Proof School offers a transformative liberal arts education to young people with an active curiosity and a passion for mathematics, equipping them to reason, communicate, and positively impact their world.
Our mission reflects how deeply we believe that every student needs to engage enthusiastically with a range of core subjects. Our goal is to help build a broad foundation for learning inside our classrooms and outside of our school. We've designed a curriculum that speaks to kids who love to think critically, learn socially, and solve problems.
These six premises guide how we carry out the school's mission.
Our core principles establish expectations of all Proof School students, faculty, staff, and families.
We divide the school year into five units, each lasting six weeks. This helps us define learning goals that are challenging yet attainable, and it shows students how to break down larger problems into manageable pieces.
For mathematical sciences, an entire semester of learning happens within a single block, giving students five semesters of math instruction each year. Our core morning courses span the entire year. With projects, writing prompts, and learning goals shifting every six weeks, our block system shapes these year-long courses as well.
Build Weeks bridge one block to the next and help create a unique learning environment. These weeks transition us from studying subjects to making connections between disciplines. They open up our schedule and allow us to dive into activities that help us grow intellectually, socially, and ethically.
We have math bursts to work on open problems, engineering sessions to build hovercrafts and fog machines, and time to go on all-day field trips to places like the California Academy of Science. Each year, the entire school devotes one Build Week to kindness, community, and service.
During Build Weeks, we advise students to match them to suitable math courses during the next block, ask students to reflect on their own growth and goals, and work on all-school challenges and games to build a sense of community.
Proof School Symposia
At various points throughout the year, we invite our community to come together for presentations of student work. In December, our upper-class students begin showcasing their independent studies and projects. The entire school participates in a math symposium in the second half of the year that is equal parts research, problem solving, and multi-modal communication skills. We conclude the school year with an event featuring student work from our morning courses.
The day at Proof School starts at 9:20am and ends at 3:40pm. Our day is timed to public transportation schedules (BART, CalTrain, and the various ferries) to allow for commutes. Students are welcome in the building from 8:30am to 5:00pm.
Students take four morning courses per block. They meet on alternate mornings (MW or TTH) in class meetings lasting 70 - 90 minutes. This allows students and teachers to explore, learn, and work in a substantive and sustained way, without the typical disruption of resettling into a new classroom every 45 minutes. Combined with Flex Fridays, Build Week projects, academic clubs, and our special speaker series, each morning course meets for an average of 220 minutes per week.
Entire afternoons are devoted to math. With 11 hours of math per week, students have 66 contact hours in mathematics per block, covering an amount of material equivalent to half a year in a conventional classroom. Our math classes emphasize inquiry with active engagement, and stress conceptual understanding alongside skill mastery. Individual work occurs during class, in the presence of a teacher and peers who make it possible to successfully tackle challenging material.
We embrace time for curiosity, extended projects, and explorations that take us beyond our school walls. Half of each Friday is reserved for field trips, maker events, build days, one-on-one student conferences, and open work days.
Lunch is a key time for us to interact as a community, pursue our particular interests, have fun, and work one-on-one. Twice a week, students participate in clubs during a longer lunch period, and we often devote part of lunch to special workshops or speakers.
That includes students, faculty, and staff as well as the various boards steering our long-term trajectory.
Our school leadership oversees the daily learning environment at Proof School.
Our faculty are as unique as our students, and carry out the central mission of the school.
Our amazing staff makes sure the school runs, the kids are safe and fed, and the lights are on (sometimes literally).
Our Board of Directors ensures the long-term health of the school.
Our Advisory Boards help us develop in a range of areas, from admissions and curriculum to strategic vision. Members include the President of Harvey Mudd College, the President of the Mathematical Association of America, the founder of the Art of Problem Solving, a professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a founding board member of the International Big History Association.
For a full list of our advisory boards, please go here.
If you know how to inspire talented kids to grow beyond everyone's expectations, get in touch with us.
Next year, we expect to have openings in math, biology, and Latin.