The school’s core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations are actively reflected in the culture of the school, drive curriculum, instruction, and assessment in every classroom, and guide the school’s policies, procedures, decisions, and resource allocations.
What to Look For:
- examples of ways that the culture of the school reflects the school’s core values, beliefs, and learning expectations; e.g., if the school’s core values include promoting a sense of internationalism in students, one might see a variety of programs which expose students to various cultures, possible foreign language requirements for all students; extended learning and travel programs; involvement of businesses that are global in nature
- examples of specific changes made to the (a) curriculum, (b) instruction, and (c) assessment in response to the school’s core values, beliefs, and 21st century learning expectations, e.g., curriculum: if the school’s core values include promoting a sense of internationalism in students, then changes would be make to the curriculum, especially to courses that all students take to include topics about global studies and internationalism; instruction: if a belief about learning is that students learn from other students, then instructional strategies would include opportunities for students to learn from each other; assessment: if the beliefs about learning include the idea that students should have more than one chance to be assessed on a learning expectation, then teachers’ grading practices would reflect this belief, and students would not be penalized for receiving a low score early in the semester, if the student eventually masters the learning expectations.
- specific changes to or adaptations of school policies, procedures, and decisions resulting from examination of the school’s core values, beliefs, and learning expectations: a school community holds a variety of meetings to discuss grouping practices and takes step to reduce the number of levels of courses in order to ensure that all students are exposed to challenging curriculum; on the same topic, a school creates common assessment for like-courses so that all students are held to a high level of expectation; a school; a school reviews its cell-phone policy to incorporate the use of cell-phones and smart phones for learning
- a list of resource allocations that have been made in response to supporting the school’s core values, beliefs about learning, and its 21st century learning expectations, e.g., a school reports specific increases in professional development funding to help teachers learn how to review data and to begin the work of disaggregating data; a school reports additional funding to develop new curriculum and to provide materials, supplies, and staffing for a new course designed specifically for one of the school’s learning expectations.
- visitors will see signs of the culture of the school, e.g.:
- academic learning is valued
- the school is truly a community of learners or a democratic school or an inclusive school
- the adults respect students; students respect adults; students respect students; there are no obvious cliques at odds with each other; teachers talk about teaching and learning when they are out of the classroom; departments are not segregated; cross-disciplinary discussion occur, are valued, and are made easy by configuration; support staff are treated as integral members of the school community; there are no obviously disenfranchised students; decisions are made on the basis of what is best for all students