How World-class Schools Deliver for All Students

 

Cultivate a culture of joyful learning World-class schools… cultivate a culture of joyful learning

In a world-class school, students, parents and staff celebrate the pursuit of knowledge and inspire students to persevere through challenges and excel.

High Expectations
 Leaders and staff demonstrate a belief that all students can embody strong character and achieve at high levels.

School Connectedness and Equity
The school is a place where all students feel welcome and they are safe, both physically and emotionally. The school affirms students’ identity and cultural backgrounds as assets. Staff and students cultivate a growth mindset, modeling beliefs that everyone can improve through effort. Challenge and risk taking are valued and close relationships are established to ensure that students feel that the school is a welcoming place where everyone gives their best.

Urgency, Systems, and Accountability
The school establishes, teaches, and reinforces systems, routines, and procedures that promote urgency and accountability throughout the school–from staff and students alike.

Joy
Students and staff at the school have multiple opportunities throughout a given week to celebrate their work and progress and to reflect on the values and purpose of the school.

What to look for:

  • All school staff use language that demonstrates their deep and unwavering belief in the potential of all students to achieve significant academic gains and find success in college and life. This belief is expressed clearly throughout classes and during school events. Instead of hearing, “Of course she’s behind, she has such a hard home life,” you hear, “Things have been hard at home, so what can we do to make sure she doesn’t fall behind?”
  • The school doesn’t have different and lower expectations for some students versus others. For example, groups of students wouldn’t be discouraged from taking challenging AP or honors classes. Inside a classroom, lower expectations might look like a teacher allowing some students to spend a class socializing, quietly ignoring the lesson, or otherwise not engaging. A teacher with high expectations for all wouldn’t let any student off the hook and would immediately engage them in the work to be done.
  • Staff and students recognize that one of their most precious resources is time–in world-class schools every minute is used purposefully, either to ensure that students and teachers are learning or to celebrate successes and challenges that are encountered along the way.
  • Students are encouraged to struggle with the challenges presented to them during their classes, not punished for mistakes or allowed to conclude they aren’t “good” at a subject. The school praises students for their learning and growth, taking on, struggling with, and mastering exceptionally rigorous content.
  • Teachers show a genuine interest in knowing their students and learning about their lives outside of school. When students and teachers talk to each other, it’s clear they have built a mutual trust that allows them to challenge one another.
  • The school builds a culture where all students are affirmed and valued and each student, regardless of their academic or behavior track record, have opportunities to have fun at school and to feel a part of the school community.

See it in Action

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Renaissance Academy

“The most important thing is relationships. That allows rigor, and relevance follows.” – Assistant Principal Vince Iwasaki.


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UP Academy Dorchester

This Massachusetts turnaround school fosters high expectations in an environment that celebrates students’ growth.

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