Our students repeatedly face essay and short answer tests and many other forms of assessments. We expect students over the course of their four years to become confident in synthesizing, analyzing, and organizing information – in their heads and on paper.

Our students think.

We emphasize critical, analytical, and creative thinking. We require kids to show all the steps in their math homework. We require students to think through the stages of mitosis in Biology. We continue to subject our students to the challenges of the two-column proof in Geometry. Our Global Politics and Environmental Issues students are expected to do field work and produce creative and practical solutions to real world problems such as global warming, population explosion, and the need for sustainable agriculture. We, as their teachers, understand that our students will need the ability to think, clearly and patiently, in their world after high school.

Life in the academic arena at Steamboat Mountain School isn’t easy for a student, but it is engaging and fun. Our academic program fosters the development of strong organizational and time management skills, confidence, and responsibility. We march at a healthy pace, and we expect students over time to become self-reliant learners, in every course from World History to A.P. Spanish to Anatomy and Physiology.

Our students think. We emphasize critical, analytical, and creative thinking.

Why college prep?

In 1957, when Lowell Whiteman founded the school, he knew that students need both a strong academic education and radical adventure. With his vision, Lowell Whiteman struck gold: he simultaneously ensured the well-being of the school’s students and the quality of its faculty. Teachers had to love the classroom and love adventure. Built into Lowell’s vision was the underlying foundation of a strong college preparatory education through strong student-teacher relationships that remains at the heart of the school today.

Steamboat Mountain School is first and foremost a college preparatory school. Philosophically, we embrace a solid liberal arts education. Students study literature, grammar and composition, math, history, geography, science, Spanish or Chinese, and art (be it film, computer graphics, or drawing and painting). We maintain our clear college prep focus. Our classes remain small, with the largest at fifteen students. We do give homework- meaningful homework that prepares students for independent work in college.

Advising Program

The school schedules weekly meeting times during which advisors and advisees meet to discuss relevant issues or topics in the community.  Whether the school’s core values or the choices teens face during this important developmental time these topics are an important and intentional piece of the student’s growth as a young adult.  The advisor also serves as the main contact for families, communicating with parents and families several times each year about the student’s progress, struggles, and successes.