The role of a teacher in a progressive school is more complicated than in a traditional school relying on texts, lectures and standardized tests. Indeed, some believe that, as effective as they are, the reason progressive teaching practices are not de rigueur is that they are very difficult to implement. To appreciate the underlying structure of the project-based academic program at Park Day is to see how curriculum emerges from the knowledge and understanding that the teachers have about their students.
Teachers plan an academic curriculum that both meets or exceeds state curriculum guidelines, and is engaging, challenging and directed toward learning outcomes. Teaching materials are often created by the teachers themselves. Each grade level covers major units of study. Within these frameworks, teachers have the freedom to explore a particular sub-theme. Ongoing discussion and collaboration among teachers ensure coordination among the different grade levels.