Students Rise to the Level of Expectations Placed Upon Them
Our students will be challenged through rigorous coursework and supported by caring, expert teachers. In addition to academic development, the school’s culture will help students develop the habit of “choosing the harder right over the easier wrong.” To ensure student success, Unity Prep staff will provide support commensurate with the high expectations placed upon students. We believe that high expectations without commensurate support are, at best, irresponsible and, at worst, harmful to students and their learning.
A school that embraces the many dimensions of diversity draws strength from the rich experiences of each student. Indeed, we firmly believe that educational equity is best achieved, and academic learning is most profound, in diverse school settings.
Applications Expand the School Environment
For students to succeed after high school, they must have comprehensive academic preparation and develop essential and widely applicable skills such as analytical thinking, communication, and problem solving. To supplement students’ academic learning, a school’s offerings should provide students opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real world experiences. This requires going beyond the school’s walls so that students may meaningfully interact with and positively contribute to the local community. The typical school day cannot provide such a program – an extended school day and school year are necessary if a school hopes to offer such a program.
A Positive School Culture is Powerful
The culture of a school is a vital component contributing to the school’s overall success. A school’s core values, the code of conduct, the enrichment programs, and the attitudes and behavior of the staff must breed a culture in which students experience a sense of unity with their classmates, understand the power of being highly educated, and take responsibility for their own learning. Stress impedes academic achievement and undermines physical and mental health. When a school’s culture is free of turmoil and stress and is instead overflowing with support, students may realize their full potentials; they genuinely cherish their time in school and are inspired to meet the high expectations placed upon them. Schools should complement academic education with training on managing emotions and adopting positive values. Students must be offered concrete techniques to remain resilient in the face of adversity and to make healthy choices when faced with difficult decisions.
Teacher Excellence Must be Supported
Recruiting, developing, and retaining exceptional teachers is an absolute priority for us. We believe teachers must be rewarded generously for their contributions to student learning. Likewise, they must have ample, on-going opportunities to develop their skills, establish and meet goals, and be challenged to reach their full potential as educators. Our focus on instructional excellence will be buttressed by structures that support teacher development and provide opportunities for peer learning among educators.
Formative Assessments Enhance Instruction
The nation’s overemphasis on high stakes tests requires the development of robust formative assessments, which provide teachers and students with feedback to modify learning activities in “real time” in order to enhance learning. Clear, measurable learning goals for students will be set and constantly monitored by school staff, who will be empowered to modify and differentiate instruction when necessary. Continual and timely feedback loops will be used to ensure students receive the exact supports needed to deepen learning, which will ultimately by reflected in higher achievement on summative assessments.
Sharing Success is Essential
Any school developing innovative practices that successfully promote student learning has a responsibility to share them with other schools, thereby enhancing the educational landscape of the entire community.