Our work is rooted in an unwavering belief that our students can achieve at the highest levels. We know that high expectations must be matched by high levels of support. We have limited time and funding – our efforts must be impactful and efficient if we are to succeed. We constantly explore new strategies to support our students and increase our effectiveness. We use clear and concrete measures to evaluate our student’s progress. When we fall short, we own it and look to develop better and more effective methods. We are united by the clarity of our mission, by the urgency of the calling, and by our relentless pursuit of academic achievement for all.
Mastery integrates educational best practices and effective management to drive student achievement. Our program is distinct in several ways. Most importantly, our teachers are outstanding and relentlessly committed to student achievement. Our teachers continually improve their craft through frequent feedback, coaching, and collaborative support. Instruction is grounded by a common pedagogical vision and guided by rigorous standards-based curricula. We align assessments to clear and meaningful objectives and use assessment data to target areas of need.
In January 2014, Mastery initiated a comprehensive redesign of our program model, called Mastery 3.0. The redesign evolves our curricular, instructional, and school culture practices in order to accelerate the development of our students’ critical thinking and independence. Key aspects include:
Mastery Program Vision:
Mastery schools are joyful, authentic communities where students learn how to think critically and act independently so they are truly prepared for post-secondary success.
Mastery Program Principles:
1. Pitch High
We believe our students are brilliant and capable of rigorous work. Instruction is based on materials and concepts that require students to stretch.
2. Think & Do
Mastery instruction requires students to think and carry the cognitive load. Learning is active, enabling students to construct meaning and develop deep understanding of difficult and engaging material.
Our schools are joyful places. Students shine because they experience wonder, express themselves, and feel connected to their school community. Student learning is joyful and engaging, student centered and authentic.
4. Cultural Context
We believe that culture, race, and identity strongly influence how we teach, students learn, and the school community interacts. We believe the cultures of our students and families are a source of strength and opportunity. Staff are aware and responsive to culture and individual identities, and so are better equipped to connect with and engage our students.
Intellectual preparation, planning, & practice drives quality instruction. Teachers develop an in-depth understanding of lesson content and the nuances of lesson delivery. We allocate time and provide structure for teachers to collaboratively learn content, rehearse, and plan.
6. Leaders Proactively Impact Instruction
We believe the role of school leaders is to work directly with teachers on planning and instruction. Leaders are curricular experts and content knowledgeable. Leaders support instruction in real time.
7. Build Mindset
School culture, discipline, SEL programming, and support systems are designed to teach students to act responsibly and make good decisions. We balance structure and independence. We intentionally create community and provide opportunities for students to lead.
8. Responsive & Individualized
Teachers meet individual student’s needs by constantly gathering qualitative and quantitative data about student learning and use that data to inform and individualize instruction.