Seattle School for Boys offers a balanced curriculum that prepares students for a variety of high school learning and social environments.
SSB’s qualified teachers ensure that our students are challenged in the standard core subjects of math, science, language arts and the humanities.
Students also choose electives such as music, art, agriculture, cooking, and other endeavors.
SSB Curricular Framework
Unique to Seattle School for Boys is our SSB Curricular Framework, a research-based framework designed specifically for middle school boys. The SSB Curricular Framework enacts our mission, values, and is our primary vehicle for speaking to, guiding, and educating our students to be the best versions of themselves.
Implemented in four thematic phases during the academic year, with each theme building off of one another throughout the three middle school years, the SSB Curricular Framework is part of daily life at SSB.
Our curricular framework centers around Social-Emotional-Learning (SEL):
Me sixth grade: "Who am I and why do I think the way that I do?"
We/Us seventh grade: "What are my interpersonal skills? How do I engage with my peers to create the environments we desire?"
Them eighth grade: "How can I support my community to create the outcomes that it needs?"
A key to the Seattle School for Boys curriculum is cross-curricular learning. Our teachers work together to develop an integrated approach for students across subjects and classrooms.
Not only do our students gain a solid foundation in core competencies, but they also develop skills to grow into compassionate leaders and trusted team members. And all the while, our students stay engaged and interested in joyful learning!
At Seattle School for Boys, the four walls of the typical classroom give way to experiential learning. SSB students learn to express themselves, challenge themselves, challenge stereotypes, learn from mistakes, care for others, and champion social justice.
With small classes, expert educators, and a caring community, SSB provides an innovative interdisciplinary approach along with leadership opportunities, integrated arts, and community projects.
Students utilize the many public parks and spaces nearby. This year, students are helping build our Rain Garden across the street from the school, with the support of community partners Nurturing Roots, Dynamic Waters and the Community Day Center for Children.
Our program is based on the pillars shown below.
- Early and often, students are taught about the functions and anatomy of the brain.
- Research-based models that apply important neuroscience techniques
- Students learn healthy habits of mind that promote sound reasoning, thoughtful actions, and critical thinking
- Experiential learning focuses on creating new neural pathways to optimize learning and performance. Quoting neuropsychologist, Donald Hebb, “Cells that wire together, fire together”.
- Anti-racist teaching and learning
- Teachers routinely engage in our Anti-Racist Challenge cycle to practice anti-racism daily
- Pedagogy is culturally inclusive throughout all subjects
- In problem-based learning, students study inequitable policies and systems of oppression, then work together to create solutions.
Social and emotional development
- Our partnership with One Love focuses specifically on boys’ social and emotional development during the middle school years
- We foster empathy, accountability, and openness.
- We eliminate labels and social stratification through routine student self-reflection and employ a narrative grading process
- A warm and inclusive learning environment supported by our SSB B.R.A.V.E. Matrix
- Problem-based assignments directly connected with local organizations to give students real-world experiences
- Engage with diverse environments to heighten intra-personal and inter-personal awareness
- Building the foundation for life-long learning
- Preparing our students for high school and beyond
To promote interdisciplinary teaching, experiential learning, and meeting boys where students have four 65-minute periods every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. We believe having fewer classes in a day maximizes deep learning opportunities and minimizes cognitive overload.
Student engage in Wellness and Community Period to focus on individual SEL development and community civil engagement. The periods boost healthy socialization with teachers and peers.
Many teens have become more connected to their screens than their natural environment. We believe human interaction is key to building compassionate behaviors. At SSB phones are stored away until the end of the day and technology is used to acquire and extend academic knowledge.
Transition time & organizational support
Advisory groups and highlighted strategies intended to support organization and executive function.
Athletics & After School Activities
Athletics during PE programs rotating in fall (Cross Country and Ultimate), winter (Basketball and ESports), and spring (Student Choice). Physical education programs and movement with outside vendors throughout the school year, addressing both physical and psychological components.
Discussions of various “isms” and social/emotional support and guidance.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines of their education, each SSB student takes an active role in the progress of their academic journey. We use standards-based grading (1-4 system) with narrative assesments.
Core subjects are centered around critical thinking, checkpoints, and creative solutions, which include lots of binary, factual information. Plenty of quizzes and tests are administered to provide teachers with accurate assessments of learning that align with individualized student growth goals. For the benefit of our students, however, our teachers go beyond the quantifiable, carefully articulating in narrative form the skills mastered, concept understood, and outcomes achieved for each student.
These narrative assessments are generated three times during the school year, following the culmination of each phase of the SSB Curricular Framework, with three mid-quarter check-ins between narrative assessments.
Connected with the three narrative assessments are student-led conferences. Each student prepares in advance for their conference, celebrating academic achievements, social and emotional growth, and intangible progress. Moreover, students weave their learning to mid-term and long-term goals.
A day in the life of a 6th grader:
1st Period - Advisory
At the beginning of each day, students participates in a check-in with their Advisor. With their advisor, students review their daily planner and schedule for the day.
2nd Period - Wellness
In their grade level wellness groups, students are discussing relationships. Exploring what positive and negative relationships look like. Students learn tools for identifying these relationships and how to work with peers to forest relationships and interactions they desirer.
3rd Period - Math
Students are working with statistics. They are introduced to mean, average, and deviation. Using real world data, the class is looking at weather temperatures to determine averages in specific months and counting candy from five different companies to identify deviation in favor offers per package.
4th Period - Language Arts
Mr. Garica has students working on non-fiction text structures. Students are focusing their text structures around the human body and its functions. This supports their work in science as they are learning about the brain.
5th Period - Lunch
Students eat lunch in the commons prior to choosing from indoor and outdoor activities ranging from ping pong, board games, or a trip to the park.
6th Period - Physical Education
In Cross Country, students ran a course around Pratt Park. After running, students sit and take in the suns energy during a mindfulness exercise prior to walking back to campus.
7th Period - Social Studies
Mr. Garcia has the class going through their day-two observations of their mummified apples. As part of their S.T.E.A.M. project, students also designed a sarcophagus to connect with the their work in the study of Egyptian culture.
8th Period - Science
Students are learning about the heart and circulatory system. Mr. Donoso, has students utilizing their digital notebooks and practicing the Cornell note taking method.
By each year
In four thematic phases over the academic year, our 6th graders learn how the brain works, how it changes during the learning process, and how it is impacted by nutrition, exercise, sleep, environment, and stress. Moreover, students learn brain hacks to optimize their learning as middle school students.
The SSB Learning Cycle is introduced. Students explore concepts of self-awareness and self-expression, with routine opportunities for personal reflections, realizations, and revised thoughts. Developing self-awareness evolves into thoughts and feelings around interpersonal awareness, and the study of and integration with various cultures and communities while making time for authentic connections. The year culminates with keystone projects that allow each student to creatively share their collective learning experiences from the year and how it has prepared them for next year.
Building from the previous year, our 7th graders begin the year learning to move beyond stereotypes and social messages around unhealthy masculinity, instead focusing on positive character development and a thorough understanding of respect and empathy. The next phase helps our students practice resiliency, manage stress, and overcome adversity, while teaching them appropriate language when met with unfavorable outcomes and allowing them to move away from stratifying labels. The study covers their own and others’ culture and history, broadening students’ perspectives and helping to strengthen their intrinsic motivation and motivation and a sense of invested interest in the environment around them. Connecting character, resilience, and culture, our 7th graders close out the year by collectively setting goals to address the global challenges we face.
Growing from the seeds well planted and nourished in 6th and 7th grades, the 8th grade year has a strong outside focus. Students grasp the importance of wellbeing through the sense of belonging to a greater community, fostered by empathy and compassion, helping students to become adept at building and sustaining healthy relationships inside and outside of the classroom.
As our students begin to think about high school, they strengthen their understanding of positive social circles, comparing and contrasting real-world versus virtual relationships.
Additionally, students tackle serious societal issues, current events, designing solutions and partnering closely with community groups. The final year culminates with the concept of choice and sound decision-making. 8th graders reflect on their middle school experience and collectively create a legacy that celebrates healthy communication, a balanced confidence, and a genuine commitment to community.
"You should try new things, even if you aren’t so sure about them at first. It’s important to be brave and explore different new activities. This is one thing I have learned about myself during my time at SSB.”
"SSB is a really special school. It’s breaking norms set by society, and encouraging and teaching boys how to be themselves.”
You know an SSB graduate by the way they...
Graduates grow in their ability to express themselves—emotionally, academically and socially. Emotionally, graduates learn to check-in with themselves and understand their emotions and express their needs. In an academic setting, graduates articulate claims with evidence while listening to multiple perspectives. When around others, Seattle School for Boys graduates learn to be aware of the space they occupy and work to promote other voices.
Graduates spend three years learning how to access their own strengths and prior knowledge, while understanding how to bring in new perspectives and evaluate resources. Through this learning cycle, graduates practice solving real community-based problems and build a resilience to set backs. Graduates understand that all problems can be approached with the support community members and understand how to ask for help.
After spending three years in a small, close knit community, graduates are thinking about the well being of others. As new students, they see older students and faculty members modeling the verbal and physical support that everyone needs. Through intentional activities that require each student to see where they need support, graduates understand that all students need support. Graduates practice active empathy to think of the needs of others, and listen to those that are most vulnerable. Every day students support friends, neighbors, family members and teammates.