How will a student’s learning experience be different in Banyan?
- All four teachers collaborate to create curriculum that is engaging and connected across disciplines.
- The program has a project based focus with two high-stakes cross curricular exhibitions per year.
- There is a focus on learning by doing. The students will have the opportunity to go on many cultural, educational, and hiking field trips all over Marin.
- Banyan is a small learning community in which the students and teachers have strong working and interpersonal relationships.
- Teacher collaboration time allows for problem solving around student issues.
- Banyan students are required to do a minimum of 20 hours per year in the spirit of stewardship and community service.
- Banyan is designed for deeper student learning. For example, instead of distinct semesters of Health and World Cultures and a year of World History, Banyan teachers integrate the health curriculum in the Banyan classes and students complete a two-year integrated social studies course (World History, Cultures, & Geography 1-2 and 3-4).
What honors courses are available to Banyan students?
- Two years of Honors English
- Honors Biology
- One year of Honors History
Are there any academic opportunities not available to Banyan students?
- Banyan students cannot take Night PE or Sailing/Hiking during their sophomore year. However, all Banyan students complete all the same hikes as a part of the Banyan curriculum.
- The Banyan students can take weight training, sailing, or hiking as an elective as juniors or seniors.
- Banyan students take Physical/Earth Science Year 1 and Biology Year 2. Those who want to be on an accelerated science track may simultaneously enroll in Chemistry in their sophomore year.
What if a student decides to leave Banyan after his/her 1st year?
- If a student starts in Year 1 of the program and passes all classes, including the health requirement, he/she will take regular sophomore classes in the sophomore year.
- If a student starts in Year 2 of the program and passes all classes, including the health requirement, then he/she will take English 1-2, Physical Earth Science (or Chemistry, if ready), PE 1-2, and World History 1-2 in the sophomore year.
How much participation is expected of the Banyan parents?
We ask parents to volunteer to drive on our hikes and other field trips if/when they can. Parents enjoy building community along with the students, and several have contributed their professional expertise. If you are unable to to volunteer it does not prevent your student from participating in the program.
What are the extra time commitments of the students in the program?
The majority of the program takes place during school hours however, there are a few extra time commitments. The students have a community service requirement of 20 hours a year. The freshman do their community service on campus and the Sophomores choose and outside organization to do their hours. The students also participate in two interdisciplinary projects/exhibitions a year which usually require some after school rehearsals and a possible half day rehearsal on a saturday. We go on cultural field trips and hikes throughout the year and occasionally might return a half hour late from dismissal time.