Middle School Cohort

Introducing: The Middle School Cohort  at The LOFT!

Introducing: The Middle School Cohort  at The LOFT!

Cohort – NOUN:  Group whose members share a significant experience at a certain period of time or have one or more similar characteristics.

The Middle School Cohort is a progressive, project based, academic program designed to develop critical thinkers and learners while expanding social skills during these early teenage years.

The Middle School Cohort is designed to build a community of inquiry over the course of a year. 21st century skills will be developed through collaboration, research, questioning, and analyzing with peers in all academic areas from science and math to reading, writing, and philosophy!

As members of the Cohort pursue their studies, they will receive guidance and support from co-teachers, Rick Sharp and Dilette Chiprin. Together, Rick and Dilette bring over 45 years of experience as masters of leading constructivist style learning, social-emotional development, and problem solving skills. Rick and Dilette’s approach combines a student and teacher lead project based learning (PBL) experience for students to develop into joyful learners.


Click here to download our Middle School Cohort flyer.

Middle School Cohort – Session 1: Believing is Seeing

Description: Do we “Believe what we see?” or “See what we believe?” So much to think about! In this extended 4 hour per day, two days per week “super lab” we will come together to study the science of vision and illusions. We’ll dissect sheep and cow eyes, meet in a conference of “vision researchers” to share and discuss our theories and research, investigate the relationship of the eye, brain, and ‘mind’, and see how we can become confused by the interplay of the three. But “seeing” is more than light and lenses, it is also a social and intrapersonal phenomenon. Can we be fooled there too? How do these kinds of illusions affect us? Our goal is to build a Culture of Thinking from which we will investigate emergent interests, issues, and problems in a trusting environment of engaged learners that leads us forward into a sustained Community of Inquiry over the coming sessions of the year.

Note: For this course, it is important that we not read about, study, or do any research regarding eyes, brains, vision, illusion, brain differences, etc. before the class begins. Our goal is to be scientists NOT students.

Meet the Facilitators:

Rick Sharp

Rick Sharp has trained with Matthew Lipman who founded the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, with Marshall Rosenberg in Nonviolent Communication (NVC), in Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training model, with Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Effective Families, Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt’s Giving the Love that Heals, as well as several Dan Seigel workshops. He has a BA in Philosophy and has done graduate work at Claremont Graduate School.

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Dilette Chiprin

Dilette Chiprin adds an essential quality to the Cohort facilitation team. With a BS in Psychology, a Masters in Social Work, and Licensure as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Dilette is abundantly qualified as a cohort teacher for early teens. She has experience as a school psychologist, parent trainer, and facilitated therapeutic interventions for school-age students. For the past 8 years, Dilette has worked full-time in the classroom with Rick at del Sol School. She brings to the team important skills in social and emotional learning, as well as critical academic support and differentiation.

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Cohort Requirements:

Inclusion in this program is based on an application and a family interview to ensure a good fit. True to our mission statement, class size will be limited to an 8 to 1 teacher:student ratio. The Middle School Cohort is designed to build a community of inquiry over the course of the academic year. As such, students are highly encouraged to attend all four sessions between August 2019 to June 2020.


Rick S. and Dilette C. as co-teachers for the Cohort


Session #1 – Monday, August 26 to October 18, 2019
This is session 1 of 4 for the 2019/2020 academic year

Meeting Days:

Mondays and Thursdays – 2 days per week


11:30 am to 3:30 pm


$ 1,060.00 for Session 1 – (as this is a new program, a discounted rate of $960.00 is offered if enrolled by August 23, 2019)

Number of Meetings:

15 meetings (spanning 8 weeks)


No class on Labor Day, September 2nd

Home Practice:

Yes, approximately 1.5 – 3 hours per week


Please purchase book prior to first day of attendance. A Mango Shaped Space, by Wendy Mass (IMPORTANT: Don’t begin reading without us!). Sheep and Cow eyes…No?…OK, we’ll provide them.


The Cohort will make use of Chromebooks in their project work. If you do not have a Chromebook or access to a computer with a Chrome browser, we have a limited number that can be used while at The Loft. If you would like to take one home, a Cromebook can be rented for the session.

Topics covered:

Science, Physiology (dissection), Neuroscience, Reading, Writing

Work journal support:

Work samples and description of class progress will be provided via Google Docs for you to fulfill DVC work journals or charter school proof of learning requirements.

Grade Target:

6th – 8th Cohort (5th and 9th withCohort Director’s approval)

Topics covered:

Science, Physiology (dissection), Neuroscience, Reading, Writing


The Middle School Cohort is designed to build a community of inquiry over the course of the academic year. As such, students are highly encouraged to attend all four sessions from August 2019 to June 2020.

Please have your student print and complete the “Student Questionnaire” document to bring with them during their interview.

Download the “Student Questionnaire”

Parent Application for Middle School Cohort

  • Please enter a number from 1 to 18.
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  • After completing the form you will receive a confirmation email that your application was received. This email will also contain a Document "Student Questionnaire" that should be printed and completed by the student and brought with them to their interview. You can also download the document by clicking here:
    Student Questionnaire