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Innovation at Pacific Ridge

Preparing Students to Shape the Future

Innovation at Pacific Ridge is an extension of our Harkness philosophy - our program is designed to promote collaboration and critical thinking, and to prepare students for competence in a complex, rapidly changing world. Our curricular projects and STEAM initiatives apply creative thinking and an emphasis on design to projects so that students can imagine a variety of ways to use STEAM skills into adulthood. Learning meaningful, modern skills and understanding how to harness them not only prepares students for the future world, but empowers them to shape it.
    • Design, prototype, create. Test solutions to real world problems.

      Design, prototype, create. Test solutions to real world problems.

    • Program microcontrollers to create interactive experiments.

      Program microcontrollers to create interactive experiments.

    • Study coastal environment and local culture. Shape your own surfboard.

      Study coastal environment and local culture. Shape your own surfboard.

    • Create biodiesel to power lighting and sound systems for school events.

      Create biodiesel to power lighting and sound systems for school events.

    • Explore multi-functional design. Blueprint a tiny house and learn construction basics.

      Explore multi-functional design. Blueprint a tiny house and learn construction basics.

    • Hold STEM workshops for local elementary school students.

      Hold STEM workshops for local elementary school students.

    • Investigate astrophotography, microscopy, and aerial imaging. Put them to the test.

      Investigate astrophotography, microscopy, and aerial imaging. Put them to the test.

    • Build and learn to play a stringed instrument. Explore the physics of sound.

      Build and learn to play a stringed instrument. Explore the physics of sound.

STEAM in Action

Integrated STEAM courses are developed and co-taught by teachers from different disciplines or teachers who have expertise in multiple areas. Projects that are integrated into single-discipline courses are supported by our full-time Facilitator for Tech-Based Projects.


How We Do It

List of 3 items.

  • Integrated Projects

    Students are exposed to engineering, programming and design challenges through their core classes without having to take an elective class. Through these projects, students can discover an interest they may not have known they have. Examples: programming dichotomous keys and creating prosthetic hands in Life Science, building Rube Goldberg machines in Conceptual Physics.
  • Elective Classes

    A deep exploration of innovation concepts is available to both middle school and upper school students.

    Middle school students can choose from several STEAM classes as part of their electives rotation in the 3rd trimester. Offerings include classes such as Animation, Photoscience and Making Music, which includes the building of instruments and an examination of the physics of sound.

    Upper school students can take classes such as 3D Digital Design, Entrepreneurship, Nanotechnology and integrated explorations such as Surfing, Sustainability and the Sea.
  • Clubs & Service Learning

    Clubs and service groups act like incubators for student-driven initiatives. Examples of STEAM and innovation-oriented clubs include Astronomy Club, Firebird Research Institute, Science Olympiad, Programming, Robotics and more. Service Learning groups harnessing STEAM include Alternative Energy Resources, which makes biodiesel fuel to power school events, and Educating Near & Far, which hosts STEM workshops for elementary school children.

Our Innovative Environment

List of 3 items.

  • Design Thinking Theory & Application

    Design thinking is both a practice and a philosophy at Pacific Ridge. All across the curriculum, from our problem set-based math program to the overarching questions that guide Harkness discussons, design thinking helps our students grow by discussing and designing solutions to complex questions. Faculty and administrative teams also use design thinking to develop new programs and initiatives.
  • Media Exposure & Mastery

    Pacific Ridge's program incorporates media production and content creation across disciplines. Projects incorporated into the curriculum include:
    • News production
    • Website creation
    • Live broadcasting
    • Podcasts
    • Filmmaking
    • Advertising campaigns
    • Animation
    • Graphic Design
    • Multimedia projects
  • An Environment That Supports Creativity

    Numerous campus facilities provide the space and tools necessary for students to take their creative ideas to the next level:

    • Broadcasting & Recording Studios
    • Design & Fabrication Studio
    • Middle School Create Cave
    • Science and Research Labs
    • Visual & Performing Arts Studios