Profound. Experiential. Real-Life Learning.

Scroll down

a Macro?

Macros redesign the class experience. Instead of having a teacher standing up front and delivering you content, Macros put you in real-world contexts where you work alongside your classmates in teams to solve actual challenges that organizations in the community are facing. These experiences account for more than half of your schedule and are designed to help you develop the creative problem-solving skills so critical to professional success today.

What Does
A Macro
Feel Like?

Take a look inside one of Hawken’s macros for 9th graders to see how it feels for students to learn complex content and a wide range of skills while working on a real-world challenge.


The ‘Why’ Behind Macros.

We know students learn best — and report the greatest sense of fulfillment — when they’re actively engaged in work that matters.

Macros were created with your learning and motivation in mind. They entrust you and your classmates to find meaningful solutions for problems faced by local partner organizations in your community.

Not only will you get to see how your work can have an impact, but you’ll emerge at the end of the process with greater self-knowledge, substantive confidence in what you’re capable of, and the curiosity and drive to tackle the next thing you want to learn. 

A Radically Different School Day

Macros meet for half the school day, several times each week. Each semester, you’ll work on multiple separate challenges with increasing complexity. And you’ll get first-hand, up-close knowledge of various partner organizations in the community.

Designed for Impact

Macros require that you learn complex content and skills as you address the challenges posed by a local partner. By the end of a Macro, you’ll have a toolkit of creative problem-solving strategies and experiences to draw on as you navigate the world beyond high school.

The Macros for 2020-21 include:

Ethics and Technology

Technology moves fast. It wasn’t too long ago that things like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, and genetically modified animals were subjects for science fiction. Now you can buy a self-driving Tesla online, your social media feed is curated by machine learning algorithms, and we’re growing meat in a lab that you can buy off the shelf at a store. It makes you wonder, “What can we do next?!”… but maybe that’s the wrong question. In this class, we’ll explore ethical challenges in technology and try to figure out what we should do next.


We live in a continuously evolving world where the pace of change is ever accelerating. Globalization, technological advancements, a changing natural world, social and political revolutions – these all constantly reshape the environment in which we live and work. While this reality is often painted in a light of doom and gloom, it also offers us a chance for rebirth and an opportunity to make things better than they were. How can we structure our industries and institutions to endure and thrive in an unpredictable future?

Movement and Belonging

We feel good when we feel a sense of belonging. In fact, this is critical to human development and, for many of us, belonging is the driving force for the decisions we make about who we are, how we express that, and why that matters to us. Throughout history, and for various reasons, groups of people have moved around. How does movement impact our sense of belonging and group identities? What happens when we don’t feel like we belong?

Talking to Strangers

Most people spend most of their time talking to people they already know. In this class, we’re going to talk to people we don’t know, and see what happens. They might surprise us with how much we have in common, frustrate us with some important differences, or confuse us with a completely different perspective. We’re going to overcome that reluctance that most of us have to engage with people we don’t know, we’ll get past that awkward phase, and we will learn how to forge real connections with lots of different people – people none of us have met yet.

To Be a Neighbor

We’re fortunate that our school sits in one of the most dynamic and historic settings in all of Cleveland: University Circle and Glenville. We enter this space with curiosity and a desire to listen to and learn from the cultural centers, the community builders, the entrepreneurs, the researchers, and the artists in our new neighborhood.

In our Macros, students learn complex skills and content by working with local partners on real-world challenges that they face. We’re grateful for their partnership.

Local organizations we have partnered with recently include:

  • Bialosky Cleveland
  • Cardboard Helicopter  
  • Living Rich 
  • The Marinucci Group 
  • Mary Bethune School 
  • Myomo 
  • Nottingham Spirk 
  • Parents in Motion 
  • Skidmark Garage 
  • United Cerebral Palsy
  • University Circle, Incorporated 
  • University Hospitals  
  • Western Reserve Historical Society

Read more about what teaming and collaboration look like at the Mastery School:


To learn more about Hawken’s Healthy Restart Plan, click here!