Downtown School entrance.


Based on current research and proven educational practices that are responsive to the changing needs of the community, the Downtown School will provide a project-based, active learning educational experience.

Mission Statement:

The Downtown School, in collaboration with parents and the business community, will provide a diverse, experience-based, active learning environment that ensures each child learns and thrives within the changing world around them.

The Downtown School

The Downtown School is a place where students learn – – unencumbered by desks, through authentic, real-world projects, not limited by information between the covers of a textbook.

Experience-Based, Active Learning – Teachers create a rigorous environment that engage students in solving real-world problems and answering complex questions.  Students develop deep content knowledge through critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

Community Partnership – Partnerships with families and the business community engage students authentically through a process of sustained inquiry, where students are asking questions, learning from experts, and applying their learning in a real-world context.

Science of Reading– The Downtown School provides a structured learning approach based on what research has shown to be current best practices in elementary education around the science of reading.

Small Class Size – Classes average between sixteen and twenty-two students. This allows teachers to develop strong relationships with students and families and differentiate instruction specifically suited to the needs of individuals.

Multi-Year Loop – Students spend two academic years with the same teachers to enhance social and academic growth guided by continuous goals, established relationships,  familiar expectations, and family connections.

Extended Calendar – Downtown School has a shorter summer break and more frequent breaks throughout the school year, but includes the same number of academic days/hours as DMPS.

Three-Way Conferences – Students, teachers and parents review accomplishments and develop goals for the student, during student-led conferences three times a year.

Assessment – Individual student portfolios are maintained to benchmark progress throughout a student’s elementary experience and are shared at conferences by the student throughout their years with DTS.  In addition to state standardized testing, performance-based and skill-based tests are used to assess student achievement throughout a student’s K-5 journey.

Parental Involvement – The downtown location is convenient for parents to keep in touch with their child and strengthen communication with educators.   Activities are often scheduled during the school day to engage parents as an active part of the classroom.  Parents are encouraged to visit their child during the school day – many stop by over lunch or for special classroom activities.  Parental involvement is key to the success of each child and the Downtown School.

Learn more about Project Based Learning at the Downtown School here.