Human Development

Human Development is Viewpoint’s social and emotional program, which is comprised of three courses and a series of extracurricular seminars. The program offers a year-long, required class for students in ninth grade and two advanced elective courses for tenth-twelfth graders. During each year of a student’s Upper School experience, they also participate in topical seminars that explore developmentally significant elements of adolescence. Seminars are frequently facilitated in Pod Groups, groups of students who were together in ninth grade Human Development and maintain their connection through senior year by being together in homeroom each morning and Pod Group discussions four to eight times a year.

Each of these Human Development components combines developmentally necessary content with skill development as it works to cultivate the five pillars of social-emotional learning (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making).

Viewpoint’s Ninth Grade Human Development program teaches the content and skills to prepare students for social situations they may encounter during their high school years. It provides current information as it explicitly facilitates students’ decision-making abilities, and gives opportunities for experiential processing. The course is community-based, providing an arena for students to connect with one another, as well as their teacher, who serves as a point-person throughout freshman year. The class’ emphasis on community connection is reinforced in the structure of the School’s homeroom assignments: Human Development groups remain together in homerooms throughout their Upper School experiences. The skills developed over the course of this year are also further cultivated through the rest of students’ time at Viewpoint: as they strengthen self- and social-awareness, relevant content increases in depth. Lessons in Human Development cover developmentally appropriate topics, ranging from identity and allyship to sexual education and substance education. This course meets three periods in a rotation.

Advanced Human Development: 10th-12th Grades Skills -  Otherwise known as "Skills" provides students the opportunity to connect with themselves and one another as it cultivates communication and facilitation abilities. Each student practices self-awareness and sets goals for themselves in arenas that appeal to them, leading to accomplishment, fulfilment, and growth. Each class community learns to strengthen connections within the group, resulting in a safe space in class, deepened connection outside of class, and an increased feeling of belonging in the school. During the first quarter of the semester, students work on competency with communication strategies as they build relationships with one another and make movement on their personal goals. During the second quarter, students explore their leadership roles in the community, and the course shifts to discussions of cultural competency and group facilitation. The Human Development: Skills class meets during three single blocks per eight-day rotation. This single-semester course is UC-approved, and serves as a prerequisite for applying to be a Human Development Mentor.

Mentors

The Human Development: Mentors class builds on the abilities cultivated in Human Development: Skills, and further strengthens students’ leadership strengths. After the first month of developing the Mentors cohort, students are assigned to serve as student facilitators in the Ninth Grade Human Development course, a mandatory class that meets three times a rotation throughout the school year. Within the Mentors class itself, students connect with one another, set and work to accomplish personal goals, and continue developing communication skills for individual and group settings. In their role as 9th grade Mentors, students practice group facilitation, leading the 9th graders in small and large activities. For each 9th grade lesson, there is a range of involvement available to the Mentors; by the end of the enrolled semester, Mentors will have taught at least one full class.  This single-semester course meets three times per rotation in class, and students serve as facilitators in Ninth Grade Human Development at least once per eight-day rotation. The course can be taken as many times as a student wishes to enroll, and is available for Honors credit. Prerequisite: Human Development: Skills and Instructor approval. UC approval pending.