Accelerated Elementary and Secondary Schools
5245 North Camino de Oeste
Tucson, Arizona 8574
Student, Parent, Instructor, Handbook Academic Year 2017-2018
Accelerated Learning Laboratory shall demonstrate that all children exhibit remarkable learning capabilities when a comprehensive curriculum is coupled with pedagogy based on empirically supported and scientifically sound theories of human learning. ALL’s educational model shall demonstrate that curricular design and instructional practices are the predominant factors influencing academic performance, rather than ethnicity, social status, economic privilege, or gender. ALL shall demonstrate that all children display creative brilliance when their innate talents are nurtured in a challenging, supportive, and civil environment. ALL shall introduce a 21st Century educational model in which student learning outcomes exceed all previous instructional systems.
Accelerated Learning Laboratory shall empower its students to control their own destiny and the destiny of their nation, by providing them with equal access to the highest quality education possible, regardless of their ethnicity, cultural identity, social status, economic privilege, or gender. ALL’s model shall provide a challenging, rigorous and meaningful education to all its students at their functional level. ALL shall employ an individualized growth model supported by pedagogy grounded on “Cognitive Science Research” and “Best Instructional Practices.” ALL’s model shall continuously improve, guided by data driven analysis of its practices and instructional tools, and continuing research in the science of learning and teaching. ALL’s pedagogical strategies and design concepts shall be available to educational and research institutions for public benefit and improvement of educational practices.
Accelerated Elementary and Secondary Schools (AES) provides educational choice to families interested in advanced teaching methods, challenging curricula, and above grade level instruction. AES provides a comprehensive, gifted level curriculum and accelerated instruction that exceeds the State of Arizona mandates. Instruction is provided by t by “Highly Qualified” teachers and instructors; many are college instructors. Student performance scores on entrance examinations are used for placement only. They are not use to determine qualification for admission. Instruction is provided pre-school through 12th grade. The K-12 school is a public, state-funded school, chartered through the State Board for Charter Schools. There is no tuition charge to attend K-12. Our pre-school is fee based and accepts children ages 3, 4, and 5. Teaching practices are supported by current research on human learning and motivation in the Cognitive Sciences and Applied Behavioral Sciences. School culture is enthusiastically cerebral and civil. Although many students exhibit cognitive skills suggestive of prodigies, they are all, nevertheless physically active, fun loving children, with remarkable social skills.
Accelerated Learning Laboratory Pre-School (A.L.L. Pre-School) provides an intellectually stimulating environment for pre-school children, ages 3-5. Children are provided with diverse opportunities to express themselves creatively and receive academic instruction at their individual challenge level. Within the first year of entering kindergarten, many children learn to read, write, add and subtract with regrouping, multiply and divide. They study a broad range of topics in science and become comfortable with asking falsifiable questions. Other academic subjects include geography, Mandarin Chinese, and human anatomy and physiology. Additionally, children are provided with ample playtime and socialization opportunities. Civil responsibility and inclusive behaviors are developed through instruction in interpersonal problem solving skills. Violent play, selfish conduct, and unkind words, are virtually non-existent. Pre-school instruction is provided from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Early Bird child care is available starting at 7:00 AM. Extended day continues from 2:30 to 6:00 PM. A.L.L. Pre-School provides additional educational opportunities for pre-school and elementary school children in conjunction with the tuition free K-12 school.
Accelerated Early Childhood Learning Center; Accelerated Learning Laboratory Elementary; and Accelerated Learning Laboratory Secondary School (ALL) provide a learning environment capable of producing rapid intellectual growth for students who are serious about education and scholarly achievement. It is hoped that students and their families view the learning process and homework as a preferred activities not drudgery. Viewing one’s after-school-life as an extension of learning has lifelong benefits. Although intellectual prowess is often associated with how rapidly students complete their work, many very bright children may nevertheless require increased time-on-task before they learn to study efficiently. Please be aware that ALL provides many opportunities for students to increase their “time-on-task” and to increase the effectiveness of their learning strategies including Saturday School, Working Lunches, Extended Day and academic development class.
ALL views education as a partnership between parents, students, and the school community. Parents are encouraged to remain involved and supportive of the significant effort invested by their children and the ALL staff. Although, being a parent is seldom convenient, being the parent of gifted student at ALL can be delightfully demanding.
Placement Assessments: To ensure that new students are placed at their challenge level ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development), intake assessments are utilized to determine benchmark measures of each new student’s functional level in each core subject area (language arts, reading, mathematics, science). Although transfer students are not required to pass qualifying exams for admission, before attending class, each new student’s skills and knowledge are evaluated to determine appropriate placement. Performance indicators and metrics include: data transferred from the previous schools; previous courses taken; grades; standardized test scores; and assessments that are aligned with ALL’s curriculum offerings including assessments of reading, mathematics, writing, science topics. Academic placement of each returning students is determined by that student’s prior year’s Expert Trial and Challenge achievement levels. Many factors are considered for proper placement and not all become apparent before a student is observed within a classroom setting. Some adjustments should be expected throughout the school year. Some students may be transferred between classes to achieve the best possible placement. Parents and students may provide input on the selection of a teacher (K-4) but preferences are honored only if they are consistent with other indicators of the ‘best academic placement’.
Emergency Information: It is the parents’/guardians’ responsibility to ensure that all emergency information and contact numbers are current, and that the individuals on the cards are accessible. The emergency card on file in the office must be kept up-to-date for the safety of students. If a child becomes ill or injured, telephone numbers provided by the parent on the emergency card will be called. If we are not able to contact a parent/guardian and the student appears to require immediate attention, as determined by the staff, 911 will be called prior to contacting the parent. The parent shall be responsible for any incurred cost. Call or visit the office to make sure your child’s emergency information is current and complete. Please promptly notify us, in writing, of changes in address or phone number
Illness: Children with fevers should not be sent to school. Children should be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school. If a child has been exposed to a contagious disease, please notify the proper office staff and do not send the child to school. Children with communicable diseases should not attend school for the period that they are contagious.
If a child becomes ill during the school day the child will be isolated and a parent or guardian will be notified and asked to pick-up the child. A child reporting an illness or injury is allowed to phone a parent unless the parent submits written, contrary instructions, or the child’s claim appears unfounded, or the practice appears habitual.
Medication: State law requires that schools be informed of any medication that a student requires during attendance hours. Current dosage and the name of the prescribing physician are required. In order for staff to administer prescription medication, over the counter medication, or remedies, including aspirin, and antacid, parents must provide specific written permission and the reason or condition for which the medication is required. Only specified staff may administer medication or remedies. Please do not ask non-specified staff to give your child any non-food substances to be swallowed. All prescription medication must be in the original container clearly labeled with the patient’s name, physicians name, pharmacy, the type of medication, dosage, frequency of administration, and method of administration. Parents must provide information on side effects and contraindications with all medication. Prescription medications will be administered only at the times and dosages indicated on the label. All medications will be kept in a locked cabinet and administered only by designated personnel.
Immunization: Arizona State Law requires children be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, measles, mumps, rubella (German Measles), and haemophilus influenza type b prior to entering school. Children who do not have immunizations may not attend school. Please bring proof of your child’s immunizations when registering.
Transportation: Parents are responsible for transporting their children to and from school. ALL does not provide transportation. Parents interested in carpooling may contact ‘The ALL Parent Association’. Students are expected to arrive sufficiently early to be in class and prepared to learn at the scheduled time. However, students should not arrive more than 15 minutes before class begins unless enrolled in the “Early Bird Homework Helper” or with special permission. Students must be picked-up no later than 15 minutes after dismissal unless engaged in a school sanctioned and supervised extracurricular activity or enrolled in the “Extended Day Homework Helper” program. While on campus, no child is to be left unattended at any time. Any unescorted student remaining on campus 15 minutes after dismissal will be ushered to the fee based after-care facility and the appropriate drop-in fee will be assessed. Students may not drive or park on campus. For qualifying homeless students transportation will be arranged to and from school at the request of the responsible; parent, guardian, unaccompanied student or Title I Liaison.
Lunches / Snacks: For a small fee ALL Parent Association provides lunch several days a week. For a child to receive lunch, payment must be received before noon on the Tuesday preceding the week the student wishes receive lunch! ALL does not provide lunch. Please contact ALL Parent Association for further information. Students may bring their own bag lunch and snacks. Please do not include glass containers. Microwave ovens and refrigerators are not available for students. Food should not be eaten in the classroom. Students are asked to participate in trash collection duty. Students are allowed to supply their own gloves for this purpose.
Lost and Found: Please, check Lost & Found Box for your child's personal items. Parents often find items they did not know were lost. In order to reduce confusion and increase recovery rates, we encourage parents to put their child’s name on personal belongings such as coats and lunch boxes. ALL is not responsible for lost, damaged or missing items.
Extracurricular Activities: Extracurricular activities including instruction in the arts and sports are offered by ALL Parent Group. See the After-School Classes listings in the office for selection, availability, cost and schedule. Extra-curricular activities can be utilized in conjunction with Extended Day to ensure continuous supervision.
Early Pick-up: Except for scheduled field trips, children are required to remain on campus through the entire the school day. Parents picking up students, prior to dismissal time, must sign the child out in the office. They must indicate the time of the student’s departure and reason for an early pickup. After the child is signed out, the child will be summoned to the office. Students must remain in class until the parent has arrived. Persons who are not the parent of a child being picked up must have written parental permission and must present valid identification before the child will be released. Students are not allowed to sign themselves, siblings or other students out.
Field Trips: ALL fieldtrips are academic. Fieldtrips are considered extracurricular and are not a required component of any class. However, it is recognized that fieldtrips can enhance students’ educational experiences and learning. Participation in fieldtrips requires a signed permission slip and liability release prior to commencement of the fieldtrip. Parent should investigate the risks and benefits before signing any release or permission slip. Parents may be asked to pay their child’s share of costs. If you cannot afford to contribute, please contact a school administrator. Chaperones and volunteers should cover their own costs unless prior arrangements have been made. Volunteer drivers must provide proof of insurance. If a driver has not made specific arrangements with their passenger prior to the commencement of the fieldtrip, reimbursement should not be expected. In some cases ALL may provide some children with financial assistance. A reimbursement by ALL requires verifiable receipts. Students under academic or behavioral suspension are ineligible for participate in local fieldtrips during the suspension period. Students, who have been suspended for behavioral reason, within 6 months of the commencement of an overnight fieldtrip, are ineligible for participate. Parents remain responsible for any expenses resulting in their child’s intentional or unintentional actions during fieldtrips. Students may not drive or park cars on campus or drive during school sponsored fieldtrips. Extracurricular activities include various competitive sports, clubs, and philanthropic activities, academic competitions. Additional examples of activities have included after dark star gazing parties, “school camp-ins”, dance events, Lake Powell Houseboat Excursion, Grand Canyon Excursion, Rock Hound Excursion, San Diego Zoo and Science Museum Excursion, and Zion Canyon Excursion.
Student Progress / Grades ALL evaluates student progress with a number of instruments including standardized summative tests (AIMS, etc.), formative exams (Expert Trials), continuous informal measures (daily oral and written evaluations), and application assignments (Challenge Exercises). Grades are intended to exclusively reflect student progress. Quarterly reports (See: Assessment of Progress for an example) are mailed to parents. Parents are encouraged review progress charts each day (updated daily). Other evaluation instruments and/or strategies include: teacher observations, records of grades, portfolios, homework assignments, attendance records, and cooperative learning performance evaluations. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in keeping themselves informed of their child’s progress. No parent should wait for the school to keep them inform. Parents are expected to utilize the ample opportunities to evaluate their child’s progress on a daily bases. Parents of a successful students seldom take a passive parental role.
Reports to parents include specific information concerning learning and social behaviors. Students who exhibit behaviors that support learning are most likely to fulfill their potential. Those who exhibit social behaviors that support empathy and inclusiveness are most likely to contribute to a caring and productive community. We expect each student to exhibit an abundance of both types of behaviors. Teachers may include comments in student reported indicating that a conference with the parent is recommended or required. A conference may be requested at any time by a parent, teacher, or student.
Lack of adequate academic progress may necessitate supportive interventions. Under-achieving or educationally disadvantaged students may be given additional time-on-task opportunities including: instruction in low teacher-student ratio settings; increased study-time during regularly scheduled classes, skill focused self-contained classrooms, Saturday school, extended-day classes, interim secession workshops, summer school, working lunches, after school homework helper, etc. Instructional resources that do not meet during regularly scheduled academic contact times are fee based. Targeted assistance for students in need of developing better study habits or skills include an assortment of services such as instruction in reading (computer assisted and one-on-one) or homework guidance, specific subject matter ‘flex’ classes, etc.
Promotion / Graduation: To earn promotion or graduation, students must demonstrate adequate academic growth, successfully complete required course work, and exhibit competency at or above grade level. Adequate academic growth is defined by ALL as the difference between the academic level a student begins the school year and ends the school year. Students must demonstrate adequate “growth” regardless of grade level competence. Additional factors that may influence a decision to promote or retain include: on-time behavior, attendance rate, and learning/social behavior. A student who does not fulfill course requirements in any quarter may be given the opportunity to rectify deficiencies by attending interim sessions (fee based) summer school (fee based) or extended-day classes. Students who wish to accelerate their academic growth but do not have deficiencies may also attend these extracurricular activities. Additionally, students must score at or above their grade level on two of the three areas tested on state provided tests to earn promotion to the next grade level. To receive credit for work accomplished during workshops, all make-up work must be completed and approved prior the first attendance day of the following academic year.
Changes to Arizona Revised Statutes require that a student in third grade, who receives a score on the AIMS demonstrating a reading ability far below the third grade level, shall not be promoted from the third grade. Additionally, ALL will consider for retention students at any grade level who receive a “far below” score for their designated grade level and/or students who do not take the AIMS and exhibits other below grade level indicators.
In accordance with the new Statute, the governing body of ALL MAY promote a student who earns an AIMS score that falls far below the third grade level for any of the following reasons:
- The student has an identified disability and did not take the AIMS test.
- The student has an identified disability and has previously been retained in a grade.
- The student is an English Language Learner and has had less than two years of English instruction.
- The student has a reading deficiency and has been previously retained twice in a grade.
- The student has demonstrated reading proficiency on an alternate assessment approved by the State Board of Education.
- The governing board accepts a parent’s written request for an exemption that includes required documentation provided by the parent.
ALL’s Board may grant exceptions but it is unlikely that a student who does not demonstrate sufficient effort or a student with a disability (if the student’s disability does not reasonably impact reading ability and/or the student’s Intervention Plan does not specifically call for such exemption) will be granted an exception. ALL expects all students to perform at an academic level commensurate with ability. ALL expects all students to invest effort in the achievement of learning objectives. ALL believes that high expectations, consistent effort, goal oriented behavior, and firm standards are essential to student achievement. Excessive absences, tardiness, lack of homework completion, inattentiveness, educational disadvantage and/or insufficient progress shall not constitute reason for exemption.
High school students must pass all three areas on the AIMS. For those students with scores below their grade level in any of the three tested areas, summer school is highly recommended. If a student does not take advantage of the summer school opportunity, his/her promotion to the next grade and/or graduation may be delayed.
Students in elementary school grades (K-5) can receive advance placement in secondary school for completing secondary school level courses during their elementary school years. To be eligible for secondary school advance placement, students must meet or exceed the content level knowledge required in the relevant secondary school level course. However, these students remain obligated to fulfill the required number of credits in the required content areas during their secondary school years.
High School Graduation Requirements for Students Entering 9TH Grade Fall 2014 or Later
- Four years of English with extensive practice in writing selected from the following: Advanced Grammar, Rhetoric, Analysis of Literature, Syntax and Semantics, Lexicon, Debate and Public Speaking, Advanced Composition, Poetry, English Literature, Research Methods and Skills.
- Four years of advanced math including but not limited to: Data Analysis, Probability and Discrete mathematics; Algebra and Functions; Geometry; Structure and Logic, Statistics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and
- Four years of science including a minimum of Biology (one year), Chemistry (one year), Physics (one year). Advanced classes in the following may be selected: Physical Geology, Environmental Science, Petrology, Astronomy and Cosmology, Robotics -Mechanical Engineering, Human Anatomy and Physiology, etc.
- Three years of history including American history, World History, U.S. Government and Politics, U.S. History, Comparative Government, Physical Geography, Human Geography, Economics, and European History
- Four years of foreign language with a minimum of two years in one foreign language
- One year of a social science other than History including but not limited to: Psychology, Cognitive Science and Neurology, Anthropology,
- One year of visual or performing arts;
- Two years of physical Education;
- One year of technology;
- Thirty-two hours of Community Service;
- Two years participation in a club, extracurricular activity, or community activity:
- Six or more Advance Placement exams with a score of 4 or above in the following:
- Calculus (BC exam only)
- Physics (C exam only, both parts)
- Humanities and Social Sciences (only one exam from this group will count towards the two required)
- A passing score in all content areas (Writing, Reading, Mathematics, and Science) of the AIMS competency tests / Exit Exams.
At the beginning of 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade, students receive guidance focused on college selection and preparation. Students in secondary school (grades 6-12) can receive college credit for completing Advance placement classes and receiving a 4 or 5 on the AP examination. Students successfully completing prerequisite classes, at earlier than expected grades, will be placed in advanced class. However, students remain obligated to fulfill the required number of credits in the required content areas during their secondary school years. Students in secondary school may earn credit for completing college level courses whether or not those courses are taken on the ALL campus, and whether or not those courses are counted towards a college degree. To be eligible for ALL credit, college level courses must be completed with a “B” or better and must satisfy specific content requirement. ALL written approval must be received prior to registering for any off campus course. Please be apprised, not all courses taken at a college are college level nor do all college level classes satisfy minimum ALL standards.
Honors Courses: ALL offers many Honors level courses for qualified students.
Advanced Placement courses: Secondary school students may participate in AP courses and testing. AP courses augment our secondary school (high school and middle school curricula and help students prepare for college. AP courses are equivalent to college-level work. AP tests provide objective measures of academic achievement and many colleges accept them for college credit. Participation in AP testing is a reliable predictor used by colleges to assess student’s future success in college and have become an important factor when reviewing applications for admission and eligibility for scholarships. AP tests, are designed, and scored by the College Board and administered at ALL. ALL is an approved AP testing site and students from other educational institutions may be tested during the same times ALL students are tested.
Foreign Language: All students, preschool-12th grade, are offered instruction in Chinese. Spanish, Turkish, Italian, Farsi or other languages may be taught on an intermittent basis.
Reading instruction includes: phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. Most students will learn to read by the end of kindergarten. For students attending ALL preschool for a year or longer, many will learn to read prior to kindergarten and all will meet or exceed the emergent reader level. Early reading prepares young children to enter kindergarten with the language, cognitive, and skills necessary for academic success in all subject areas. An extensive body of research evidence emphasizes the long range benefits of early reading skills, phonological awareness, and an extensive vocabulary. ALL students are screened to identify reading difficulties and individual intervention may be implemented to overcome reading barriers. Secondary students found to be less than effective readers may be required to attend weekend workshops to improve comprehension, speed or both.
Parent Rights Parents are faced with the many challenges of child rearing, work obligations, and schedule juggling. Time is difficult to stretch. However, we are confident that the time you invest in your child’s education and the ALL community, will pay generous dividends. Parent participation is a vital element in a child’s education. If the world-of-the-future is going to be a place worth living in, schools, communities, and parents must actively participate in the education of the world-of-the-future’s leaders, our children. Please do not allow yourself to get in the habit of sitting in your car while waiting for your child at pick-up time. Please demonstrate to your child that her academic effort is important enough for you to park your car and go into her classroom to view her progress on the incentive charts. Such activity is particularly motivational for students attending the secondary school. Meet your child’s friends and their parents. Examine your child’s daily accomplishments and make yourself available for those valuable thirty-second information exchanges with your child’s teacher(s). If a student’s education is not important enough for his/her parent(s) to invest interest, why should the student work hard to succeed?
Parents have the right-to-know teacher qualification including but not limited to:
- Whether the teacher has met state qualification for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction
- Whether the teacher is teaching under a provisional status through which State qualification criteria have been waived.
- The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.
- Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications
Parents may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teacher(s) by submitting a written request at the main office.
ALL has an open door policy and parents may visit classrooms without notice during instructional hours. If you are interested in visiting please sign in at the office prior to going to any classroom. Please do not interfere with instruction or attempt to converse with the teacher during instructional time or during scheduled class time. In the mornings, before school begins, teachers are busy preparing for instruction. Please do not attempt to conduct impromptu conferences with teachers at these times. Please understand that teachers may not have unlimited time for impromptu converse after school. Be respectful of other parents who may require a short conversation with the teacher. Make an appointment, if you require a conference lasting longer than five minutes with any teacher or administrator.
Parents are expected to inspect their child’s progress records weekly if not more frequently, intermittently visit their child’s classroom(s) during instructional sessions, and provide feedback to the administrator and teacher. Parents are invited to join our parent organization, volunteer in classrooms or office, teach a unit in an area of expertise. Parents are encouraged to participate in organized field trips, help staff, get involved in the after-school educational program, attend monthly progress conferences with their child, and participate as a productive member of ALL’s community.
Please encourage your child to teach you what (s)he has learned. As reflected in the adage “We do not learn a subject until we are required to teach it,” teaching others often helps us better understand what we think we know. Please ask your child’s teacher if you need assistance on how to best help your child with homework. Please praise your child daily for his/her effort. Additionally, Parents are expected to read and discuss the contents of this handbook with their child.
Parents are strongly encouraged to:
- discuss the subject covered in this manual with their child;
- inspect their child’s progress records weekly if not more frequently;
- provide nightly accountability for the completion of homework;
- encourage their child to work towards academic success;
- acknowledge the difficulty level of the content;
- recognize the significant effort required to achieve academic success (praise their children for significant effort and success);
- monitor homework for correctness, clarity and neatness;
- intermittently visit their child’s classroom during instructional sessions;
- attend progress conferences with their child;
- work productively and cooperatively as an ALL community member (if a parent cannot be civil, why would his child?);
- share concerns with administrators and teachers in a civil and respectful manner;
- resist the temptation to spread gossip and rumors;
- join the ALL parent association;
- volunteer in classrooms, the office, or join the parent group;
- participate in organized field trips;
- become involved in the after-school educational program,;
- participate as a productive member of ALL community,
- sign their child’s homework when it is completed or after the child shows a good-faith effort
- participate in the schools decision making process
Attendance and Punctuality: School attendance is essential for students to attain academic success. Instruction begins promptly at the designated class starting time and missed learning cannot easily be recouped. Whether an absence is excused or unexcused, students are responsible for learning the information presented on the days they are absent. If a student must be absent, please call the main office (520) 743-1113 or the high/middle school office at (520) 743-2256 as soon as possible. When your child returns to school, please send a written and signed explanation with your child. Ten absences in any 45-day period, excused or unexcused, can result in a student not receiving attendance credit for a grading period and result in the requirement that the student attend Summer School and/or Saturday School. Punctuality helps students, classmates, and teachers take full advantage of ALL’s learning advantages. Tardy students may be required to attend instructional opportunities during breaks or after school.
State law requires that parents and/or guardians ensure that their children attend school through age 16. As provided for in A.R.S. §15-903: Students with excessive excused absences should provide documentation for those absences. A habitually truant student may be referred to a truancy officer. A habitually truant student is defined as a student who has 5 days of unexcused absences within a single school year. An unexcused absence is defined as an absence in which a parent has not informed the school of such absence no later than one hour after the beginning of school on the day of the absence.
Student Responsibilities and Rights: Education is an extraordinary social equalizer. Regardless of social status, those who acquire an exceptional education in childhood and young adulthood will have the power to create exceptional financial and social opportunity for their families and themselves in adulthood. The breadth and depth of learning will significantly impact the quality of each student’s present and future life. All students have the right to improve their lives through learning. They have the right to posit educated guesses, share ideas, and exhibit their assigned projects without ridicule. All students have the right to learn in a risk free setting. Students are expected to display civil and responsible behavior and good citizenship. Students must complete their homework, participate in classroom discussions and projects, invest meaningful academic effort, and display perseverance.
Student are required to:
- attend school and be on time and be prepared,
- behave in a civil and respectful manner,
- complete daily homework, formulate specific and clear need-to-know questions,
- complete long-term projects, neatly and on time,
- invest their best-effort toward academic success,
- make reasonable and consistent progress toward academic goals,
- strive for scholarly distinction,
- participate as a contributing member of the ALL community,
- respect the property rights of others,
- take pride in the campus and physical structures by helping without being asked,
- respect other members of the ALL community (including teachers, administrators, and parents),
- respect the efforts of others,
- conscientiously pay attention when other students are speaking in class,
- participate in classroom discussions,
- refrain from disrupting instruction,
- maintain working files in good condition while keeping them current and accessible,
- restock their working files with the appropriate level
- keep a complete portfolio current and in good condition,
- invest sufficient effort to achieve academic excellence,
- display civil and responsible behavior,
- actively participate in the educational process,
- Behave in a civil and respectful manner befitting of an ALL community member.
Student Dress Code / Grooming: Students should dress in clean comfortable clothing with appropriate modesty and formality suitable for an academic setting. Students shall wear appropriate attire and adornment as is commonly accepted in western society and conforms to regional norms. Such attire and/or adornment shall be appropriate in a semi-formal work and study environment and shall not cause the students appearance to detract from the educational goals of ALL. Piercings, tattoos, scarification, or other body art that may or may not show gang affiliation, may be appropriate in other settings but is not deemed appropriate while attending or visiting ALL. Excessive or showy jewelry is not permitted. Markup is discouraged and heavy makeup is prohibited. On Mondays and Tuesdays, students are encouraged to wear smart-causal, business-informal, or national dress (when it reflects the student’s heritage or cultural experience and it does not violate the spirit of other requirements of this code) clothing. Elementary and preschool students must wear closed toe shoes. T-shirts, casual shorts, flip-flops and duckbill hats, “Gangster” style clothing, baggy low slung pants are prohibited. Hats are not to be worn in buildings. Clothing that depicts violence, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, obscenities, or degrades ethnicities, or is otherwise offensive will result in confiscation and destruction of such clothing. Attire or grooming which produces disorder or an atmosphere of intimidation or causes excessive wear or damage to school property (e.g., studs, chains, etc.) is prohibited. Regardless of style, if a student’s style of dress distracts others or is not conducive to academic diligence, the student will not be allowed to attend class.
School Etiquette: Although it is a common and desirable custom for members of the ALL community (including students, staff, and parents) to use first names, the use of first names is not required. In this academic setting, Nicknames and epithets are unacceptable. Regardless of the vocative used to address a person, members of the ALL community are expected to refer to one another with respect and dignity.
- It is inappropriate and undignified to exhibit ostentatiously affectionate behavior in an academic environment.
- Students shall refrain from “stepping” on another’s words (wait for the other person to finish speaking before starting to speak).
- Students are expected to exhibit inclusive behavior rather than excluding others from participation in activities and discussions.
- If a student has verbally contributed several times in a discussion, (s)he should provide “wait-time” for other, less gregarious students to participate before continuing to answer questions.
- In “whole group response” activities, all students should respond. The verbal responses from any one student should not be subordinately low or overtly loud
- Gum is not allowed on campus. Any student or adult observed chewing gum shall forfeit all gum in his/her possession and may further be sanctioned with a fine. The damage caused by improperly discarded gum is surprisingly high.
- Skate boards and scooters are not allowed on campus. The liability risk is unacceptable. Such items will be confiscated.
- In accordance with State Statute, alcohol products are not permitted on campus. Students bringing such items shall be subjected to strong disciplinary action.
- In accordance with State Statute, tobacco products of any kind are not permitted on campus. Staff, students, parents and visitors are not permitted to smoke on campus regardless of whether they are in their own cars or not.
- Toy knives, toy swords, toy guns, and any toy weapons of any kind are not permitted on campus. Any such items found in the possession of students or on school grounds will be destroyed.
- Knives (including small pocket knives), guns (working or not), box openers, razor blades, or any instrument which is, or reasonably can be considered a weapon is strictly prohibited. Explosives, bullets, or other such materials are strictly prohibited. Regardless of intent or amount. Should any child or adult bring any of these items on campus, law enforcement will be summoned and disciplinary action taken.
- Marking materials such as spray-paint, indelible markers
Telephone Messages: Except in emergencies, telephone messages for students will not be delivered.
Cell phones / Electronic Devices: Cell phones and recreational electronic devices are not permitted on campus and may not be used in any school building or anywhere on campus, during the academic day. Bringing such items on campus or their disallowed use may result in confiscation with the first infraction. Students who bring electronic devices (including allowed devices) to school do so at their own risk. The school will not investigate incidents related to the lost or damage of personal electronic devices. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen, damaged or confiscated personal items including electronic devices.
Computers / Network / Worldwide Web: Computer and internet privileges are available to responsible students during the academic day and extended hours. It is recommended that students purchase a device such as a “flash drive” for storage of their personal information and work. Files on the school’s computer hard drives are deleted or cleaned on a regular basis. Students should not save their files on the computer’s hard drive.
ALL strives to promote excellence in scholarship, communication and innovation by facilitating access to a reasonably uncensored global network. Students who dishonor this trust by accessing controversial materials without academic justification, written instructor approval, and written parental approval may forfeit their computer privileges on the first offense. Additional remedies may include suspension or expulsion.
Computer resources shall be used for only educational purposes. Copyright and trademark laws shall be respected. Students shall not divulge personally identifiable information unless authorized by the appropriate school official. Neither logins nor passwords may be shared with other persons. Students may use only the computer(s) to which they are assigned. Students may not attempt to change the settings on any computer, add or delete software, add or destroy hardware, or tamper with the security system. Students and/or their parents are financially responsible for any deliberate or unintentional damage or disruption that the student might cause, to any computer, software, hardware, setting(s) or internet service. The school reserves the right to overtly or covertly monitor the use of any computer and network resources on campus. Electronic communication shall not be considered private while physically on campus or digitally in transition through electronic resources contracted or owned by ALL and may be read by the appropriate school employee. Access privileges may be revoked at any time without notice for violations to the aforementioned by spirit or fact.
System Design /Instructional Methods
ALL’s instructional methods and pedagogy are supported by empirical research on human learning and motivation, within the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences, and on “Best Practices” techniques that have consistently demonstrated effectiveness and efficiency when rigorously evaluated. ALL’s instructional protocols facilitate learning by helping students gain awareness of their own cognitive processes and by encouraging students to refine their natural mental abilities such as: consolidation of knowledge into hierarchical and related chunks; analogical reasoning; logical extrapolation; learner activated metacognition; learner managed active learning; as well as other self-regulated mental behaviors. Responsibility for one’s own success or failure; pride in product; the desire to make meaningful contributions; commitment to academic integrity; and passion to make decisions and learn through objective self-analysis are not only fostered but are fundamental elements embedded throughout the application of ALL’s methodology. As a direct consequence of students having opportunities to direct their own educational activities, motivation and performance are greatly amplified. ALL’s academic model is of a “systems-engineered” multi-push design. All aspects of the “system” that impact student learning, are considered, developed, and designed to enhance learning outcomes including: institutional culture, classroom culture, instructional materials and methods, record keeping, and data collection and evaluation.
Research has shown that exposing children to abstract thought processes, as early as practical enhances the development of mental skills. ALL’s curriculum design is such that new material is linked to previously learned material. The organization and presentation of content is designed to help students build cumulative knowledge, logical reasoning skills, use rational extrapolation to gain insight, and develop scientific curiosity. Learning is easier and much more fun when new knowledge is associated with familiar concepts.
- Language ability, mathematical-logical reasoning, abstract thinking, cognitive power, and crystallized intelligence are not inextricably entangled with age (i.e., cognitive stage is not synonymous with chronological age and is not fundamentally or solely driven by biology “nature”). Effortful learning over an extended period of time can produce prodigious expertise (creativity/talent/skill/knowledge) at any age.
- Children advance through sensitive stages of cognitive, linguistic, and social development. Critical phases of development and learning interact with experience to produce broad variations in student ability and readiness at widely varied ages.
- Failing to recognize, stimulate, reinforce, and develop emergent talents and creativity, during sensitive stages, may significantly diminish a child’s potential. Exposing children to abstract thought at an early age enhances the development of their thought processes and positively impacts their future learning ability.
- Exposing children to cognitively challenging and creative tasks, during sensitive periods, can enhance present and future learning behaviors and cognitive ability. Fluid intelligence is affected by motivation, opportunity, and environment.
- Throughout childhood, every child will intermittently exhibit splinter skills indicative of brilliance. Reinforcements can stabilize these skills.
- Every child should be provided with the opportunity to develop his/her unique, emergent gifts and reap the subsequent rewards.
- Childhood should be a period of intense curiosity, unquenchable questioning, creative production, consumption of knowledge, the tenacious pursuit of understanding, and the development of skills.
- Educational practices should stimulate the innate human thirst for knowledge and understanding. Intrinsic motivation should be the driving force for student learning.
- Childhood should be a sheltered transitional period in which children learn and develop adaptive behaviors, consistent with high moral and social values, required to meet the survival demands of adulthood.
- Childhood experiences function as cognitive and social preparation for adulthood. What one values and how one behaves in childhood is predictive of their adult values and behaviors. Adult guidance and modeling can greatly impact a child’s future values and behavior.
- Segregating children into strict age groupings limits opportunities to develop diverse social skills, intellectual resilience, and cultural competencies. Strict same age grouping yields a childhood culture with a dearth of behavioral variance, propagates intolerance of individual difference, and diminishes children’s native cooperative spirit.
- Fluid ability is multifaceted and can be uneven, across cognitive modalities, in typical as well as learning disabled children. Typical students often exhibit splinter skills and are not a homogeneous group of learners.
- Same age children vary in range of subject matter exposure, the depth to which they comprehend concepts, and effectiveness of learning behaviors. Past opinions of age appropriate instructional level lack reliable research support. When these opinions are used to limit content exposure or direct teaching practices the majority of students do not receive instruction consistent with their functional level.
- Student learning behaviors influence comprehension, acquisition, retrieval, generalization, and application of knowledge.
- Learning-to-learn is a legitimate topic of instruction when presented in concert with curriculum content.
- Organization and presentation of curriculum content influences comprehension, retention, recall, generalization, and effective use of knowledge.
- The limitations of time and the massiveness of the curriculum are such that teaching efficiency as well as effectiveness is a necessary concern while designing instructional strategies.
- Motivational factors influence attention, effort, and the rate and depth of learning.
- Learning is not a single memorial process but is plexus of mediating mental process including conceptual scaffolds, informational chunking, and generalizations.
- Proactive meta-cognitive learning strategies can be taught and can enhance a student’s ability to learn.
- Appropriate learning goals include utilitarian application of concepts and skills, insight, and increased ability to learning.
- The goal of formal education is not only the passage of content knowledge to the following generations, but includes development of insight and the promotion of creative, and nontrivial problem solving capability.
Instructional Level: No student grouping is educationally and developmentally homogeneous. Same age, same grade students are never completely homogeneous in regard to academic preparation, family or peer support, drive, or developed talent. With the realization that all schools are comprised of individual students whose learning characteristics vary widely from student to student, it follows that groups of same age/grade students also vary widely in their specific needs relative to strengths and weaknesses; and each student has a unique learning profile. At ALL, students receive instruction at their functional level and are allowed to capitalize on their personal and cognitive resources. Although most classrooms at ALL are comprised of students of different ages and grades, students within each classroom display comparable levels of procedural skill and declarative knowledge. To ensure appropriate courses or classroom placement, transfer students’ baseline skills and knowledge are estimated utilizing a variety of measures. Placement level of returning students is determined utilizing each student’s prior year performance outcomes. In order to reduce variance, students are selected for classroom membership, based on academic level not age or grade. The more homogeneous students’ academic range, within a classroom, the more opportunity the classroom teacher has to provide instruction at an optimal level for every student. Although attempts are made to minimize spread within each classrooms, it is not possible to eliminate all academic variance. In addition, the slope and timing of every student’s learning curve fluctuates independently; with bursts and plateaus occurring outside of easily predictable patterns, adding to variance between students over time. Even in the most academically homogeneous classroom, effective and efficient instruction, itself, produces variance in students’ functional levels. Consequently, ALL instructors are trained in a variety of pedagogically sound techniques to teach on a range of levels simultaneously.
Instructional strategies which address variations in student knowledge and functional level include an open-ended content design which allows students to progress at their own pace without being restricted by neither grade-level-content barriers nor lock-step-pacing. Instructional scaffolding techniques are designed to promote self-sustained student learning in a competitive but support environment. Instructional level and rigor are continuously adjusted to meet each student’s challenge level (threshold where content can be mastered only through effortful learning) but not overwhelm students (failure threshold: content cannot be mastered without significant help or unrealistic effort). Self-leveling instructional materials and system design ensure that each student receives instruction at his/her individualized challenge level (zone of proximal development, ZPD). Curricular and system design ceiling effects (constraints on higher than grade level achievement) and cumulative-failure effects (weak prerequisite skills due to years of poor instruction and/or low performance expectations) have been remove. No student is required to wait for another student to learn, nor is any student driven so hard as to experience inordinate frustration. During the second year of attendance, most students accelerate beyond traditional grade level goals. Although students are empowered to control their own progress, they must meet or exceed minimum criterion referenced expectations. If a student is not learning at a rate commensurate with ability, teachers and staff ‘do what-ever-it-takes’ to ensure academic success for every student.
Classroom Membership: Although, ALL’s curricular objectives are congruent with the Arizona Department of Education academic standards most students, over time, will exceed state standard. Instructional level is not constrained by a student’s age or grade. Intra-classroom performance variability is reduced through multi-age multi-grade classrooms. Students are selected for classroom membership based on academic level and learning behaviors not age or grade. Multi-age, multi-grade classrooms ensure appropriate instruction level for each student. Multi-age multi-grade classrooms provide a mix of older and younger children facilitating a broad range of natural and desirable social behaviors (e.g., nurturing, spontaneous cross age cooperation, teacher-learner flexibility). Tutors are selected based on grasp of the content not grade. Older students may help younger students or receive help from younger students. All students are expected to be both patient tutor and receptive tutee.
Classroom Culture /Classroom Dynamics: Although every classroom is a unique potpourri of personalities, the instructor has substantial influence in shaping students’ interpersonal behaviors. The teacher is trained to use practices focused on helping students develop social interactions which facilitate an esprit de corps; creating of a supportive, risk-free learning environment. The socio-dynamics in each classroom radiates an ambiance which includes the following:
- an appreciation and acceptance of student differences and a recognition that each student is worthy or respect, can make meaningful contributions, and each has the responsibility to contribute to the classroom community
- a reverence for civilization’s tradition of protecting its children from the travails of adulthood in that those children may acquire the knowledge and wisdom to themselves become the bearers of civilization and the stewards of the next generation
- an expectation that every student has the ability to reflect upon his/her prior experiences and make responsible academic and social choices; an expectation that mistakes are part of a continuous process of improvement
- an awareness that what is learned today (e.g., content, social skills, knowledge, control of one's own learning) will impact each student's future (e.g., financial, intellectual, professional, emotional) (what you do today will impacts what you will be able to do tomorrow)
- an enjoyment of learning and excitement for sharing knowledge with others
Teachers and instructors adhere to the following tenets:
- The purpose of school is to provide each student with equal access to education.
- The role of the teacher is to encourage student learning and provide access to knowledge.
- Students are expected to self-regulate their behavior and learning, and to become a participating productive member of classroom culture.
- Although students are expected to resolve differences equitably, the classroom teacher is the final arbiter when children choose not to resolve difficulties
- Everyone is a student and teacher. Everyone has a responsibility to help every other individual learn (the instructor will provide training in "good teacher practices" and "good student practices").
- Every student has the right to learn. No student has the right to interfere with another’s learning.
- No one is capable of forcing anyone else to learn against their will, no should they try. Every student has the right to fail and the ability to succeed with effort
Each student's innate curiosity, emergent talent, and drive "to know" are cultivated. Individual achievement and polite participation are extolled. Overt comparisons and the pitting of one student's ambition against another’s sense of personal worth are avoided. No student's success is dependent on another student’s failure. Each student is treated as a contributing member of the group while individual differences are accepted and unique needs and talents are recognized. The expression of acumen, responsible conduct, and socially disciplined citizenship are among the beneficial outcomes related to clear behavioral and academic expectations.
Instructional Practices/ Methods and Components: Elementary School (grades K-5) and Secondary School (grades 6-12) utilize similar pedagogy but slightly different methods of application. Although, traditional text books are utilized summative and formative student performance data is collected via Expert Trials and Challenge Exercise. Instructional components and practices utilized by both the Elementary and Secondary schools include: direct instruction in Metacognitive Knowledge and Skill Development; Choral Review; Choral Exercises; Individual and Small Group Gating; Need-To-Know Discussions; Want-to-Know Symposia; Global Lectures; Call and Response Oral Activities; Preceptorials; Town Hall Forums, student driven classroom management; Expert Trials (mastery exams); Challenge Exercises (application exams/essays); Small Group and Individual Projects; Laboratory Investigations; Direct instruction and development of soft skills; and Nonverbal shaping.
INSTRUCTIONAL COMPONENTS: “Within class” instructional activities and strategies include formalized Oral Activities, Expert Trials (mastery learning), Challenge Exercises (application of learning), teacher driven Global Lectures, student driven Need-To-Know discussions, Heuristic Discussions, Preferred Activity Gating, cooperative group projects, individualized projects, classroom etiquette and protocols, various motivational strategies, Teacher Mentors, Student tutors, Student Guides, feedback and intervention.
Oral Activities: Structured oral activities reinforce content knowledge and greatly increase the efficiency of the learning process. Oral strategies are used to: reinforce knowledge scaffolds, meaningfully associate conceptual “chunks” and imbed content knowledge into long-term memory. Large knowledge domains are compressed into hierarchical chunks. These activities include: choral rehearsal, choral review, call and response, oral gating, reciprocal peer coaching, and collaborative teaching. Daily oral exercises provide opportunities to develop student attending-behaviors such as: self-directed attention, selective attention, divided focus, attention intensity, and reflective thinking. Effort is made to both generalize and internalize (automatize) productive learning behaviors.
Choral Reviews: are of a short duration and high frequency. Choral Exercises may occur throughout the day. These Reviews provide opportunities for: rehearsal with elaboration; reactivation of previously learned content; cognitive consolidation (i.e., lecture content is condensed into nomenclature with organizational, conceptual, and often mnemonic value); shaping automatic learning behavior (tempo and disposition), and stimulation intrinsic motivation. Choral reviews are surprisingly effective at establishing a pace and arousal level that continues throughout the day. When executed effectively, they are exceedingly fun for the students.
Choral Review / Choral Exercises Features:
- Frequency / Distributed Rehearsal: Choral Exercises are scheduled daily and spontaneously utilized throughout the day. Targeted content is distributed over time and memory traces are reactivated.
- Duration: Exercises take from 5 to 15 minutes.
- Consolidation, Mental Constructs, and Associations: Previously learned constructs are associated with new constructs (thus avoiding the memorial isolation effects of “pigeonholing”) re-associating and strengthening memory traces (i.e., neurons that wire together fire together).
- Increases Working Memory Capacity: Instructor utilizes “successive approximation” strategies to extend the temporal endurance, item capacity, and resilience to distraction of students’ working memories.
- Rhythm and tempo: Tempo is rapid. Shifts between concepts are smooth (conceptually connected) and seamless (there are no long pauses).
- Voice and volume: Student voices are of medium volume. The group voice is blended harmoniously (no voice is heard above others, each voice can be heard). Voices are synchronized and all students start and end together (no student races ahead). Voices are lucid and distinct. Instructors learn to “selectively attend” to specific voices, providing opportunity to establish a simple yet effective feedback loop (non-verbal) used to “shape” individual student motivation, confidence, and attending behaviors.
- Non-verbal communication: Teacher utilizes facial expression, eye contact, posture, subtle gestures, and physical proximity to increase attention levels, focus, participation, and confidence. Teacher enlists eye-fix and eye-contact, in a non-disruptive and high-frequency style, encouraging individuals with low participation rates or low confidence to join in the Choral Exercises. Utilizing scanning, facial expressions, and sampling, teacher assesses and assures full and continuous participation. Teachers frequently employ subtle reinforcing gestures to encourage those who begin to respond and ensure that those who have been responding to continue responding.
- Reasoning Heuristics / Analogies: Fast and frugal coding generalizations are actively constructed having the effect of significantly reducing cognitive load. The process of analogy generalization models “thinking” strategies that have a high probability of being adopted, adapted, and generalized by individual students to understand and solve novel problems.
- Fade: A teacher will diminish visual and auditory cues as the group proficiency and cohesion increase.
- Mixed Response Levels: The instructor will use a plethora of non-verbal communication devices to cue whole group, part group, and individual response. If mixed response cues are used to develop desirable behaviors in an individual, a teacher will intermittently move from whole group responses to individual until desired response and engagement behaviors are continuously exhibited (shaping through successive approximations).
- Mastery: Teachers will initially rehearse cognitively compressed content in conceptually sequenced order (cognitive map, display based map, mental maps). When whole group confidence is evident, the teacher will modify the response expectation to an alternate, more challenging order. When confidence is again evident, the teacher will randomize the response expectation. When confidence is again evident, the teacher will remove the mastered rehearsal target from the daily list of topics to be rehearsed and place it in the “hiatus list” for subsequent intermittent review.
- Learning Probes: The teacher will use “Oral Accountability Probes” to check for: recall efficiency, mastery level understanding, level of confidence (individual and group), intentional extensions (transfer, generalization, extrapolation, problem solving transfer, or active knowledge construction), fluid response dexterity (the ability to associated targeted knowledge with previously learned material in a unique unrehearsed but conceptually sound manner).
Interactive Global Lectures: are whole class instructor directed discussions (often dialectic) of targeted content in which knowledge scaffolds and schemata are actively constructed. Although lectures are teacher guided, students are encouraged to make rational deductions and predictions in the process of constructing scaffolds. The instructor, through a host of verbal and non-verbal techniques, ensures students’ active engagement, heightened levels of arousal, focus (every student attending 100% of the time), and a high frequency of opportunities-to-respond (approximately 4 per minute). Global Lectures have “Socratic” characteristics including a high rate of instructor questioning (both rhetorical and direct) that stimulates each student to reasoning logically while developing mental constructs. Using “task-end-analysis” and data (real-time student performance data) driven process, the instructor plans lectures and ensures that targeted content is evenly distributed and fully covered by the end of the grading period. Targeted content is organized and presented utilizing a “simultaneous instructional model” rather than the traditional “sequential model. That is, the “Big Picture” is the first topic of discussion; “Global” concepts that summarize the targeted learning objectives are introduced before topic details (i.e., a scaffold is constructed, on which to hang subordinate-constructs / hierarchical schemata). As details are introduced they are related back to the “Big Picture” and previously introduced schemata. Students are required to develop notetaking skills utilizing a modified Cornell / Metacognitive template. Students are allowed to use electronic devices provided they are not used for any other purpose than academic, during school hours. Instructors construct “cognitive maps” to assist student understanding of relationships between “chunks” of knowledge. An example of one such “cognitive map” is the “Arithmetic Counting Operations” illustrated on this page. Instructors are trained to engage students at different levels of confidence and knowledge simultaneously within the lecture environment.
Need-to-Know Discussions: are whole class student directed discussions. Students identify areas in which they need further explanation and formulate and submit specific questions to the instructor prior to the Need-to-Know discussion. The instructor organizes and groups the questions. During the interactive discussion, student's peers answer questions, and the instructor elaborates on their responses so-as-to. Additionally, through the use of various techniques, the instructor shapes students’ critical analysis skills, logical reasoning skills, and dialectical thinking skills. The instructor provides explicit instruction and guided practice in learning-to-learn behaviors, including; scripted problem-solving strategies, self-monitoring skills, and self-directed learning. If a student fails to complete an assignment but has made a good-faith-effort (searching notes, consulting internet resource, reading reference texts, etc.) the student formulates a specific question in preparation for the "Need-To-Know" discussion. Students maintain a Need-to-know “Question Log” along with the answers to their questions.
Expert Trials / Continuous Assessments: Expert trials are administered daily, provide for continuous evaluation of “growth” and support high student accountability. They are formative “power” exams that fuel data driven feedback loops in each subject. They represent the “mastery” component of the overall instructional design and focus principally on declarative knowledge and mental constructs. They measure individual student’s progress rather than group performance, however when the data is analyzed as grouped data, they are a reliable measures of instructor effectiveness. Expert Trials provide for distributed practice and generate fine-grained (cover content in detail), evaluative data that drives instruction, guides student academic intervention, and informs in-service needs of instructors. That is, unlike traditional summative exams, which are administered only two to three times a semester and only “sample” what is learned (after-the-fact), Expert Trial procedures evaluate students’ acquisition of knowledge and skills in detail (in real-time.) Expert Trials are of a self-leveling design such that difficulty level is matches each student’s proficiency level (challenge level). Expert Trials are easy to “master” if the learner understands the targeted content and become successively more difficult if the learner does not possess “deep” understanding. Such design allows students to reach their individualized challenge level quickly. Expert Trials provide objective criterion referenced measures of each student’s “mastery” of the targeted content.
Expert Trials evaluate the effectiveness of targeted learning as well as consolidation of learning into larger knowledge structures (consolidation with prior knowledge.) Trials specify a maximum testing time and a maximum number of errors (cut scores) for each level. If the maximum error rate or time limit is exceeded, a student must re-study and retake the same level the next day. If time and error rate is at or less than the specified “cut-score” limit, the next sequentially numbered trial is attempted. If students wish, and the allotted time permits, more Trial numbers may be attempted. Formative (the evaluation instrument is involved in both the teaching and evaluative process) Expert Trials help students rapidly progress to their challenge level (ZPD). Expert Trials are self-limiting; if the student finds the learning task relatively easy, s/he is encouraged to increase the rate at which the evaluations are completed. The Expert Trials are a mastery component in which students’ progress at rates commensurate with their effort. There is no penalty for repeating levels other than a reduction in rate of learning and delay in completing the requirements. If students complete the evaluation materials and other requirements prior to the time other students complete this work, the student may choose to accelerate their acquisition of knowledge and/or enter an elective class.
Expert Trials are proctored in each subject every day; contain from 12-30 short answer, essay, process, and/or construct questions (dependent on subject); and must be completed within fifteen to twenty minutes. The anticipated “Mastery” rate average is approximately 2.4 trials for each subject, for each week of instruction, however there is no maximum rate (ceiling) and students may progress at rates commensurate with their effort and ability. Students participate with the instructor to ensure feedback is provided in close temporal proximity to effort; by the end of the time allotted for testing (approximately 15 minutes) the majority of students will have their scored Expert Trials returned to them (see: Expert Trial Paper Flow insert this page). Generally, a Need-to-know discussion will follow immediately.
Challenge Exercises / Continuous Assessments: Challenge Exercise procedures are both formative and evaluative. Challenge Exercises represent the “application” of knowledge component of the overall instructional design and focus predominantly on the development of procedural knowledge, expansion of problem solving skills, and generalization and application of declarative and procedural knowledge in unique circumstances. The Challenge Exercise protocols and design provide extensive feedback loops (i.e., goal directed effort ⇄ corrective feedback). Challenge Exercises are included in classwork and comprise a substantial percentage of the homework assigned. Challenge Exercises are sequentially numbered with higher numbers corresponding to increasing sophistication of cognitive demands and require cumulative content knowledge recall. However, it does not always follow that higher numbers represent greater difficulty. Similar to the Expert Trials, the difficulty level of sequentially numbered Challenge Exercises decrease abruptly when new concepts are introduced and increase incrementally as the intricacy and depth of constructs and skills are developed (both forward and backward chaining skill development strategies are imbedded within the Challenge design). Unlike Expert Trials, Challenge Exercises do not have cut scores, after receiving feedback students correct all their errors and resubmit their work for evaluation. Only on-time good-faith-effort and error-correction data are recorded by the students, in their personal records, and by the instructor, in the official record (see: Challenge Summary Record this page). Challenge Exercises are embedded and sequentially numbered within several of the subject content series Expert Trials. Challenge Exercises are not proctored or timed and students participate along with the instructor to ensure timely feedback is provided. Anticipated mastery rate is approximately 2.5 Challenge Exercises, for each week of instruction; however, there is no maximum rate (ceiling). Students may progress at a rate commensurate with effort and functional ability (see: Challenge Procedure Paper Flow, this page). Embedded in the Challenge series are a variety of cognitive primers and incidental topics used to inspire group discussion and elaboration.
Homework: Students have “Homework Options” every day. The encouragement of goal oriented behaviors make most homework a pleasant and desirable experience for parents and students. Most students are able to complete homework assignments within one hours (with the exception of long-term assignments) however, some students require more time-on-task while others require less. Neither homework nor seatwork is busy-work, nor is it used as punishment (at school or at home). If a student is not completing homework on a regular basis and not using homework time effectively, it is recommended to parents that they limit study time to a maximum of one hour and note doing so, in the “Teacher-Parent Dialogue Record” that travels home and to school every school day. Most assignments are due the following school day; some complex assignments extend over a longer term but require incremental evaluations. Instructors check and record progress on homework daily.
Unlike the traditional concept of homework (e.g., homework is “practice”) ALL homework requires the student to apply what has been learned to novel problems, investigate content yet to be taught, and is designed to challenge thinking, however students are not expected to spend an inordinate amount of "effortful" time on homework. Through development of their metacognitive skills, students learn to discriminate ineffective effortless work from effective effortful work. Although students are not discouraged from developing greater tenacity and spending more time on Homework and academic topics of interest, care is taken to avoid allowing a student to struggle to the point of frustration. If a student is not able, after a good faith effort, to solve or "figure-it-out" a problem, s/he formulates a specific question enters it in the “Need-to-Know Question Log” and finishes the remaining homework. This process facilitates the development of tenacity, problem-solving strategies, self-monitoring skills, and self-directed learning.
Expert/ Challenge Conventions and Requirements:
- Students reach minimum threshold numbers to meet requirements for course of study. Students receive “Course of Study Credit” when threshold “range” has been meet or exceeded.
- Content requirements are not time dependent: They may be met in a two semesters or sooner
- Students move to sequential content when requirements are met regardless of term or semester
- Students receive “Course of Study Credit” when threshold has been met or exceeded
- “Time in Residence” and “Course of Study Credit” are not synonymous
- No ceiling effect/ unencumbered access to appropriate level of difficulty: No constraints shall be placed on student progress which reduces the possibility of measuring further growth.
- Students must not be required to wait for lectures to attempt “Experts” or “Challenges.”
- Students must not be required to slowdown or wait for the class to “catch-up.”
- Student must be allowed to attempt more than one trial during a designated proctored time.
- Proctoring protocols must be standardized such that all instructor are allowed to proctor
- No accumulated ignorance effect/ embedded self-leveling challenge effect: Students advance through sequential content relative to their functional level.
- A Trial not mastered, shall be attempted during the next proctored opportunity.
- Challenges not mastered must have all errors corrected then resubmitted.
- Difficulty stepping between sequential Trials (Challenge and Expert) is roughly equal and achievable in the allotted time (1:1 power ratio) with directed effort but not without.
- Avoidance of cherry-picking: Students may not attempt Trials beyond target mastery range (spread 3 not mastered beyond last mastered).
- Content difficulty may require multiple years, if mastery is too slow, instructor interventions are required (three or more attempts on any one Expert or Challenge without mastery)
- Students must demonstrate targeted skills upon mastery, assessed with independent measures.
- Record Keeping: Accurate and cumulative records must be maintain from year to year
- Average minimum mastery pace per five contact days shall not be less than 2.4 (any slower rate interferes with motivation) (if mastery rate is too slow teacher interventions are required)
- Accurate, real-time, student performance records must be maintained daily
- Assessment instruments and dynamic assessments protocols shall be standardized; maintaining instrument reliability and interrater reliability; within and between classrooms
- Data entered in MARC must be “clean” and must remain un-confounded.
- At the beginning of the academic, year students must start series at the number they ended the previous year. Accurate end “numbers” must be entered in MARC.
- Expert Series and Challenge Series Inclusions and Selected Design Characteristics. Each content-subject series includes:
- Criterion referenced assessments with significant “depth of knowledge” demands,
- Reading comprehension questions,
- Writing (e.g., essay, short answer) questions,
- Includes nomenclature questions within content domain,
- Problem solving questions within content domain.
Topic Reading Assignments: Reading topics are assigned as both homework and in-school reading. Reading is expected to be completed IN ADVANCE of lectures and as related to some Expert Trials and/or Challenge assignmen
Content Area Average Grade: (Academic Growth Letter Grade, top line, e.g., MATHEMATICS, LANGUAGE) Need-To–Know / Participation, Choral Review / Participation, and Homework Completion can often predict or explain an average grade. Outcome knowledge and skill acquisition are weighted more heavily than activities which are designed to support such acquisition. Therefore it is possible, although unlikely, that a student can receive negative evaluations in Need-to-Know, Choral Exercises, and Homework Completion; receive progress grades of A’s in Challenge Exercises and Expert Trials; and receive an overall grade of A in the content area.
Teacher qualifications Training: ALL Teachers and instructors meet either Arizona certification requirements or the requirements for being Arizona Highly Qualified. Certified teachers, including those holding certificates through an alternative to the State pathway, may teach in areas associated with their certificate(s)/endorsement(s). In addition to meeting State qualifications, ALL teachers and instructors are provided with intensive in-situ and formal in-service training. Although learning paradigms and instructional techniques utilized at ALL are described in educational research literature, it is improbable that any teacher (State qualified or not) could develop sufficient procedural knowledge to meet the pedagogical demands of the twenty-first century, without direct and intensive training. It is unlikely that even the most seasoned teacher might be capable of meeting ALL’s expectations without significant “procedural” training. In other words; ALL Instructors are trained to apply the methods described in “Instructional Components” (in this document) effectively and efficiently above and beyond the State requirements. It is ineffective to simply tell teaches (i.e., declarative knowledge) what to do and hope they can apply the strategies (i.e., procedure knowledge) without active and intensive training!
Teacher qualifications / Parents Right-To-Know: Parents have the right to information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teacher(s) including whether their child’s teacher: has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels; is teaching in the subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction; provisional status through which State qualification or licensing criteria have been waived; discipline in which (s)he is qualified. Parents also have the right-to-know if their child is provided services by paraprofessional and the paraprofessional’s qualifications; and timely notification if their child has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by, a teacher who does not meet State certification or licensure requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher has been assigned. Teacher and instructor qualifications may be reviewed in the ALL main office.
Content Flexibility/ Knowledge Resources: Parents are encouraged to be involved in their children’s education and students are encouraged to work in groups in which each they are regarded as a contributing community member. Instructors facilitate an esprit de corps ambiance and cultivates a supportive, risk-free learning environment where one student's success is not be dependent on another’s failure. ALL is dedicated to a learner-centered and knowledge-centered environment that maximizes the effectiveness and efficiency of learning activities and instructional practices. ALL is committed to improving: student learning outcomes; instructor skills; the quality of curricular materials; and pedagogical efficiency through data driven design decisions.
ALL recognizes parents as valuable partners in the education of their children however ALL also recognizes that resources and opportunities vary widely between families. Consequently, those parents and who can and will invest time and energy in their child’s education are encouraged to do so. ALL encourages parents to embark, with their children, on their areas of passion or expertise. ALL will sometimes quote the Italian proverb, "All roads to Rome.” (i.e., there are many ways to solve most problems), when children complain, "That's not the way my teacher does it." It is to a child's advantage to be exposed to divergent explanations and approaches to problem solving. ALL does not expect parents to teach their children but does hope and encourage them to be involved in the instructional process.
Metacognitive Skills, Personality Traits, Soft Skills: Students receive intensive instruction in a variety of metacognitive and soft skill topics embedded within subject content instruction. Skills and strategies are explicitly taught, modeled and reinforced from both declarative and procedural knowledge perspectives. Students receive ample opportunities to practice metacognitive and soft skill techniques while applying them to learning specific academic content. Additionally, instructors actively shape individual and group learning behaviors (metacognitive, soft, and trait) across all instructional domains (e.g., lectures, group learning, individual inquiry, etc.) Foci include: self-management; interpersonal competencies; team-working skills; critical thinking and problems solving skills; openness to learning and ideas; ability to cooperate and agreeability; conscientiousness; emotional intelligence; organizational and planning skills; communication skills; strategic thinking; self-monitoring and control. As students begin to exhibit independence and gain competence, they are given increasing responsibility for directing, planning, implementing and regulating their own learning. Metacognitive knowledge may develop independently of metacognitive regulation.
A culture of metacognitive awareness is a central to ALL’s view of “classrooms as learning communities.” Implicit to this idea is that teachers, and parents are not the ideal managers of all aspects of planning, monitoring, regulating, and feedback; rather teachers and parents provide the transitional support necessary for students to experience academic success, but then “fade” support as students gain competence as strategic thinkers and active learners. Through direct instruction guided practice in metacognitive declarative knowledge and strategies, members of ALL’s learning communities, learn to activate their “executive functions” (cognitive control over learning process), suppress impulsive behaviors (when counterproductive to group or individual learning,) and plan learning activities strategically. Skill specific strategies are taught in situ across learning domains (e.g., “Learning in a Lecture Environment;” “Optimizing Learning in a Seminar Format;” etc.)
Habitual fixed-pattern behaviors that are detrimental to learning (e.g., inappropriate orienting behaviors; attention seeking behaviors; disruptive behaviors; off-topic “trolling” behaviors) are supplanted with automatized “procedural” mental behaviors that are conducive to learning (e.g., working memory behavior in which one relates newly introduced idea to prior constructs while simultaneously extrapolating concepts not yet introduced.) Behavioral scripts, diffusion chaining, and overt shaping (principally successive approximations and feedback loop chaining) are utilized to automatize a host of metacognitive procedural skills and adaptive learning behaviors.
Self-monitored Learning / Continuous Growth Model: Teaching practices utilized at ALL help students form meaningful associations between what they have learned and what they are learning. Declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and the development of “learning to Learn” skills are taught through direct intensive instruction. Students come to understand that learning is a cumulative lifelong process, not an all-or-none mental state. Students come to realize that they are in control (locus of control) of their own academic success and that their efforts will be rewarded both in the long-term and short-term. Students are encouraged to be strategic thinkers and are explicitly taught metacognitive skills embedded within the instruction of subject content. Pedagogical practices provide for a large variety of authentic applications of cognitive skills which facilitate academic success such as: strategic planning; organizational chunking; task analysis; domain analysis; logical extrapolation; hierarchical knowledge trees; learner activated metacognition; soft-skill development; and development of desirable personality “traits” (conscientiousness, openness, and agreeableness). ALL helps students develop active learning and self-regulated behaviors, and encourages students to control and direct their own education towards defined goals. Learning expectations are rigorous yet within reasonable anticipations that each student can meet their individualized goals with effortful endeavor. Each academic year, students pick up from where they left off the previous year in both declarative knowledge, and procedural knowledge acquisition.
Formative Feedback Loops: Expert Trials, Challenge assignments, homework, incremental exams and projects provide formative and summative evaluations of individual student performance. Continuous formative evaluations of each student’s progress towards their individualized goals is made possible through the Expert Trials and Challenge protocols along with their high frequency administration. Instructors input student data directly into MARC (ALL’s automated data analysis and management system) as it is generated, where the official school record is maintained. Students maintain dated records of their progress in their personal log.
With the use of “MARC” students, parents, instructors, and administrators have real-time access to “trend-analysis” predictions of individual student progress. Expert Trials and Challenges are fine-grained (test in high detail, rather than sample), provide for deep learning and rehearsal of previously learned content; build new knowledge and procedural skill on previously learned material; are administered at a high frequency (daily), are returned to the student only minutes after completion; and are immediately followed by a corrective “Need-to-know” feedback sessions guided by high quality student outcome data. (See: Expert Trials / Challenge Exercises / Homework).
Assessment of Progress: A variety of assessment tools utilized at ALL produce overlapping data streams that represent related but distinctly different objectives including: Appropriate placement of students; Reports to parents or guardians of assessment outcomes documenting their child’s progress towards individualized student learning objectives (SLO); Providing students with individualized data driven, feedback (assessment) loops with which they can monitor and adjust their own progress; Providing instructors with data driven real-time feedback loops, with which they can monitor teaching effectiveness in each content subject; Providing administrators with data driven real-time feedback loops with which they can monitor instructor effectiveness, by content subject, by grade, by student demographics, and the school as a whole; Guiding the selection of in-service training topics; And providing data driven evaluations that can inform the further development and revision of subject content materials and pedagogical strategies.
Student Progress Reports and Midterm Progress Reports: End of term Student Progress Reports are mailed to each student’s home address at approximately fourth-five day intervals. Midterm Student Progress “Trend Reports” (reports predicating end-of-term letter grades) are mailed home midway through each term. However, with the use of MARC parents, teachers, administrators, and students can view progress towards individualized goals in real-time (daily/hourly) over a secure internet link. The instructor enters raw data directly into MARC where it is condensed, processed, and directed to various output reports, including the Student Progress Report.
The following is an example of a typical end-of-term student progress report. Column one (Subject Domains) and column eight (Instructional Series) may vary slightly within classrooms and substantially between classrooms. Column two (Start Number) is the student’s level in the indicated series at the beginning of the term. Column three (End Number) is the student’s level at the end of the term. Their difference is used to calculate column four, Percent of the individualized goal. Column five is the Letter Grade (A-F) based on the student’s “Growth” relative to individualized Goal. Column six indicates the student’s functional grade level relative to the student’s actual grade level (ABG-above grade level; ATG-at grade level; BLG-below grade level). Column seven (Subject Weighted Grade) is the student’s grade (A-F) in the Subject, weighted across subject Domains.
Benchmark Growth Model/ Composite Classrooms: ALL incorporates a learner centered instructional model in which academic growth, from each student’s individualized baseline, is given greater weight than reaching grade level standards. For the student who is already functioning well above grade level, setting a grade level goal commensurate with age can be discouraging. For such a student, ALL will set a goal that is rigorous but reasonable, even if it requires completing AP calculus and AP physics in the eighth grade (not unheard of at ALL). For the student whose skills are so poor that reaching grade level within the foreseeable future is unachievable, setting a grade level goal commensurate with age might guarantee academic failure. For such a student, ALL will set goals that are rigorous but reasonable, such that the student will experience frequent success, and that will eventually lead to the acquisition of grade level proficiency. ALL recognizes that motivation and passion are increased when learning-task-demands are within a student’s ability to succeed with effort, but above a student’s ability to succeed without meaningful effort. ALL recognizes that success increases passion and motivation, and greatly expands students’ ZPD range. ALL also recognizes that both, success with little effort, and failure due to task-demands that require unreasonable effort, greatly decrease motivation, passion and diminishes students’ ZPD range. ALL believes it essential to place students at the appropriate challenge levels where they can succeed with meaningful effort; not at their “cumulative failure level” where they simply fall increasingly behind. When students have not mastered the required skills to reach grade proficiency, are segregated into classes based on only grade level, they are unlikely to succeed. When students who have already exceeded grade level proficiency standards, are segregated into classes based on only grade, they are unlikely to reach their potential. In both cases, our society suffers.
ALL’s “benchmark” growth model produces accelerated academic growth and offers realistic hope for students who are behind, to eventually meet or exceed grade level expectations. Ironically, ALL’s growth model also offers pronounced advantages to advanced students who are curious about everything, motivated by scholarly achievement, and who recognize the enduring benefits of academic success. No student is required to wait for an instructor or other students to progress. Instructional strategies which address broad variations in student knowledge includes an open-ended content design which allows students to progress at their own pace without being restricted by either grade-level-content barriers or lock-step-pacing. Students work at their challenge level and ceiling effects (grade-level-content barriers) have been eliminated.
Seldom does a group of same grade students produce an educationally homogeneous classroom. Students are not uniform in regard to academic preparation, family or peer support, drive, or developed talent. With the realization that a school is comprised of individuals whose learning characteristics vary from student to student, it follows that students possess needs specific to their particular strengths or weaknesses. As a consequence, each student has a unique learning profile. At ALL, Students receive instruction at their functional level. They are allowed to benefit from their unique cognitive resources and receive resources consistent with their needs. Curricular materials are sequenced and stepped to challenge but not overwhelm the students. Although students are empowered to control their own progress, they are required to meet or exceed specific minimum growth goals. Students are expected to progress towards these goals commensurate with their prior knowledge and cognitive characteristics. Over time, most students can be expected to accelerate beyond traditional grade level expectations. However, if a student is not learning at a rate commensurate with ability, teachers and staff do ‘what-ever-it-takes’ to ensure academic success.
Students are expected to achieve mastery as demonstrated by objective and clear outcome criteria. Each student accrues a cumulative portfolio that testifies to the breadth and depth of learning achievement. Instructional level is not constrained by a student’s age or grade. Classroom spread relative to students’ academic level and learning behavioral profiles, is reduced through the use of multi-grade classrooms. Students are selected for classroom membership based on academic level and learning behavioral profiles not age or grade. Multi-grade classrooms support appropriate instruction level for each student. Additionally they provide for a mix of older and younger children, facilitating a broad range of natural and desirable social behaviors (e.g., nurturing, spontaneous cross age cooperation, teacher-learner flexibility).
List of Academic Goals and Targets: Within the MARC Environment, fine grained student performance data is evaluated and output reports are automatically produced that include many of the goals and targets listed below:
- By the first day of the schoolyear, each enrolled student shall be assigned a rigorous but realistic individualized “yearend” (end of the schoolyear) academic growth goal in each content subject; relative to each student’s baseline measures, grade benchmarks, instructional level, performance level, calculated average learning curve trend (past growth performance).
- Each student’s yearend-goal, in each content subject, shall be divided into “midterm,” and “quarter-end” academic growth goals for first, second, third, and fourth quarters; relative to the number of weeks in each quarter.
- Each student’s quarter-end-goal, for the first quarter shall be divided into “weekly” and “daily” academic growth goals in each subject area; relative to instructional days.
- Between the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second quarter, each student’s first quarter-end-goal shall be reviewed and if necessary, adjusted to reflect a rigorous but realistic yearend-goal, second-midterm-goal, second-quarter-end-goal, weekly-goal, and daily-goal; likewise for second quarter to third quarter, and third quarter to fourth quarter.
- Student performance, classroom-wide shall be ranked on the basis of “preparedness” within each content subject. Each subject ranking shall be divided into three coherent (meaningful cut scores) clusters. Each subject-performance-cluster shall be assigned rigorous but realistic yearend-goals, first-midterm-goals, first-quarter-end-goals, weekly-goals, and daily-goals; based on cluster averages.
- Student performance, school-wide shall be ranked on the basis of “preparedness” within each content subject. Each subject ranking shall be divided into three coherent clusters. Each subject-performance-cluster shall be assigned rigorous but realistic goals
- MARC will automatically compile various other classroom-level and school-level demographic subject-performance-clusters, and assign rigorous but realistic goals based on a given algorithm.
- When there is more than ten percent variance between a measured outcome and goal, MARC shall produce output detailing such variance on a daily basis over time.
Assessment of the progress of individual students, student cohorts, and the school toward data defined educational targets: A growth model of academic achievement is used in determining individual student, student cohort, classroom-level, and school-level progress towards identified goals and targets. Group academic performance is evaluated on basis of averaged individual student performance within the defined group. At the beginning of the school year, specific academic goals are delineated for individual students, classrooms, subgroups within classrooms, cohorts, and the school as a whole. Goals for various groupings are determined by averaging the outcome history (learning curves and baselines) of individual members within the particular group and adding a rigorous but realistic growth factor for each content-subject. Reduction in academic variation within each classroom that increases achievement outcomes for all students, is achieved by aggregating students with similar baselines scores and learning curves through trajectory trend analysis.
MARC (Measurement and Analysis Report Compiler): “MARC” (ALL’s automated data analysis and management system) is a repository for raw data related to academic performance; collected from sources such as formative evaluations (Expert Trials, Challenges, Homework, etc.), summative exams, and standardized tests (SAT, ACT, AIMS, AzMERIT, etc.); as well as from sources ancillary to academic performance, such as raw data collected from parent and student perception surveys, student attendance, and educator in-service training attendance. MARC is equipped with specialized algorithms and statistical tools so as to perform a variety of collection, organization, analysis, graphing, and reporting tasks. Among the significant advantages MARC makes possible is the ability for parents, teachers, administrators, and students to view student progress towards individualized goals in real-time (daily/hourly) and to view simple to understand predictions (graphs) as to whether progress towards goals is on-track. Within the MARC Environment, meaningful and measurable academic data relevant to student progress and proficiency, educator and school performance, and pedagogical and instructional material effectiveness is collected and stored in rational data arrays; such data when analyzed provides valid and reliable indicators with which to drive wise and informed educational choices. Students, Parents, Instructors, and administrators have variously restricted (secure) access to MARC’s output reports on line.
Assessment of academic progress in real-time: Direct input protocols greatly reduces instructors’ data collection and analysis efforts; leaving instructors with increased opportunity for high quality student contact time. The instructor enters raw data directly into MARC where it is automatically processed, analyzed and directed to various output reports. In each core content-subject, ALL utilizes a series of criterion referenced proprietary instructional and evaluative materials. Each content-series contains “Expert Trials” (mastery power-exams) and “Challenge Exercises” (application/ procedural knowledge assessments) that are sequentially numbered. Numbers correspond to discrete topics within the general subject of each series. Student “mastery rates” across series numbers, on these instruments, together with outcomes from various types of dynamic assessments, generate continuous data streams, within each content-subject, which measure student growth over time. MARC analyzes these data streams together with other relevant factors such as item p-values. The report that is produced includes, among other things, a prioritized list of discrete topics, within each content-subject, arranged by the greatest need of instruction for the largest number of students. The instructor uses this information to fuel continuous feedback loops. This information provides many opportunities for educators to modify instructional practices, interventions, goals, and targets (group of students or individual students) based on data driven judgements relative to progress. MARC automatically “flags” individual student and group performance (interval linked growth towards defined goals) with a measured variance of greater than ten percent from goal. Both performance that falls below and exceeds targeted goals is flagged. Additionally, MARC collects and analyzes data concerning the number of times each Expert or Challenge has been attempted prior to mastery and the frequency of proctored opportunities.
Expert Trials, Challenges exercises, and other dynamic assessments across all core content subjects provide fine-grained measures of content knowledge which inform corrective Need-to-know feedback sessions (see: Need-to-Know Discussions). “Expert” and “Challenge” numbers are expected to correlate with, and be predictive of, student outcome scores on standardized exams normed on grade level benchmarks. Each student’s progress is recorded daily in MARC and progress within the core subjects towards specific individual and group goals along with long-term and short-term “trend” predictions that are automatically calculated and reported within the MARC environment.
Students may progress at varying rates but each student is assigned individualized growth goals in each content subject series. In most cases, it takes several years for a student to complete a specific content series. At the beginning of each year, each student begins on the “number” in each subject series, s/he finished the year before. This number suffices as the student’s baseline measure when (s)he returns the next year. Baselines are determined for new students utilizing criterion referenced intake evaluations which inform placement decisions. Each student’s baseline measure is used to gage progress (growth). Students and parents and/or guardians are provided with summative reports indicating incremental progress (difference measures) or growth from the student’s measured baseline scores towards the student’s individualized goal (see: Student Progress Reports). Students receive explicit in situ training and direct instruction in metacognitive strategies. Students are trained to monitor their own progress, reflect upon inputs (effortful learning procedures) and outcomes (growth towards a goal) and adjust learning strategies and/or behaviors (see: Metacognitive Skills).
Teachers’ responsibilities regarding student data/ student outcomes are used to inform instruction:
Teachers roles and responsibilities regarding the use of student data include:
- Properly entering each student’s academic mastery/retake data (e.g., Expert, Challenge, assignment) directly into MARC in a timely (daily) manner (see: II.A.1.a. Expert Trials, Challenge Exercises);
- Ensuring that confidentiality safeguards (FERPA) regarding student data are maintained;
- Within the MARC Environment and during normal classroom operations, teachers are responsible for monitoring student progress towards individualized goals;
- Viewing flagged “off goal” individual student, class-wide, and targeted group outcomes, across all subjects and planning effective interventions where indicated;
- Monitor students’ timely progress towards their individualized goals and assist when required;
- Providing students with explicit metacognitive instruction, relative to the use of meaningful data for self-monitoring and planning progress towards defined goals;
- Frequently reviewing student maintained classroom records (e.g., incentive charts), student portfolios, students’ personal records;
- Reviewing students’ self-monitoring activities, self-reflection and strategic planning for success; and providing corrective feedback when needed;
- Teachers are responsible for implementing appropriate and supportive interventions for poor student performance, in a timely manner;
- Teachers are responsible for acknowledging exceptional student performance supported by meaningful and measurable outcomes;
- Daily reviewing MARC data outputs across all content-subjects and adjusting instruction where indicated;
- Ensuring the smooth function of data driven, continuous feedback loops across all content-subjects;
- Keeping a log of pedagogical strategies, specific content procedural or declarative knowledge topics, classroom issues, and or the effective use of MARC outputs to guide instruction that require additional professional development;
- Self-assess performance;
- Prioritize and submit requests for in-service training or in-class modeling relative to student progress towards defined goals as indicated by measurable and meaningful outcomes, at or before the end of each week.
Student performance data is used to improve instruction: Pedagogy, curricula, instructional materials, evaluation instruments, and use of technology may be altered or revised as indicated by measures of student learning outcomes. Instructional materials and assessment instruments utilized in all content-subjects are evaluated on the basis of their ability to: deepen learning; accurately measure student knowledge and academic growth in real-time; predict student performance; and forecast academic growth across intervals of time, including several grade levels. Each item within each series of Experts, series of Challenges, and series of dynamic instructional and evaluative instruments are evaluated on the bases of: p-value (difficulty index); predictive analytics (time series, regression, association, outliers), point-biserial correlation (discrimination index), concurrent-validity, predictive validity, and concordance (inter-rater reliability). Additionally, student performance data is used to improve the efficacy and design of ALLMEE (ALL’s Measures of Educator Effectiveness).
Accelerated Elementary and Secondary Schools requires written permission from the qualifying parent(s), as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code, or eligible student before releasing any information from a student's record unless such release is mandated by law or is required for the normal delivery of services to the student. Specific information will be released without consent to only to those who have both legitimate educational interest and a right to know as follows: employees who have a need to know; other schools to which a student is transferring; certain government officials in order to carry out lawful functions; appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student; organizations or persons conducting certain studies for the school; accrediting organizations; individuals who have obtained court orders or subpoenas; persons who need to know in cases of health and safety emergencies; and state and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific state law.
ALL under FERPA directives, may disclose, without consent, "directory" type information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, grade level, enrollment status, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, the qualifying student or parent has the right to restrict the disclosure of directory type information if ALL receives a written request for non-disclosure of directory information at the time of registration, from a parents or eligible student.
Consistent with FERPA directives ALL may disclose personal information to the victim(s) of an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence. ALL may disclose personal information to any third party following the final results of a disciplinary proceeding related to a crime of violence or violation of the school's rules or policies including: the name of the alleged perpetrator, the violation committed, and any sanction imposed against the alleged perpetrator. The disclosure shall not include the name of any other student, including victims or witnesses, without their written consent.
ALL Parent Association (APA): is open to family members of ALL students from High School to Pre-School. Its mission is to support the school’s mission. APA meets in July to plan the year’s meetings, fund-raisers, and other events. The parent group organizes many after-school activities, sponsors skating parties, assists with end-of-year celebrations, and organizes the scholastic book sales. ALL greatly appreciates APA’s generous donations of time, expertise, and talent. The ALL Parent Association has two elected positions, chairperson and secretary. It often publishes a newsletter after APA meetings in that ALL parents may become aware of topics discussed and plans made.
APA provides many ways in which students, parents, and friends can become involved in the ALL community. Volunteers are always needed, as teacher helpers, graders, copier operators, playground supervisors, before or after-school monitors, etc. The list is endless but the volunteers are not. A half hour to an hour of your time each week can be a rewarding experience and meaningful contribution. Volunteering can help parents prove they are committed to their children’s’ education by responding to the oft-thought but seldom articulated litmus test, “If school is important enough for me to work my hardest, then it is important enough for my parents to be involved and know what I’m doing.” Please aid us in making the school a better place for all our children by stopping by the Main office and signing up to be an APA volunteer.
School Hours: Teachers in classrooms before 8:00 A.M. are preparing lessons and materials. This is an important activity and the teacher should not be interrupted. Students needing to be dropped off before 7:55 A.M. for elementary school or 7:45 A.M. for secondary school can arrange for Before-school Care at the Extended Day office. At the appropriate time, students should report promptly to class for involvement in morning activities. Playgrounds and recreational areas are not open prior to the beginning of school. On-time arrival and prompt pickup after school contribute to each student’s safety and sense of responsibility. Students arriving after 8:10 for elementary school or after 8:00 for secondary, should sign-in at the office.
Students not picked up by shortly after the culmination of the school day or not in sponsored classes or activities will be placed under the care of the Extended-Day staff. There is a charge for these services. Rates for children placed in “Extended Care” by staff are higher than if parents make prior arrangements. Rates for Before-School and Extended-Day are available upon request.
English as a Second Language (ELL): The language of general subject matter instruction and instructional materials, at ALL, are in English. Students K-12, whose primary home language is not English, the Arizona English Language Learner Assessment (AZELLA) will be utilized to determine their English language proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students who do not receive a composite score of “proficient” and who are acquiring English as a second language may be asked to participate in a Structured English Immersion setting for a transition period. Our goal is for every ELL attain fluent English proficiency within a year. Students who receive English Language Development instruction (ELD) will be provided with reasonable accommodations and appropriate interventions in all relevant subject areas. It may be determined that some students will benefit from additional educational services. Interventions may include compensatory instruction designed to correct the skill or knowledge deficits. A qualifying student may be required to take the AZELLA twice during in a year but no student will be required to take the test more than three times in a year. Continuing ELL students will be reassessed once ant the end of each school year.
Student Discipline Philosophy: For a community to be respected its members must be respectable. Students who attend ALL are held to a high standard of ethical and civil behavior. They are expected to behave honorably and display a sense of social responsibility. Students are expected to do more than follow the “letter of the rule” they are expected to understand and conform to the spirit of ALL’s canons of conduct. Students are expected to recognize and change rules, which they view as unjust, in a socially defensible and responsible manner. Dishonesty and the absence or manipulation of justice are harmful to the preservation of a community where the free exchange of ideas, freedom of expression, and individual rights are valued. In order that the ALL community be worthy of preservation, community members must be intolerant of cheating, behaviors that harm others, or actions that destroy property. Discipline, academic integrity, and honor remain the foundation of an educated and enlightened community. Students are expected to support ALL’s egalitarian community, defend its inclusive culture, and ensure an inviting and comfortable academic environment for all students regardless of individual differences.
Student Discipline/ Culture of Respect for the Rights of Others: The ALL community is committed to ensuring a safe learner oriented, knowledge based environment that fosters a culture of social civility, mutual respect, individual dignity, and academic freedom. The following list typifies the “spirit” of ALL’s tenets that are expected to promote an atmosphere conducive to learning and teaching, it is not exhaustive:
- Every student is expected to be an attentive learner and compassionate teacher.
- Student are expected to be involved in classroom procedures, perform reasonable classroom duties, keep their work area neat and clean, participate in classroom and school wide “town hall meeting.” Students are expected, not only to clean up after themselves but to encourage others to do the same, and participate in helping maintain a clean environment even if it is not their mess.
- Every student has the right to learn in a risk free environment. No student may interfere their own or other students’ learning.
- Hour long lunches are intended to include “working lunches” with preceptorial instructors, guidance staff or parents and are among a variety of educational options that a students may elect to access during the extended period. Students who schedule appointments or have appointments scheduled for them during lunch hour, are expected to be on time.
- Students who play when they should to be learning, should expect to work (learn) when they could be playing.
- Students are expected to submit original, independent work, unless collaboration is clearly part of the instructions. Students are expected to properly cite sources.
- Students are expected to facilitate their instructor’s ability to teach. Disruptive behavior in or out of class is not allowed.
- Students are expected to “help” without being asked. If help is refused, the decline should be honored. One student shall not attempt to force another to accept help. Students should be compassionate of others travails and struggles.
- Students shall be civil and respectful of staff, peers, parents, and visitors. Students shall exhibit appropriate “school” manners. Students are expected to: respect the authority of instructors and administrators; respect the privacy of others; respect individual differences of those in the ALL Community; and respect and follow ALL school rules and regulations.
- Students are expected to display civil responsibility. If students observe other students’ rights being violated or property damaged, they are expected to intervene (if intervention does not present physical risk) and/or report the incident. The code of disrepute among criminal, “don’t rat or tattletale” is dishonorable and socially unprincipled. Students are expected to know the difference between moral behavior and peer pressure. Students participate in the maintenance of a benevolent and sheltered educational environment.
- Stop means stop. No, never means yes. If a student expresses her/his wish verbally or through actions, the other student must immediately desist. Every student has the right to determine who may or may not come into physical contact with them. The only justifiable exception may be restraining or defensive actions involving protection of oneself or another individual. If a student can simply walk-away they must. If a student should have known that another student might not want personal contact, no contact may occur.
- Violent or aggressive actions and play are prohibited. Students may not bring toy weapons to school, pretend to shoot another individual with a finger, play fight, wrestle on campus, or otherwise behave in an aggressive manner on campus.
- Profanity, vulgarity, invectives, or substitutes (i.e., fork) are strictly prohibited.
- No student may emotionally injure, humiliate, defame, disgrace, or dishonor another student (e.g., laughing at a child’s reasoning or academic response, name calling, teasing, gossiping, non-verbal expressions, derogatory statements, innuendo, or allusion) verbally, in written form, gesturally or by any other form of expression.
- No student may physically injure another student for any reason. The threadbare justifications, “She hit me first,” “We were just playing,” “He made me mad,” “She took my…” and endless variations display poor socialization and will trigger an “intervention” response in addition to the related consequence attached to the physical behavior. Retaliation is not an excuse. Students are required to report any incident in which they were “bothered” or injured.
- Students are expected to take responsibility for their actions. If a student intentionally or unintentionally destroys property, regardless of monetary value, the student is expected to replace or pay for the property.
- Threatening behavior, disrespectful conduct, talking back, bullying, and disregard for propriety or decency are not allowed.
Student Discipline Policies: ALL’s discipline code, Discipline Philosophy and list of Conduct Expectations include ethical guidelines which provide appropriate and effective policies supportive of a safe and orderly school climate. ALL responds to minor infractions of the student discipline code so as to minimize escalation of undesirable behaviors. Respect, safety, safeguarding student rights, and preservation of a supportive atmosphere conducive to teaching and learning are basic objectives of ALL’s code of conduct. Interventions include “Restorative Justice” and consequence based components. Parents are financially responsible for property damage that their child intentionally or unintentionally causes; punishment is not imposed but consequences connected to behaviors are viewed as the options students choose (e.g., If a student cannot play with other children without hurting them, the student has elected to not play with other children.) Students, who engage in undignified behavior (regardless of where the behavior occurs) or present unreasonable risk to others, have elected to be subjected to disciplinary action including suspension or expulsion. Students are aware that bullying, fighting (regardless of the victim or perpetrator), aggressive behavior, or threatening actions can result in expulsion or suspension on the first violation. Students are aware that profanity; disrespectful language; obscene or lewd language or gestures, or disrespect to staff or other students can result in expulsion or suspension on the first violation. Students know that if they destroy property or place property or people at risk, whether by overt action or negligence, they may be suspended or expelled with the first infraction. Students are encouraged to make the strategic choices that have a high probability of resulting in the achievement of their goals. ALL provides an environment where even the most fanciful dreams may be achieved. ALL’s discipline code is designed to maintain an environment that provides every student with this hope.
Student discipline/ Suspension, Dismissal, and Crisis removal: Violations of the code of conduct may result in the immediate short-term suspension of the offending student, if the Administrator in Charge is of the opinion that the student’s continue presences constitutes a reasonable and continuing threat to: the safety of another person, school or personal property, or the maintenance of a harmonious learning or teaching atmosphere. Such “crisis suspension” may range in severity from short-term “on-campus suspension” to short-term “off-campus suspension” and be of a duration of from one (1) hour to four (4) days, at the discretion of the Administrator in Charge. Significant infractions may be referred for consideration of more sever remedies at such time that an Administrative Hearing can be convened. Violations that result in injury (alleged offender or victim); violations that result in school or personal property damage; violations that involve threats against any person or property and/or violations related to the possession of any dangerous weapon, illegal substance, or alcoholic substance require immediate off-campus suspension and, at the discretion of the Administrator in Charge, referral to law enforcement.
Disciplinary action and /or remedies for violations of ALL’s Code of Conduct are viewed as consequences rather than punishments and are intended to help the alleged perpetrator modify future behavioral choices, as well as protect the rights of victims and the rights of the alleged perpetrator. Remedies are intended to be relative to the severity of the infractions and be connected to the offence in terms of restitution. Any significant infraction shall be documented by a written description with sufficient detail to identify any extenuating circumstances. Remedies lasting ten (10) day or less are not subject to appeal. The following is a general list of possible remedies:
- Alteration in class schedule
- Contract, written by the student accused of the infraction, must provide reasonable expectation of a change in behavior and include: Truthful statement detailing circumstances of alleged infraction; Confession to specific involvement; Speculation of the consequence to victims (including academic ambiance), Statement of contrition; Specific remedies, should a similar infraction be repeated.
- Confiscation and short-term or long-term impound of prohibited items
- Confiscation and destruction of prohibited items
- Confiscation and impound of inculpatory evidence regardless of prohibited item status
- Confiscation of dangerous weapons, illegal substances, or allegedly stolen property to the appropriate law enforcement agency
- Fines that reflect the cost of repairing or replacing vandalized, destroyed, or stolen objects
- Loss of privileges or access to items, services, facilities related to the offense for a specified and appropriate duration of time
- On-campus short-term suspension lasting less than ten (10) days.
- On-campus long-term suspension lasting ten (10) days or more.
- Off-campus short-term suspension lasting less than ten (10) days.
- Off-campus long-term suspension lasting ten (10) days or more.
- Referral to law enforcement
Procedural due process for all students: Prior to scheduling and/or convening an Administrative Hearing, the Administrator in Charge shall make reasonable effort to contact the parent(s) of the student accused of the offence and schedule a “Resolution Conference” with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable resolution (behavioral contract, restitution, etc.). Should the violation be of a nature that such resolution is not possible or appropriate, parties are not amenable, or such resolution conference is not held, the Administrator in Charge may schedule an Administrative Hearing. The Administrator in Charge shall preside over such Hearing if not a victim in which case a proper referee shall be appointed. Any finding of fact shall be written and include the reason for the judgement. Prior to convening an Administrative Hearing, parents shall be encouraged to be involved in any and all disciplinary process and reasonable effort shall be made to provide parents and the student who allegedly committed the offence, with prior written notification containing: Administrative Hearing time, date, location; the name of the persons, and/or their titles, and their roles who are expected to present evidence or pass judgement; the reason for disciplinary action; a written account of the alleged infraction with sufficient detail to identify any extenuating circumstances or claims that occurred at the time of the incident; notification of the right to appeal any subsequent findings and the process of such appeal. Additionally, reasonable efforts shall be made to ensure that proper notice is provided to all parties to the charges, including any victims; of the accused’s right to present evidence and call witnesses; the accused’s right to representation; the accused’s right to cross-examine witnesses and examine opposing evidence; and the accused’s right to appeal any subsequent judgement to the Governing Board.
Administrative Hearing Judgements of disciplinary action lasting more than ten (10) days may be appealed to the Governing Board. A request to schedule an Appeals Hearing must be written and received ten (10) or more work days prior to a regularly scheduled Governing Board meeting. Prior to convening any Appeals Hearing, written notification shall be provided to an individual accused of the infraction in question: that a quorum of Governing Board members must be present to consider an appeal; the reason for suspension, expulsion, or disciplinary action; that the accused has the right to representation; that the accused has the right to present evidence; that the accused has the right to cross-examine witnesses; and that Board decisions are final and may not be appealed.
Students who are absent from class for fourteen (14) days or less, due to disciplinary action, shall be allowed to submit all assignments, homework, and projects and be given reasonable opportunity to take any quizzes or tests administered during such absence, and receive commensurate academic credit for completed work without penalty.
List and definitions of offenses for which students may be suspended or dismissed:
- Chewing gum of any type or any substance chewed but not intended to be swallowed.
- Marking materials such as spray-paint or indelible markers
- Matches or any item with the potential of setting a fire
- Skate boards, roller-skates, scooters, roller shoes (Heelys) or any form of transportation propelled by pushing with the foot or feet, pumping the legs or body.
- Explosives, bullets, CO2 canisters fireworks, caps, other such item that could possibly detonate
- Toy knives, toy swords, toy guns, any instrument resembling a knife, gun, or dangerous weapon and any toy weapons of any kind. Any such items will be destroyed.
- Any potentially dangerous instrument used in a threatening or dangerous manner including but not limited to: rocks, sticks, found objects
- Objects of no reasonable utility in a school setting including but not limited to: noisemakers, laser pointers, or drug paraphernalia
- Any knife or knife like object that has the potential to be used in a dangerous or threating manner
- Weapons or any item that appears capable of causing injury including but not limited to: a firearm of any type or configuration (functional or nonfunctional); knife of any configuration with a blade over 1.5 inches; slingshot, blowgun, blackjack, metallic knuckles or similar object, nunchaku or similar object; shuriken or similar object.
- Box openers, razor blades, or any instrument with an edge which is, or reasonably could be considered a weapon.
- Alcoholic beverages, alcohol products of any kind, or any substance containing alcohol
- Tobacco products of any kind (including e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco)
- Controlled substance or prescription medication without a prescription or prescribed for another person
- Refusing to identify one’s self or giving false identification
- Impeding an investigation of a possible violations to this code
- Bullying including cyberbullying
- Violating another person’s civil rights
- Racial or ethnic slurs, profanity or obscene language
- Sexual harassment (sexual contacts, offensive sexual insults or comments)
- Endeavoring through force or threat of force to steal private property or school property, including tampering with school records
- Theft of private or school property and/or damaging private or school property, including tampering with school records
- Presence in a restricted area without permission or hiding in any part of the school, including but not limited to lavatories, under counters, behind doors, under desks or in storage areas.
- Leaving a classroom, school building, or campus without permission from an authorized school official
- Absence from class or school without proper authorization
- Endangering others or one’s own safety by acts of disregard or unreasonable carelessness
- Blocking an entrance, exit, or passageway to any school building, corridor, or room
- Making a bomb threat or threat of any nature that could reasonably cause alarm
- Pulling a fire alarm or falsely reporting a fire or any false report that could possibly cause alarm
Additional Discipline Remedies:
- Parents are financially responsible for property damage that their child intentionally or unintentionally causes.
- Punishment is generally not imposed but consequences connected to behaviors are viewed as the most productive options. (e.g., If a student cannot play with other children without hurting them, the student has elected to not play with other children.)
Field trips: can be stimulating and unforgettable educational experiences. When selecting a fieldtrip, a major concern is its cost (in the form of time and economics), balanced against its educational and experiential benefit. Additionally, the safety of students, staff, and chaperones, and the management of risk require that we take steps to insure the physical wellbeing of students while we protect the financial assets that enable us to provide exceptional educational services. Judicious management of excessive liability and the need to reduce unwarranted litigation has forced us to require parents and guardians to sign a release of liability for field trips.
Accelerated Learning Laboratory does not discriminate: on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation or age in its programs, activities, hiring, employment, or enrollment practices.