Student-centered learning

New Harmony uses a student-centered learning design to meet the educational goals of each student.

  • Each student at New Harmony is part of a small learning community of 15 students called an advisory
  • The advisory is led by an advisor, a teacher who forms individual relationships with each of the students
  • The students work with their advisor to develop an individualized learning plan based on the student’s interests.
  • Students are the center of their own learning experience so that their education is challenging and relevant.
  • Each student has the opportunity to create a project of their own design through an internship with a mentor.
  • Parents and families are engaged in the student’s learning process and enrolled in New Harmony alongside their student as resources to the school community.

This structure creates a student-centered learning model at New Harmony, where students are invested in their learning and challenged to pursue their interests by a supportive community of educators, professionals, and family members.


The New Harmony curriculum will be organized around how communities can respond to and thrive in harmony with evolving ecosystems. The issue of coastal erosion gives students ample opportunity (and reason!) to learn science, mathematics, engineering and technology–along with humanities-based studies such as political science, literature and music. Examples of academic units or projects include:

  • Exploring the various impacts of rising sea levels
  • Digging into effects on civic engagement and community development
  • Documenting social impacts like civil rights, food security and emotional wellness or analyzing their potential in different economic models

New Harmony emphasizes using project- and problem-based learning across the curriculum, with a focus on meeting college- and career-ready standards.

Projects deepen students’ academic content knowledge as they apply their learning in context, while also honing their organizational, collaboration and research skills, developing better communication with peers and adults, and working within their community.