Seven Hills School - Experiential Learning

The Seven Hills Experiential Learning program grew out of the desire to provide an education that nurtures individual strengths and interests, and the recognition that a student’s educational experience should extend beyond our campus. In addition, we wanted to create pathways within a coherent structure that would allow students to pursue an area of interest to a deep and meaningful level.

The program is best summarized by the mission statement:

By the time every student leaves Seven Hills we will help him/her to develop
self-awareness of where his/her interests lie, facilitate exploration of those
interests, and provide him/her with pertinent real world experiences, so that
he/she has the confidence to explore and embrace life beyond high school.

Specific objectives of the Experiential Learning program

  1. In a very deliberate fashion, help students increase their self-awareness around areas of strength, interests, and intrinsic motivators.
  2. Guide students towards real world experiences that allow them to pursue interests and develop strengths.
  3. For those interested students, facilitate pursuit of a “Concentration” in one of the following areas or some other area of interest: Community Engagement, Environmental Stewardship, Global Citizenship, Political Engagement, The Arts, Technology and Innovation, Engineering and Design, Integrated Wellness, or Written Expression.


Existing programs have been combined with new initiatives to create the coherent model depicted in this diagram:


The financial support from an E.E. Ford grant has helped launch our “May Term Intensives,” scheduled to start in May, 2018. These weeklong courses are interdisciplinary and team-taught; they go beyond the core curriculum and will draw on resources available within Cincinnati. Many of them include a service component, thus enabling a deeper connection to our city. They fit within the “Exploration” phase of the Experiential Learning model and will allow students to delve deeply into an area of interest.

Our faculty have worked diligently for over two years to prepare for the launch of this new venture. Courses have been proposed and modified, and detailed planning is almost complete. Here are some examples of courses on offer:

  • You Are What You Eat – how food and culture intersect. Students will visit restaurants, markets, and local farms, and will prepare food for a local soup kitchen.
  • GOOOOAAAAL! FC Cincinnati – the ins and outs of running a professional sports team. After working with the staff at FC Cincinnati, students will produce a community service promotional video.
  • Is Your Future in Medicine – exploring the various opportunities within the healthcare system.
  • The Writing is on the Wall – creating a mural. A tour of Cincinnati’s existing murals with a professional artist will set the stage for creating a mural on our campus.
  • Guilty Until Proven Innocent: Wrongful Convictions in America – an in-depth study of this issue including collaboration and assistance with The Innocence Project.
  • Art, Architecture, and the Parks of Cincinnati - exploring the visual history of the city through its arts, architecture, and open spaces. Students will volunteer at a local park.
  • Cincinnati: City of Immigrants – understanding the role of immigration in Cincinnati’s history and community, with time spent serving at agencies that serve our current immigrants.
  • Making Radio - an introduction to digital storytelling. Students will create promotional videos for local nonprofits.

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