All units are implemented through an integrated curriculum, also known as interdisciplinary curriculum. This is "a curriculum organization which cuts across subject-matter lines to focus upon comprehensive life problems or broad based areas of study that brings together the various segments of the curriculum into meaningful association". Explore 2000’s curriculum provides a knowledge view and approach that intentionally applies methodology from more than one discipline to fully study a central theme.
There are many benefits of curriculum integration. Since the inception of the Explore 2000 program the following positive effects have been observed and are both broad-ranging and encouraging. They include:
learners’ ability to see interrelationships and a direct connection
increased engagement and enthusiasm for learning
positive attitudes in learners
greater pride and ownership in accomplishments
multiple perspectives leading to a more integrated knowledge base
more quality time for curriculum exploration
learners’ ability to apply various skills
Hudson County Schools of Technology/ Explore 2000 believes in a learner centered education constructed around the particular strengths and inclinations of each individual provided in a quality, stimulating educational environment. This Middle School program is a model setting for learning that is consistent with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards utilizing thematic, hands-on, student-centered interdisciplinary activities and accelerated learning based on real-life context. Students’ learning styles are assessed to determine appropriate learning activities. These activities and required academics are integrated into Project Based Learning.
The Program’s fundamental educational strategies:
break down traditional boundaries between disciplines
rely on team teaching
adapt to individual learners and their learning styles, unique skills and abilities
create thematic ties between school curricula and community-based resources
develop knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the environment- community and natural surroundings
provide hands-on learning experiences, often through project-based activities, field experiences and problem-solving
encourage learners to regularly use the skills of independent inquiry and original research
promote on-going learning by providing family memberships to use Liberty Science Center resources
create strong emphasis on parental/family involvement to help learners succeed in school
Explore 2000 investigates, in depth, a total of nine thematic units over a three-year period:
Outer Space- The Ultimate Frontier
The Human Body
The Living Oceans
The 20th Century
Natural Wonders of New Jersey
Choice: The power or opportunity of choosing; with choosing further defined as selection or decision after consideration.
Within the Explore 2000 Program, we use the term responsible choice to encourage individual, cooperative and community exploration and accountability.
Maximum Choice: The greatest amount of choice one can have within the parameters of the educational environment and its mission.
Educational Environment: An environment that provides a student the opportunity to reach his/her full potential academically, socially, and emotionally.
Intrinsic Motivation: The need or desire that causes a person to act. In the Explore 2000 Program, we do not rely solely on extrinsic motivators to encourage vibrant learners. We provide an environment conducive to fostering the student’s internal need and desire to learn.
Accountability: School personnel, Facilitators, parents, and students form an educational team to provide a quality education. Each member of the team upholds the responsibility to achieve that goal.
Multiple Intelligences: A theory of learning that enables the learner to process information in his/her own unique targeted style. In the Explore 2000 Program, the learner’s intelligence is assessed, promoted, and encouraged. This empowers the learner to encounter, employ, and embrace knowledge.
Assessment: The process of observing and evaluating learning. The goal of the Explore 2000 authentic assessment is to provide the learner with information needed to improve and excel academic performance.
Portfolio: A portfolio is a systematic and organized collection of a learner’s work that exhibits to others the direct evidence of a student’s efforts, achievements, and progress over a period of time.
Thematic Unit: A unit of comprehensive interactive study that will engage all learners in a Project-Based, interdisciplinary curriculum.
Rubric: A scoring guide used in subjective assessments. A rubric implies that a rule defining the criteria of an assessment system is followed in evaluation.
Process vs. Product: In the Explore 2000 Program, the academic process is the most important element of the program. The process allows students to acquire and comprehend academic knowledge. The learner can then apply this knowledge using critical thinking and problem solving skills. Then the learner can analyze and synthesize the knowledge to create a unique product. The product is a result of a performance or task. An assessment is made of student performance based on the evaluation of the product.
“It is a safe environment! My child has learned so much, became brave, and is able to talk more at home and in school” –Ali Family
“Explore 2000 is one of the warmest learning environments I’ve ever seen. They encourage the growth of the whole child and provide stimulation intellectually, creatively, and socially” –Ms. McKenna
“I’m proud to be part of the Explore 2000 family” –Mr. Pham
“We like the family feeling!” –Rivo Family
“This program is amazing, inclusive, happy and loving. Ms. Lin - Awesome!! Your staff could not be more loving” –Ms. Young
“We are so happy that Serena is a part of Explore 20000 Middle School. She is engaged, challenged and happy. As parents, we couldn’t ask for much more. We also love the accessibility to the teachers and administration” –Rekha and Sonny Dave Family
“Extremely thankful for the way my children have embraced the learning environment here at Explore 2000. They have also developed themselves and became their own individual. It’s amazing to see their growth as people. That couldn’t happen had it not been for E2K” –Ms. Vargas
“Explore 2000 is an amazing school. E2K is my family and I love going to school every day” –Sarah M.
“Explore 2000 is family oriented and I love how everyone works together. It is such a great project based school” –Christoper C.
The field experience and project work is a unique feature of Explore 2000. Also, I get to learn a lot about different topics besides math, language arts, science, etc. I get to show what I learned and my creativity in the projects that I get to choose for myself. I also have a choice to work with a partner, or individual. The expression of your creativity and knowledge can be shown to your friends and teachers to be admired or critiqued. And that’s the beauty of showing who you are, and what you can achieve. There can’t be an opportunity like this in other schools. That’s why iim thankful for these things.
The teachers help me understand new subjects. I appreciate all of my teammates that have worked with me.
I am most grateful for getting accepted in this wonderful school and having great teachers, students, and more. I thought I could never get any good education, but Explore 2000 proved me wrong they give me the education that I need and now I believe I could be successful in life. This is why I love and am thankful to be in Explore.
The best feature of our school is the loving nature of the staff here at Explore 2000. The students and teachers are always here to help me when I am having the worst of days.
Explore 2000 is truly a school that cannot be described in one word. There are too many words that could fit in that spot. It would be as if it was incompletely summed up if described in one word. Some of the words I would use to describe Explore are: unique, loving, caring, intelligent, motivating, fun, etc. I am thankful for everyone in Explore 2000 because they always motivate me, make me laugh, show me how to be a good person, challenge me, but most importantly embrace everyone’s (including me) differences.
I am thankful for the education I have and the amazing facilitators in school that are there when I always need help with something.
In my school I have a lot of amazing experiences. I’ve done wonderful things on field trips and events that I would have never done in my old school. Explore 2000 has given me a lot of joyful and exciting memories. My facilitators have helped with my learning experiences. They have done an amazing job and they still are.
Every morning I wake up happy. I’m as safe as I’ll ever be. I have my facilitators who teach us and who show us guidance. The security guards who protect us and the janitors that clean up after us. Last but not least the principal, the glue of the school! Every part to a school is important. Even the students are important because with no students there’s no one to teach. This is not only a building, but a home. A home to all students sitting here right now. We all have one shot at life and we should really use it.