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Project Based Learning – a Primer

Project Based Learning (PBL) has been a signature program at JRHS since the school opened in the early 90’s. PBL is an expression of a core belief at JRHS – that good, lasting and meaningful learning, must have a multidimensional, hands-on component.

Jesse students are trained and challenged with things of the mind, this is the academic side of learning; but PBL is all about skills learning – the combination of the mind and the hands.

Each quarter, a student is engaged in a small group project, where they are developing, creating, or building something.

Each project offers a very specific skill, perhaps:

  • Drawing, painting, building, coding, singing or speaking;

  • Forming something out of leather, glass, metal, wood or plastic;

  • Identify things in the environment


Yet, within each project are all the latent benefits, the transferable skills that offer increased value into the next part of life. In the workplace, these are often called the Soft Skills or the Essential Skills. Consider:

  • Collaboration

  • Problem Solving

  • Creativity

  • Perseverance and adaptability

  • Presenting, defending or advocating

  • Grit

  • Communication

  • Organization

  • Critical Thinking

  • Leadership

  • Time and Stress Management

These are the skills we are passionate about building into our students, and this is why we host projects as diverse at the Humanities Faire, Maple Syrup, Sound Design, Jewelry, World Policy Debate, Timber Frame Construction, Ornithology, 3D Printing, Drama and the host of other legacy JRHS projects. 

Jesse students graduate a step up from their peers because they have had all the value of a traditional academic education, coupled with the richness and value of PBL. The Academic Program at JRHS makes for a great College Resume; the PBL Program at JRHS makes for a great Life Resume. 


In the month of March, we are going to show you some of the projects underway this term. PBL is integral in fulfilling the mission of JRHS: to guide them towards wisdom, knowledge and understanding, and to build leadership capacity in every student.

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