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Thoreau students making transactions at the Emerald City Bank

Thoreau's MicroSociety enables teachers to answer two persistent questions that students frequently ask:

“Why do I need to know this?” and “How do I fit in?”

Traditional subjects are studied through the day, then applied “on the job” during Micro. The MicroSociety program connects real-world skills with academic learning and builds on the special needs, unique character, and resources of our particular school and community. With this foundation in place, students have the base they need to succeed authentically as a citizen of a small community.

Students listen intently to directions prior to working on a group project

The MicroSociety program is the only student-based entire school reform effort of its kind. This research-based education program transforms classrooms by providing real-world context for academic learning. Students collaborate with parents, business volunteers, and teachers to create a functioning small community within the school. Students spend one hour or one class period each day in their jobs where they learn to run businesses, apply technology, develop government and social agencies, and create cultural and arts organizations. Gradually, students become immersed in the realities of a free-market economy with taxes, property concerns, income issues, and politics.

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