Student Life

City as Classroom

We are inspired by Austin.
We are inspired by our downtown location.
We are inspired by place-based education.
Together these inspirations have pushed us to explore and engage Austin and the nature of cities. With a "local to global" approach to projects and problem solving, we put our learning in expanding contexts. We use observation, research, and reason to explore problems that matter to us, our community, and the world.

In different courses and across different ages, we are using the city as our classroom. This takes many forms––informal and formal learning, outside and inside of school, teacher-led and individual experiences, and hybrids of all of these modalities.

Why does it matter?

Inquiry-based learning combined with City as Classroom experiences leads to a student who is a peacemaker, advocate, creator, and thinker. It leads to a student who is highly engaged with the world. It leads to a Headwaters Student.

We Engage in the Following Ways:

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  • Whole Class Experiences

    Whole class experiences such as trips to the Blanton, sites of African American history, Green Gate Farms, Mexic-Arte, Barton Springs University, and many more. As well, we are out and about in our neighborhood making art, using the resources of the Central Library, enjoying parks, and eating at food trucks.
  • Self-Driven Individual Experiences

    Student-driven individual experiences such as attending UT lecture series and concerts, interning at the Capital Factory, undertaking local ethnographies, and service work
  • Deep Discussion & Problem Solving

    Engaging in deep discussion and problem solving about Austin, cities, and urban issues inside the classroom, as well as welcoming local community members and organizations on to campus.

Ted Graf, Head of School

Today, our students can walk to visit businesses like Facebook and Google, sit in on public sessions at City Hall and the State Capitol, and venture down to Shoal Creek to test water quality and observe ecosystems in action. And we are just getting started in thinking about how to integrate our programs with the city.

Spring Campus

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Creek Campus

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River Campus

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As a 501(c)3 non-profit school, Headwaters School does not discriminate because of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other classes protected by federal, state, or local law in its admissions, hiring, or board membership processes.