Cardigan Mountain School A boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 9


Student filling out his daily study planner

Helping each boy become a better, more efficient learner and self-advocate.

PEAKS stands for Personalized Education for the Acquisition of Knowledge and Skills®. Through guided self-development, Cardigan's PEAKS Coaches teach boys to be better learners while focusing on a holistic perspective that includes mind, brain, wellness, and education.

PEAKS courses help each student understand the interrelated factors that impact learning with a particular focus on applying this information to the discovery of how he learns best. Students learn to identify their individual strengths and challenges as they learn to advocate for themselves.

Watch: Students Explain PEAKS

Habits of Learning

At the core of the PEAKS Department and Cardigan's curriculum in general are the habits of learning we instill in each boy:

  • Growth Mindset – students will focus on improvement and understand that intelligence can be developed. We teach growth mindset through:
    • problem solving
    • resilience
    • open-mindedness

  • Self-Awareness – students will manage themselves and reflect on their decisions.
  • Coexistence – students will peacefully and productively collaborate with others.

  • Critical Thinking – students will question and analyze information to draw conclusions.
  • Communication – students will articulate ideas with clarity and precision through a variety of media.
  • Ownership – students will advocate for themselves and take responsibility for their life and learning.
  • Creativity – students will explore and imagine.

PEAKS Curriculum at a Glance

  • Acclimatizing to boarding school life
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Social skills
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Collaboration with peers
  • Developing self-advocacy skills with teachers
  • Becoming a lifelong learner
  • Transitioning to secondary school

Who Takes PEAKS?

All Cardigan students in all grades take PEAKS. Students attend their PEAKS core class four days each week and, with the help of their PEAKS Coach, explore ways to employ effective strategies for leading more productive lives—in their academics and beyond. The curriculum focuses on the skills students need in order to be successful at Cardigan, including study skills, technology, and wellness.

Coaches and Mentors

In addition to teaching classes, PEAKS Coaches act as secondary advisors and mentors. Whether it’s working one-on-one on a math problem or providing an opportunity for students to express their feelings, the role of the PEAKS coach outside of the classroom manifests itself in numerous ways. In addition, PEAKS coaches observe their students in other classes and in other areas of school life, and they actively communicate with the other adults on campus regarding students’ accomplishments and concerns. PEAKS coaches also support the Cardigan community in a professional development capacity, and the department serves as a sounding board for ideas.

PEAKS courses are geared to helping each student understand the interrelated factors that impact learning and wellness with a focus on applying this information to the discovery of how he learns best. Students learn to identify their individual strengths and challenges and they learn to advocate for themselves.

PEAKS Curriculum by Grade

Because Cardigan recognized the value and innovation in this unique department, the PEAKS® brand was trademarked in 2009.

Cardigan graduate

The Cardigan Mission

Cardigan Mountain School offers a close-knit community that prepares middle school boys—in mind, body, and spirit—for responsible and meaningful lives in a global society.