Turning Point School’s Signature Programs embody our distinctive approach to developing the whole child in a supportive, academically challenging environment.
Turning Point students are mindful of their responsibility as citizens of a shared planet. They actively pursue the formation of meaningful ties with their local and international communities. Equally curious about finding common ground and celebrating diversity, students are thoughtful and empathetic regarding differences among people, places, and cultures. Responsible global citizens passionately explore world issues; they confidently communicate and respectfully engage in constructive problem solving and conflict resolution. Creative and critical thinkers, Turning Point global citizens are equipped with the tools and habits that will garner success in an interconnected and ever-changing world.
In 2015, Turning Point was awarded International Certification through the Council of International Schools (CIS). Turning Point is one of nine schools in five countries to earn this honor. To receive certification, Turning Point was required to demonstrate proficiency in four major areas: student growth and leadership commitment; whole school development; an emphasis on reflection followed by outcome-oriented action; and the translation of international education into authentic project-based learning across the community.
Turning Point's SmartLab is not only a location where students can innovate using state-of-the-art technologies; it is an encompassing instructional model that allows students to develop proficiency in critical thinking, collaboration, innovation, and technological fluency. Both inside and outside the Lab, students collaborate to think critically and to actively problem solve through engagements that integrate science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts. Since search engines make an abundance of information readily accessible, Turning Point students are asked to use the information and the state-of-the art technological tools available to innovate; the SmartLab facilitator supports what students strive to create and do. Students can delve as deeply into the eight systems of technology (science/data acquisition, mechanics and structures, robotics and control technology, circuitry, graphic design, and multimedia) as their entrepreneurial spirits and resourcefulness will take them.
The Turning Point program, which spans preschool through eighth grade, honors the profound brain reshaping periods during both early childhood and early adolescence. Research has shown that middle school students (sixth, seventh, and eighth graders) perform better academically in K-8 schools, where they feel safer, more confident, and more engaged. Turning Point is committed to a Preschool-8 program which produces talented, capable students ready for the challenge of any selective high school program. And when scientific data confirms the effectiveness of these practices, it shows that Turning Point is excelling in its mission to produce students who are responsible, well-balanced adults who are confident, honest, knowledgeable, community-focused, globally oriented, joyful, and well prepared to face a challenging and changing world.
Service Learning is a perfect example of Turning Point School’s instructional methodology—taking educational practice beyond classroom walls and inspiring students to connect more deeply with the learning process. At Turning Point, we hold dear several traditions that provide opportunities for our students to build meaningful relationships with others in their community—at home, at school, locally, and globally. While working to build a stronger community and healthier environment, students make inspired leaps of understanding in developing a sense of responsibility extending beyond themselves.
Turning Point was honored as a 2017 Silver Level recipient of the California Green Ribbon Schools award through the California Department of Education. This award is inclusive of the school's many community service and service learning initiatives, including those that reflect an ongoing commitment to programs that impact sustainability. In addition, it encompasses our commitment to environmental education, particularly in incorporating STEAM education, civic skills, and green career pathways.
The Turning Point Family Program provides a multi-age environment that encourages continuity and builds a sense of community among faculty, staff, and students. Faculty and staff “elders” facilitate monthly Family meetings designed to help younger students benefit from interaction with older students, encourage older students to practice responsible modeling, and inspire all members of the Turning Point community to learn, share, and grow together.
One of the benefits to a Preschool-8 model of education is that it provides built-in opportunities for students of varying ages to engage with each other in authentic, inspiring interactions. Under the guidance of teachers, students in Upper Elementary and Middle School work closely with their younger classmates in Primary and Lower Elementary, developing leadership skills and taking an active role in strengthening the community. Mentors and mentees form close bonds while they take part in an integrated curriculum that includes academic problem-solving, with an emphasis on character development, fair play, ethical interactions, and positive leadership.
Student-led mentoring programs at Turning Point are mutually beneficial: They allow older students to become empathetic leaders in a unique setting, and allow our youngest students to gain confidence and learn from role models they are eager to emulate someday. As students progress through the grade levels, they naturally and eagerly transition from the mentee to mentor role—developing poise and self-confidence at a younger age than many of their peers at other schools. The bonds that are formed are strong and long-lasting, and the various mentoring programs become a highlight of the year for all involved.