True Transformation of Practices in our Classrooms
The standard learning model, characterized by students working from their school or home, predetermined class size, one teacher per group of students, non-flexible lengths of periods or instructional segments, common assignments for all, predispositions about students from teachers, minimal variation in instruction based on academic understanding, how our individual brain processes information and the lack of use of time as a variable in learning, proves to be impractical on many levels, for many students.
“The solution to this dilemma of having schools and teachers respond to student variation in achievement has never been implemented because it would require transformative changes at every level of education.” -Martin Haberman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
As an alternative to the traditional learning model, Arrow Academy and its founders have embraced this need for transformation and created an innovative and unique educational model where children can participate in a quality teacher-led, flexible learning time and digital supplemented classroom in a physical location outside, yet close to home, which provides a safe, supportive educational environment.
The primary challenges existing in current learning structures for meeting the No Child Left Behind vision of all students learning is not that staff, leaders, and students are not interested in doing well, or accomplishing this result; it is quite the contrary. It has become clear we have designed and used an environment the past four decades where many teachers and students do not flourish in teaching and learning; we have not mastered the process of developing people and their processes of teaching in a sustainable manner. The burning passion and desire to lead and teach students, together with the curious minds that enter our elementary schools to learn has been overcome by processes and structures that inhibit our most valued treasures: the mind and how it learns and retains information and the enthusiasm and motivation we started with when we entered into our education system.
To this end, Arrow Academy will:
- Re-design classroom instruction so that it aligns with how our mind retains, uses and applies information in our classroom delivery methods
- Ensure students are educated with mastery learning principles and paced with individual learning plans, assignments and integrated technology that is accessible 24 hours per day and 7 days per week from home or school
- Minimize the learning anxiety that is found in too many classrooms with the support of a teacher and resources that ensure learning is paced at the students’ rate of learning in all skill development
- Increase academic performance and ensure every unit of learning is complimented with relevancy aligned to past experiences, practices embedding higher levels of thinking and spiraling the skill development with necessary repetition
- Provide development in leadership and character traits desired for our community
- Challenging rigor for entrance into prestigious colleges of choice
- Ensure every child has a semester of college and work-ready certificates of skill interest
- Work within our community partner programs to follow and mentor students long after high school to ensure financial, relational, educational and career decisions are aligned to good citizenry traits we desire for our students and in our community
- Establish student relationships built upon mutual respect that recognizes character over image
- Establish learning environments of educating kids within our existing community organizations to which the students migrate, and in which they seek to be around
- Provide the best training in the country focused on results and designed by external experts such as psychologists and neuroscientists
- Ensure that the team of teachers working within this environment promotes the internal passion they acted on, when deciding to dedicate their career to children
The foundation of learning in the Arrow Academy school setting is established in learning aligned to the individual’s brain and complementing learning modes with expectations of mastery learning in all goals and objectives of standards and curriculum. Time will become flexible in practice, compared with the structured assignment system currently found in most of our classrooms. Mastery learning is a process of instruction. All students have the potential to learn quite well, but differ in the time they require to do so.
Arrow Academy will use integrated technology that supports the student, blending this environment with a team of teachers and staff trained in the most proven leadership and classroom development system in the country. Highlighting the product and design strategy of this application are clear metrics of behavior characteristics, individual constraints and strengths, the assurances of implementation and sustainable monitoring, individual growth plans and data-based hiring processes.
Leading educators have modeled the research that students need consistent and stable adult support time and flexible personal learning time packaged together with brain-based routines to create the most effective learning model. Through instructional innovation and strong commitment to child-centered education, the team will advance academic achievement, character building, and leadership skills, all the while enhancing students’ life skills.
The team’s experience and understanding of what does and does not work in schools and in the education of children, will revitalize the educational experience of students. Not only will they use what they know works, they will also modify or discontinue systems of the past that were unproductive and disenfranchising to many students. Teachers historically express concern that if they take time to offer corrective instruction or supplement with creativity and relevancy, they will sacrifice curriculum coverage.
A high school diploma is not the end result of Arrow Academy students. Each student that enrolls in Arrow Academy is expected to complete a semester of college credit and work-ready certificates. The jumpstart credits in college need to be more than a single course or two of interest, but, instead, a true completion of college work at a level that the student sees the opportunity to gain a degree in the near future. The work-ready curriculum prepares each student to enter the workforce ready and prepared with curricula approved from industry and college leaders stamped with certifications.
Community mentorship while a child is in school and after the young adult leaves school will be a priority in each center. Many of our students return as adults to the same neighborhoods they grew up in as a child and need support beyond the family unit resources and expertise after high school completion. Choosing a college, financial obligations, living arrangements, career choices, relationships and emotional highs and lows mold our young adults during these post high school years for the rest of their lives. Arrow Academy and each community partnership is emphatic about mentorship plans to support these adults achieve comprehensive happiness in the life they choose within our community.