With the needs of our community in mind, we have developed a high performing instructional model to ensure that our student-innovators achieve academic excellence. We do this by supporting our students with setting self-created goals within a three-tiered educational model of core classroom instruction, portfolio-based annual individual projects, and hands-on, experiential learning.
School Schedule – Innovation’s school day for students starts at 9:00AM and ends at 4:00PM with each class period (College Bound, English, History, Math, Science, and Physical Education/Health) lasting one hour. Although we begin and end the school year at the same time as the NYC Department of Education schools do (and get the SAME number of days off!), we have adjusted the schedule to ensure the maximum number of continuous class days for students. The structure of our schedule allows us to take an intersession period during the school year. These intersessions are weeks when all classes are suspended and we work as a school or smaller groups on project or in-the-field work.
Individual Learning Plans – It seems obvious but we have to say it: Everyone learns differently. Right now, most schools have one curriculum for “most students” and a modified version of that curriculum for “other students” who are classified as disabled. The problem with this approach to education is that learning requires multiple approaches all the time for everyone, to really work. That’s why we are developing Individual Learning Plans for all of our students that allow us to track what works for our students and build from there. These Individual Learning Plans combine everything we know about a student from lesson plans studied in classrooms, anecdotals (notes of what happened in a class), assessments, homework, and records of staff interactions with students and their families. We keep all this data in one central location, our own Student Information System, so that we can spot trends and make decisions in real time to ensure that all students stay on track.
Integrated Team Teaching Model – Teacher empowerment and collaboration, to meet the unique needs of our students, is a core philosophy of our school. We use our Integrated Team Teaching model to ensure that our teachers feel supported and work closely to maintain a strong school culture, academic expectations, and a positive learning environment.
Here are some of the broad strokes:
- For each of our core academic subject areas – Math, Science, History, and English – we have a certified Subject-matter instructor and a certified Special education instructor in every classroom. These teachers approach curriculum planning and development as well as classroom instruction as an ensemble.
- Teaching Teams receive a minimum of 60 minutes of daily collaboration and co-planning.
- Our Teaching Teams develop a holistic curriculum that is accessible to all students no matter what their disability, English-language-learning status, or differentiation requirements may be.
- Because we have so much real-time information on student performance and a wealth of time for collaboration, the curriculum can be modified as needed to ensure maximum effectiveness.