Teaching Methodology

We engage our students through a variety of teaching methods. We stimulate curiosity, invite participation, challenge assumptions and address current world issues. Our teaching staff:

  • Responds and adapts to individual learning styles
  • Keeps students involved through visual, auditory and kinesthetic techniques
  • Helps students overcome limitations and obstacles
  • Generates energy and enthusiasm

Teaching Methods that Promotes Success

By designing and applying a variety of strategies within one classroom, teachers can see success at all levels of learning. Because Palo Alto Preparatory has a student to teacher ratio under 10:1, teachers can differentiate instruction with an individual student, within a small group, or with a whole class. Differentiating instruction does not mean providing separate, unrelated activities for each student, but instead providing interrelated activities that are based on student needs for the purpose of ensuring that all students come to similarly grasp a skill or idea. Simply stated, differentiation is instruction that helps students with diverse academic needs and learning styles master the same challenging academic content.

Teaching Methods that Improve Learning

When teachers differentiate instruction, they vary not only the materials students use, but also the way students interact with them. Varying instructional activities allows all students to learn the same concepts and skills with varied levels of “support, challenge, or complexity” (Tomlinson, 2000, p. 2). Differentiating does not mean teaching students one by one, as teachers plan several activity options for all of the students and not simply one for each student. Instead of generating isolated tasks, on any given day the teacher may work with the whole class, small groups, individual students, or a combination of all three. When introducing new content, for example, the teacher might address all students but make use of graphs, pictures, or primary sources, in addition to lecturing. At other times, teachers may ask the majority of students to work in pairs or independently, while the teacher assists a small group of students using questioning that encourages critical thinking or assesses the students’ level of understanding. Teachers can differentiate even in their one-on-one work with students, teaching the same concept, but using an interview with one student and flashcards with another. As always, the keys to choosing the “right” strategies are capitalizing on each student’s strengths and possessing a clear understanding of each student’s current academic needs.

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Changing Lives, Redefining Education

“I started off at a public high school with pretty decent grades, but then I faced a challenge. A challenge that every teenager has to face. To follow the right crowd? Or the wrong one? Well, I lost. I was then enrolled into Palo Alto Prep for the next school year. A school recognized for giving students a second chance.

I was faced with many challenges throughout my years at PA Prep. Challenges that helped me find myself and what I wanted in life. I have learned that with a lot of teenagers, once they go downhill they never come back. If it wasn’t for PA Prep I would have been part of that statistic. I am now in college to pursue my dream of becoming a pilot.

I owe a big thank you to Palo Alto Prep for saving me.”


Julie Davidson

Palo Alto Prep Graduate