Dear McAuliffe Community and Friends,
The Christa McAuliffe Charter School continued to see school and scholar success during the 2016-17 school year, McAuliffe’s fifteenth year of operations. As a community we celebrated McAuliffe’s third charter renewal at the annual 5K road race in May. In his letter renewing the charter, the late Commissioner Chester noted that our “school has proved what a strong vision, high standards, and hard work can accomplish for the students of Massachusetts.” When we next apply for charter renewal, we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary – a landmark to look forward to.
In late June, McAuliffe applied to become a credentialed school in the EL Education network. Our application portfolio showcases three themes: 1) Habits of Work and Learning are critical elements of students’ academic and social/emotional progress at McAuliffe; 2) A culture of critique and revision is at the heart of student achievement; 3) Students produce beautiful work they are proud of.
Since the school’s founding in 2003, our community has been committed to the central tenets of EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning). We celebrate the design principles and students’ favorite course is frequently “Adventure” where they engage in collaborative initiatives including rock-climbing. Learning expeditions continue to take students on journeys in and out of the classroom studying compelling topics.
Since 2013, we have made substantial progress toward achieving our common vision to align our program to the EL core practices. We do this work not simply to achieve the goal of becoming a credentialed EL school. We do this work with the ultimate goal of “getting all students to the top of the mountain”.
Toward this aim, we’ve worked with EL Education to:
- Raise the level of rigor of supporting and long-term learning targets;
- Design learning expeditions that result in high-quality final products and authentic culminating events;
- Teach Habits of Work and Learning as intentionally as academic content;
- Create curriculum embedded assessments to track student progress and use assessment results to inform instruction and curriculum adjustments;
- Integrate a Lab block to provide targeted instructional support and extension learning opportunities, meeting each student where he/she is at;
- Employ classroom routines and management practices aligned with Management in the Active Classroom, including an increasing use of restorative practices in response to disciplinary situations;
- Provide an inclusive and heterogeneous learning environment with a majority of classes co-taught by a general educator and a special educator and/or an inclusion assistant;
- Implement instructional coaching for all teachers and align professional development with coaching;
- Refine student portfolio practices to support preparation for student led conferences and 8th grade passages.
I know that I speak for the entire Board when I say how proud we are to work with the leadership, faculty, families, and scholars of McAuliffe to advance our mission, cultivating high standards and the knowledge, skills, and attitude to achieve those standards. Thank you for taking the time to review our Annual Report; it provides great detail on the Christa McAuliffe Charter School’s performance during 2016-17 as well as a preview of what is to come in 2017-18.
Read the full annual report here.
Chair, Board of Trustees