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Choose To: Independent Study (5th-8th graders)

April 28, 2020 | Abby Hall Choi

Ms. Sanders and I were talking the other day. We were talking about how we continue to get ready for high school even now. 

Ms. Sanders has been talking with lots of high schools. She is learning that high schools will probably look at how you explored and further developed your interests during this period of distance learning. 

High schools will probably alter their essay questions to learn more about how you explored and learned during this new environment. 

One way to grow your independence and creative problem solving is through exploring something you are interested in. And designing a project around your interest. 

  • You might learn more about an event or time period or person. 
  • Maybe you want to listen to as many audio books as you can while walking around your apartment. 
  • You might practice and grow better at a skill. 
  • Maybe you want to learn through helping your community (from a safe distance!). 

To help facilitate your explorations, I am opening up an independent study group. 

You will be in charge of your own learning. I will check in with you, cheer you on and ask you questions.  If you persist with your project and come out with a product you are proud of, 

  • I will add a narrative to your progress report. 
  • you will have clear answers for your high schools. 
  • you will invest in your own interest and learning! (This is the most important reason!)

How much you invest and what you do will be up to you! 

We know that each family is uniquely experiencing this time.

For now, independent study will be beneficial for those students and families who are finding the current workload too easy. If you find that your work isn’t filling your school week, you would want to consider doing an independent study project. 

If the current workload is filling your time and attention, then you are already developing as a student. You will be able to share that with high schools. You will be able to share how you navigated google classroom, google calendar, multiple teachers, competing deadlines. We are doing complex things already! 

I can’t wait to see what you explore and create with even more independence! 

(I will email you a google form to fill out to join the class. You will need to complete the google form to sign up by 4:00 on Friday, May 1st.)


Let me know on the google form on Wednesday. 

(I will email you!) 


Abby Hall Choi

Head of School

Abby Hall Choi has a Masters in Social Organizational Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education from Covenant College. She is also completing a Certificate in School Management & Leadership from Harvard University. As she helped lead Mustard Seed School’s NJAIS accreditation efforts and our most recent strategic plan development, she has gotten to apply and grow her learning. 

Ms. Hall Choi has worked as a fifth-grade teacher and a multi-grade fourth-fifth grade teacher. She has held several administrative roles including Middle School Director, Director of School Initiatives and Improvement, and Assistant Middle School Director.

She likes thinking about how people work together. She enjoys leading work and conversations that enable our community to thrive because we work through complex problems together.

Ms. Hall Choi values caring for the whole person. She believes it’s most important that everyone knows they are a child of God and loved all the time, no matter what. 

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