Asheville School is proud of its core curriculum, providing a strong basis for all of its students in the arts, sciences, mathematics and humanities. Within the scope of that curriculum, however, we have developed a number of signature programs which set us apart and provide both significant challenges and rewards for the students who participate.
From the very first week of school, all Third Formers are shepherded through a series of experiences designed to help them bond as a class, while also learning more about themselves and their new school.
Students are immersed in a three-day wilderness camping adventure, guided through our extensive high-ropes course and taken through a series of seminars designed to orient them to Asheville School.
Later, during the course of the year, the experiential education is focused on their humanities curriculum, allowing them to experience the connections between life and language.
Group work, hands-on projects, out-of-the-box thinking and interactive learning are stressed, and alternative assessment methods are employed to allow students to discover more about what, how and why they learn.
Each year, in each form, students study one or more plays by William Shakespeare. All students learn and recite a passage selected from the play they are studying.
These recitations, usually between 20 and 40 lines of iambic pentameter, are presented before their classmates. Each class votes on a "winner" who goes on to compete before the Humanities faculty.
The top four winners from that "bracket" advance to compete before the entire school and are judged by a panel of professional actors and directors from the Asheville community.
As a culminating intellectual experience, all Sixth Formers engage in a semester-long odyssey of self-directed learning which is commonly known as "The Demo."
Midway through their senior year, students are required to select a topic for their demo. Topics range from an in-depth study of certain authors or genres of literature, to composers or scientific concepts. Reading, research and study culminate in two lengthy analytical essays and a verbal defense of the student’s thesis before a panel of teachers.
The demo is, without exception, a meaningful and significant rite of passage for our graduates.