Our instructional program incorporates Principles of Learning (POL) and Growth Mindset strategies to create a learning environment that taps into the knowledge and experiences that students bring with them in order to unlock their creativity and energy in learning something new. In this environment, students learn to self-manage their learning, think about their thinking, recognize their accomplishments and growth, and hold themselves accountable. This encourages students to set goals based on where they are and where they want to go and provides them the tools to meet their goals and be successful in school and in life.
Our instructional program is built around researched practices that have been implemented successfully around the country. The articulated curriculum progressively deepens students’ understanding of core concepts while avoiding needless repetition. The small classes allow for discussion, small group work, peer and teacher conferences and interviews on a daily basis. ISANA teachers communicate clear expectations about what students learn, how they learn it, and what qualifies as good work. They do so by setting explicit content and performance standards that all students work to achieve, and by making those standards clear to students, teachers, principals, parents, and the community. Complex thinking and production are modeled and analyzed by actually working at a task or project. Students conduct sustained in-depth investigations of a topic that leads to authentic projects, fieldwork, and service. All curriculum designs are directly aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The standardized testing and benchmarking required by the Smarter Balanced exams are being used to measure student achievement.
Teachers, administrators, and support staff communicate high expectations and through their words and actions, respect for students’ culture, history, heritage and contextual cultural reality. The indicators for this model are found in the classroom and school environment, in lesson activities, and in student work.
ISANA’s charter schools have exceeded expectations by outpacing neighboring similar schools. Each year, ISANA has made demonstrable gains in test scores. Coupled with continued academic improvement, ISANA offers innovative technology and a vigorous enrichment program to its students.