All students can learn and reach his or her potential.
We have an obligation to educate all students, especially the students who are most challenged by poverty or who are most at risk. We differentiate resources and personalize learning to meet the individual needs of students. Because we believe all students can learn, we will not let demographics be an excuse for not providing rigorous content and advanced learning.
Effective teachers make the most difference in student academic performance.
An effective teacher makes the difference between a high-quality education and a poor one. As a result, we have a great sense of urgency around improving the quality of instruction. We spend a lot of time professionally developing and supporting all of our teachers. At the same time, our students cannot afford to have ineffective teachers and poor teaching is not tolerated; that is, we provide considerable support for less-than effective teachers and after a reasonable amount of time remove those who cannot provide quality instruction to students.
For every child to succeed, we must hold students and ourselves to high expectations.
High performance cultures have high expectations for all children – they believe that all children can learn and they act upon that belief. They also have high expectations for staff, believing that staff members can grow and perform at high levels of effectiveness. Too many times, administrators behave as if teachers cannot meet rigorous standards of performance or that they cannot learn quickly. Such low expectations for teachers ultimately result in lower expectations for students. Conversely, high expectations for teachers ultimately result in higher expectations for students.
We value parent engagement and community support.
Just as the health of a child is not solely dependent on the nearest hospital or the quality of the medical staff, a child’s education is not the sole responsibility of the school. We believe that it takes a village to educate a child and that it is our responsibility to engage parents and community stakeholders to support our work. The Academy partners with community organizations to provide after-school activities, mentoring and tutoring services, wraparound services, and other resources to help our students’ success. We partner with parents to develop individualized learning plans and to help parents monitor the progress of their child in meeting clearly defined outcomes.
We rely on clearly defined outcomes to guide our work and to which we will hold ourselves accountable.
Perhaps the number one problem in public education today is that most schools are compliance driven and process focused. We believe we should be outcomes focused and adaptive. It is not enough to “cover” the material or, for staff, to implement a program. There has to be some measureable target or objective that is the result of the effort. The Academy outlines specific academic outcomes for students and students demonstrate that they have achieved the specific goals. Similarly, the teachers, leadership team, and entire school are guided by clearly defined outcomes.
We value high levels of autonomy to allow staff members to make the decisions that directly impact their ability to accomplish their goals.
Teachers want to work in an environment in which they have some control over that environment – where they can make the decisions that directly impact their ability to accomplish their goals. In this type of culture, leaders may provide direction and some parameters, but decisions around what strategies to employ, which resources to use, and how to monitor progress are left to the teacher. The most effective teachers, in particular, need the freedom to get results without micromanagement