16 Guiding Beliefs
What is Learning?
Curriculum begins with the student
and builds from there. It must be personalized around the unique skills, knowledge, and needs of individuals—acknowledging that students have different goals and are at different places in their lives. Individualized plans for each student pay attention to those unique skills, knowledge sets, needs, goals, and interests.
Learners bring prior experiences, knowledge, and abilities
which must be recognized, honored, used, and credited. The multiple roles of these learners (workers, community members, family members, athletes, artists, farmers, babysitters, etc.) are used as assets.
Learning in the world is multi-faceted and interdisciplinary;
it is not broken into compartmentalized subject-matter packages. Content of disciplines is important as a means to an end, not an end in itself. Interdisciplinary learning projects develop habits of mind and work, marketable communication skills, citizenship and life skills, and simultaneously meet the essential academic learning standards set by the state and local standards established by the learning community.
Learning means paying attention
to how one knows as well as what one knows; paying attention to why it matters and where it can be applied.
Learning is better evidenced by performance than by seat time.
Learning is a process powered by the learner
and supported and stimulated by collaboration with others; social interaction empowers making meaning.
Learning is not a linear process;
learners choose to access content at different times for different purposes, in different contexts. Arbitrary sequencing decisions may actually impede learning.
Expertise exists in many places and forms;
expertise accessed beyond the classroom is encouraged and honored.
The community provides rich opportunities for learning;
it provides space in which action and reflection can take place in a continuous cycle uninterrupted by school schedules.
in which all members of the learning community are involved in the decision-making produces engaged citizens.
Project-based learning promotes ongoing reflection
and self-regulated learning by asking students to generate their own strategies for problem definition, information gathering, data analysis, and hypothesis building and testing, and to compare their strategies to those of other students and mentors.
Student-directed meaningful service learning
builds a sense of belong to something larger than themselves, improves the lives of others, increases engagement, and provides opportunities for critical thinking, problem solving, goal setting, project management, application of academic skills, and empathy.
When assessment is shared
between academic advisors, parents, workplace and community mentors, field experts, and peers, the learning is rigorous, relevant, and ongoing. When students open their work to public analysis, the learning increases.
Competence is not demonstrated through a single event;
rather, a range of evidence in different contexts over time must be presented before judging competence.
Technology opens up worlds of inquiry and educational opportunity.
Technology must be used to do more than deliver content; it must be used by students to discover, create, use, share, assess, discuss, manipulate and reshape content, and to connect with others.
Joy is an essential part of learning,
and laughter mixes naturally with serious discussion and hard work.