The Headwaters School PACT

At Headwaters we invite our students guides staff parents and trustees to be Peacemakers Advocates Creators and Thinkers. At our middle and high school we use this PACT as a roadmap for our academic and extracurricular experiences and we encourage our students to reflect upon their growth in each of these areas throughout the year.


Why We Call Our Teachers Guides

As in our lower Montessori programs we think of our teachers as guides. They understand that ultimately the education is the student’s and the guide’s job is to point students in the right direction to challenge assumptions to create an environment where real inquiry and discovery can happen. At Headwaters we believe that student agency is essential for authentic learning. We promote collaboration and communication depth over breadth and genuine engagement. In all of our classrooms you will find inspired and inspiring guides focused on scaffolding the learning process to help students prepare for a lifetime of learning.

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Middle School Reimagined

We work hard in our middle school to create an environment that allows students to be curious take risks stretch their limits and make mistakes. We believe that the job of our guides is not to simply impart knowledge but to help students make meaning from knowledge. Most of all we believe that joy is a key component of learning and we work to help students maintain that spark as they navigate these years.


City as Classroom

Our campus is located on a tree-lined block in the heart of downtown Austin. We are blocks from the State Capitol City Hall Central Library Shoal Creek Waller Creek Lake Austin and the business district. Our vision is an upper school program that is deeply integrated with civic tech environmental and service opportunities for our students beyond the walls of our schools. We believe this creates a unique opportunity for our students.

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“Today our students can walk to visit businesses like Facebook and Google sit in on public sessions at City Hall and the State Capitol and venture down to the Lake to test water quality and observe ecosystems in action. And we are just getting started integrating our programs with the city” says Head of School Ted Graf.


Project Week

Every year each Headwaters student invests in a personal project. Students pick their topics in late fall and develop their ideas through early spring. The actual Project Week happens directly before Spring Break when all formal classes are suspended and full-time attention goes to the Project Week endeavor. Every student then shares their presentation with the community in our Project Week Fair. Project Week encourages students to pursue their passions––many students use the opportunity to explore practical forms of learning and real-world careers. The Project Week structure requires that students develop planning and organizational skills which enhance over time.


The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Headwaters is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the Diploma Programme in 11th and 12th grades. IB schools share a common philosophy––a commitment to high quality challenging international education that Headwaters believes is important for our students. The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. At Headwaters we have added our own unique take on the IB Programme with enhancements like the Senior Colloquium an annual event that shines a spotlight on our seniors’ capstone research projects.

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Personalized College Planning

During 11th and 12th grades our college counselor provides Headwaters families with individual guidance on the college planning and application process. Our main goal is to ensure we are meeting the needs of each student and family. We accomplish this through numerous parent and student events focusing on the application process and the role of admissions testing college counseling class in 11th and 12th grade and private counseling meetings as well as testing events on our campus. Our students use Naviance and SchoolLinks to support their organization during this process. Dozens of college recruiters from universities around the country visit our campus throughout the school year.

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Learn more about the Headwaters Purpose Promise and PACT here: