MAS’ Educational Philosophy and Curricular Approach
The educational philosophy of Mission Achievement and Success is that when provided solid, research-based instructional practices, all students can learn. This includes students typically identified as being “at risk.” MAS is built on the founding belief that equal access to high quality education must be afforded to all students and that all students have the potential to succeed. At the core of high quality education is the delivery of standards-based instruction through evidence-based instructional practices that are provided in an effective learning environment, where commitment to academic excellence is instilled in students as a basic belief, and life skills, that extend far beyond the classroom, are developed within each student.
With that said, MAS also believes that academics alone will not ensure student success. Instead, students need to be explicitly taught principles of success which include, but are certainly not limited to, the ability to set goals, learn about principles of success, and how to incorporate these principles into their daily lives. When students are provided a highly rigorous academic program coupled with the explicit instruction in success principles, then, and only then, will students be adequately prepared to be successful in college and the competitive world.
The philosophy and curricular approach at MAS are directly aligned with the research findings and work of Dr. Douglas Reeves, and in particular, the findings cited in his 90/90/90 study. Reeves explains that in 90/90/90 schools, 90% of the students live in poverty, 90% of the students are members of an ethnic minority group, and 90% of these students are at or above proficiency as measured by state assessments. He notes that in these schools there are five common characteristics:
- a laser like focus on academic achievement using data to drive instructional decisions;
- clear curriculum alignment with state standards;
- frequent assessment of student progress with multiple opportunities for improvement;
- an emphasis on non-fiction writing; and
- collaborative scoring of student work.
MAS’ curricular approach is modeled after and directly aligned with Reeves’ research with some additional components that we feel are critical to student success. The additional components can best be described as a means to support the five characteristics referenced above. The additional six components are as follows:
- high expectations;
- positive school culture with a proactive approach to student discipline;
- inclusive education;
- ongoing professional development and collaboration;
- parental and community involvement; and
- the development of “Success Principles Action Plans”.