ALL STUDENTS CAN SUCCEED
Research has demonstrated that students learn best when teachers and students gain a growth mindset that embraces high expectations, meaningful feedback, and the ability to reflect on their own learning.
ISAAC follows the Common Core State Standards that concentrate heavily on literacy within all academic areas, including language arts and mathematics. Students must be able to read and write effectively for a variety of purposes by interpreting multiple sources with purpose and evidence. In addition, mastery of mathematics is an integral aspect of ISAAC’s Vision of the Graduate. The Common Core requires students to use, explain, and understand the role that mathematics plays in our world. Moreover, students are expected to make and explain well-founded judgments with mathematical reasoning using descriptive analysis that shows comprehension and evidence of understanding.
The ISAAC Core Values, Beliefs About Learning, and the Vision of the Graduate states that, upon 8th grade graduation, our students will possess a variety of academic, civic, and social competencies that will translate toward success at the high school level. These transferable skills and competencies are paramount to achieve our ultimate goal in ensuring that all students will be prepared for secondary education at any comprehensive, magnet, private, or technical high school they attend following graduation.
In 2014, the Connecticut State Department of Education adopted The Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test as the grade 6, 7, and 8 state assessment. The SBAC test uses a redesigned assessment that focuses on the Common Core standards in reading, writing, and mathematics skills. The results from these exams are weighed and heavily considered in the decision regarding the number of years granted during the Charter Renewal process, decided by the Connecticut State Department of Education and Board of Education.
In order to ensure student academic, social, and civic success, ISAAC will identify action steps for a variety of strategic actions that will be supported by teachers’ student learning objectives (SLOs) for the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. These SLOs will be aligned to the SBAC-styled summative assessments. ISAAC will create a school development improvement plan (SDIP) for all areas of improvement related to academic and social-emotional goals, along with a professional development plan in several areas. In subsequent years, beginning with a pilot process for the 2021-2022 school year, teachers will use the ISAAC School-Wide Analytic Rubrics created in alignment with the competencies described in the ISAAC Vision of the Graduate statement. These school-wide rubrics will be formative in nature and will accompany summative assessments and unit tasks as listed in the curriculum. ISAAC will also integrate the practice of Accountable Talk from the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Their research in reading comprehension has shown that using Accountable Talk in the classroom supports and increases cognitive development in students’ learning and using this discourse- based instructional approach facilitates effective reading comprehension. Furthermore, in a 2016 study of mathematics teaching across different schools, Jo Boaler found that instructional reform, that included a focus on Accountable Talk, increased student learning.
ISAAC will begin the candidacy process towards New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Accreditation. The commitment to NEASC accreditation aligns with the mindset for continuous school improvement. ISAAC will be engaged in a process of meeting the standards intended to promote an effective learning community with the capacity to meet the needs of all students through continuous reflection and growth. At a minimum, ISAAC must possess the foundational elements within each of the standards for accreditation. Following the completion of a written document describing our core values, beliefs about learning, and vision of the graduate, ISAAC will engage in professional development that will provide a written curriculum in a consistent format which is vertically aligned within each department for all courses. In addition, a Scientific Research-Based Intervention (SRBI) Team and process will be utilized to support all learners with the instructional strategies and interventions needed to ensure that all students can succeed at ISAAC.
Our Educational Strengths
· ISAAC has an engaged teaching staff that is committed to ensuring students are successful in a safe, inclusive, and diverse learning environment.
· ISAAC was recognized as a Connecticut School of Distinction in 2014.
· ISAAC’s award-winning and dynamic music and performing arts programs continue to attract prospective students and prepare current students for successful high school and college careers.
· ISAAC’s student led conferences and 8th grade portfolios allow students to demonstrate a variety of leadership and communication skills.
· ISAAC has a Student Assistance Team that discusses and responds to individual students’ emotional needs.
Reaching Out to Our Community
Our community is our most important asset, whether it is within our immediate ISAAC family or in the cities and towns that surround us in the southeastern Connecticut region. We are a stronger institution because of these individual and organizational connections. It is our vision that we strengthen ties by improving our communications and broadening our relationships within the community.
Communication is key in the enhancement and promotion of a positive culture and climate. In addition to the transparent communication that should exist between school, families, and the community, it is vital that, as a choice charter school, our branding and messaging are purposeful and strong. ISAAC seeks to develop trust with our community as a premier choice middle school for all students seeking a unique educational opportunity. The ISAAC brand relates to the exceptional opportunities found in our small and diverse school that is focused in the arts and communication. The strategy for this marketing will be grounded in our online presence through the website and social media. Our public relations will be enhanced by promoting the distinct opportunities that exist for students while promoting the successes of our students through the different modes of media within southeastern Connecticut.
Furthermore, the strongest mode of marketing comes from word-of-mouth. Parents, students, and community leaders who have positive experiences with ISAAC provide the most fruitful marketing for schools.
The strong academic, social, and civic preparation of each student for high school is the greatest success our school can achieve. Throughout a student’s three years at ISAAC, the staff ensures that our students and their families are thinking, researching, and planning for the high school that meets their needs academically, emotionally, and financially. As each class leaves ISAAC for high school, our ultimate goal is to ensure that they are prepared for the challenges of high school pursuits.
Our Community Strengths
· ISAAC is located in downtown New London with its rich cultural amenities, including the Garde Arts Center.
· ISAAC’s student body is diverse in experiences, capabilities, interests, beliefs, perceptions, ethnicities, etc.
· ISAAC’s alumni are compassionate and responsible citizens who share their global knowledge with current students.