Delphian School Academics

Forms versus Grade Levels

Learning is the constant, time is the variable.

In many schools utilizing the grade levels system, children move through their materials based on time rather than understanding. This model leaves many children stranded with educational holes. Delphian's approach is just the opposite, where learning is the constant and time is the variable. Our students study independently on personalized academic programs, learning from their materials rather than a teacher lecturing in front of the class. While students are still grouped into classes according to their level of subject matter, each student in the class could be studying on a different course during the same learning period.

Delphian School utilizes the concept of Forms as a way of offering this type of independent learning environment while also getting excellent learning results without forcing all students to move at exactly the same pace through the material. The word form is defined as: "a set, prescribed, or customary order or method of doing something." It is also commonly used in referring to a grade or class of pupils in a British secondary school or in certain U.S. private schools.

Why Forms?

Delphian realizes each student is an individual and needs to be addressed as such in his or her education. Some students thrive at a faster pace, and some need more time. In fact, most students experience a little bit of both from month to month, depending on the subject matter, their age, or any number of variables.

Rather than place or advance a child based on age or number of months spent in one grade level, Delphian takes the approach that each level of a student's education involves the acquisition and demonstration of particular abilities and knowledge. What constitutes that knowledge and experience is the subject matter of each Form.

Delphian School has a defined set of rigorous standards which must be met for a student to complete each Form. These standards are called the Delphi Program Graduation Requirements. Though Forms can be roughly equivalent to grade levels and ages, it is possible for a younger student to move on to a higher Form once they've met all the requirements for their current Form. In this way, each student can get the full benefits from the curriculum and keep advancing as rapidly as he or she is maturing.

This type of educational format is sometimes called competency-based or proficiency-based education. In the case of the Delphi Program, we prefer mastery-based, as our students do not pass a course or finish a Form without having demonstrated 100% mastery of the key data in the material they've studied.

How Grades Levels Translate to Forms

Upper School

What our students say upon graduating...

Form 6-Entry:

"Form 6-Entry was honestly an amazing experience for me. I came to Delphian proficient in tenth grade math, English and science, but my basics were all out of whack. I really never faced that fact until I came here. I was building my education like a Jenga tower with a bunch of missing bricks. But every course I finished here was wonderful, and every time I finished another one I felt like I'd put the Jenga block back in my tower. I feel great about it and super excited for Form 6." ~C.S.

Form 6:

"I grew tremendously on Form 6! I look back at myself at the beginning of this form and see a little boy with very little integrity and small leadership qualities. I was someone who followed, which isn't a bad thing, but who I followed wasn't the best. I'm now the captain of the basketball team and an officer on student council. I now set the example for new students and those trying to improve. Now I lead my group, and I lead them to greater things. I don't just lead them to the same spot they're in or back to where they came from. While on this form I met so many great people who helped me in ways they don't even know about. I can't wait to see what Form 7 holds!" ~L.M.

Form 7:

"I cannot say I loved every moment of this form because there were a lot of tough spots for me. There was a lot of figuring out what was important to me and weighing what was the real purpose of me being here.

"It's easy to look at what you have ahead of you versus what you have already accomplished. I did this a lot, and that was something I didn't realize I was doing until the end. This was the most academically rich and radiant year of my entire life. Everything on this form was more beautiful than the last, and I learned so much.

"I feel free and truthfully like I'm already a product of this school. I know form 8 is the finishing touch, and for the first time I'm going to go into a form looking at it as an enriching and beautiful end to my high school experience versus "this is what I have to do in order to be done. Everything really does tie together. I'm not only looking back on who I was when I started Form 7 one year ago, but who I was before Delphi 3.5 years ago. I am so excited for Form 8, and I am so proud of who I've become." ~S.F.

Form 8:

"I started off my Delphian experience as a student who couldn't make his own decisions. I relied on other people to push me in the right direction and tell me what I should or should not be doing. I was great at doing what I was told to do.

"It took until nearly the end of Form 7 for me to realize that I wasn't a self-determined person. It took several meetings with my school head for me to see that I wasn't what I wanted to be in terms of what's expected of a Delphian graduate. I wasn't displaying leadership skills or taking responsibility. Integrity was something I knew about but I didn't completely demonstrate. When I finally saw this, I started making my education my own.

"On Form 8, people started noticing something different about me. More importantly, I started noticing changes in myself. For probably the first time in my life, I was making decisions that were not influenced by someone else. I studied because I was interested in the data and wanted to understand it. I helped my group, not because it would make me look better to others, but because I believed it was a group worth helping and one that I wanted to see doing well.

"I decided to and became the person that I always wanted to become.Thank you Delphian." ~A.H.

Middle and Elementary School

What our students say upon finishing...

Form 5:

"Form 5 was such an incredible journey. I started this form as a little eleven year old girl, who wasn’t confident in being completely in charge of something. I would only take on projects that I knew I could handle. I was afraid to challenge myself, and I never pushed myself further than I knew I could already go. I was afraid of failure, and I thought that I always needed to be the best. I didn’t like studying subjects that were new to me, and I didn’t like challenge. I was afraid.

"I spent two years on Form 5, and in these two years I grew so much. I began taking on projects that I wouldn’t have dreamed of tackling before. I started working with younger children on my practical projects, and this aligns with my career interest. I taught a seminar on Human Rights at a local elementary school. I worked at an elementary school in Boston, MA for four weeks over the summer, helping to tutor younger kids. I went to Mexico for two weeks to help students a school there set up their student council. I've now done did things that I wouldn’t have had the courage, knowledge or confidence to do when I first started this form.

"As I started taking on new challenges, I noticed that I started to hold a higher standard for myself. It suddenly wasn’t okay to spend a school day with little or no production on my course; I needed to be producing as much as possible. And suddenly, if I was interested in something, I somehow made it happen to get involved in it. For example, I got into an Upper School French seminar, because I really wanted to learn French, and they didn't offer the seminar for Middle School. I auditioned and made it into the Parent’s Weekend Upper School play in the same way. I joined the Middle School choir, which is something I never thought I would’ve done at the beginning of Form 5. I really started to see the importance of making my education my own.

"If there’s one thing that I’m going to take away from this form, it’s the understanding of how important it is to be self-determined, and how effectively you can use your intention to make something happen. I feel confident now that I will be able to succeed in Form 6." ~Q.B., Age 13

Form 4:

"On this form I gained so much. I gained responsibility, leadership, many things that I couldn't have done without the help of my teachers, friends, and family. I still have a lot to learn, but after this form I think I'm ready for the challenges ahead.

"I want to thank my teacher, Javier. He helped me through the big courses, like all of the history courses. I used to despise history. But Javier helped me learn to make a game out of learning history, strangely they became my favorite courses. Making a game of the courses, I starting finishing them so quickly, and really understanding and remembering everything. After that experience, I started making little games out of everything, and truthfully my form went so much faster.

"Lastly, I want to personally say to the elementary class that when Javier says don't get to close to a creek, just trust him, or else you'll find yourself drenched with your favorite hat drifting down the river.

"I don't know how to say this any better: Mom, Dad, I love you guys so much, Thank you, for everything. Everything you've done has impacted me in the best way, even though sometimes I wasn't happy about it. But it shaped who I've become. Now I'm ready for everything in front of me and ready to face the challenges of my life." ~J.H., Age 11

Form 3:

"I learned a lot on Form 3, but what I liked the most was the books I read. I liked how the authors described everything so well. I also liked all the courses and learning Math Facts on the Computer.

"The course I liked the most was Light Bulbs, Switches and Batteries. The only thing on that checksheet that I didn't get was Ohm's Law. I didn't really get Ohm's Law. Then after I missed it on my exam, the examiner told me to re-read the section on Ohm's Law again, and after that I felt good about understanding it. So then I went upstairs to the Science Lab and showed Dave, the lab supervisor, what Ohm's Law was, and I knew I really got it that time.

"I really want to thank my supervisor for helping me with improving my Study Tech and making me a better student. But mainly thank you MOM and DAD!!!!!!!!!!!" ~S.S.

Lower School