Join the Cohort Crew and be part of an engaging, project-based, academic program designed for early teens

Building a Learning Community for Early Teenagers!

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

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

The 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!

Building a Community for Teens

The Cohort program is designed for a small group of early teenagers to move through the yearlong curriculum together.  The consistency of the cohort members and the length of time they spend together builds trust and promotes deep learning and lively discussions.  The topics are designed to exercise academic muscle and promote critical thinking as well as social and emotional learning.

The Facilitators

As members of the Cohort pursue their studies, they will receive guidance and support from superstar 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 Cohort flyer.

The Cohort – 2021/22: The Science of Fear: Why We Fear The Things We Shouldn’t

Description:  Where does fear come from? What are its evolutionary, neurological, psycho-social roots? And, most importantly, why do we fear the things we shouldn’t and put ourselves in greater danger? In this extended 4 hour per day, two days per week “super lab” we will come together to study the science of fear. We are the healthiest, wealthiest, and longest-lived people in history. YET we are increasingly afraid. Our prehistoric brain evolved with powerful “fear circuits” which served our ancestors well. But, what happens when this prehistoric refugee meets our modern world? A world not of saber-toothed tigers, but of planes and trains, schools and board rooms, cell phones and social media. Through experimentation, research, statistics and probabilities, and even literary fiction, we will investigate the role, both positive and negative, fear plays in our lives and how it is affected by the genes we inherit (and how to rewire our brains), the society we live in (who profits from fear?), and the narratives we construct (the thoughts that bind us and how to create new stories).

Don’t be afraid to join us! This will be an engaging, fun-filled, and thought provoking class.

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.

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 to June.


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


Session 1 2021 runs from August 23 to October 15
This is session 1 of 4 for the 2021/2022 academic year

Meeting Days:

Tuesday and Wednesday – 2 days per week


11:30 am to 3:20 pm


$ 975.00 per session (4 sessions per year)


For Session #1, the Cohort Crew will meet 16 times spanning 8 weeks between August to October.  Each meeting is 4 hours for a total of 64 hours of in-person meetings.

Home Practice:

Yes, approximately 1.5 – 3 hours per week



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.

Topics covered:

Science, Neuroscience, Reading, Writing, Social & Emotional Learning, Critical Thinking, and Problem Solving

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:

7th – 8th Cohort (6th and 9th with Cohort Director’s approval)


The 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 during the academic year.

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 The Cohort