We are relentlessly committed to student achievement. We know that all students can and must achieve. Our expectations are high, our desire for success is intense and our timeline is aggressive. We use clear and concrete measures to determine achievement. When we fail, we own it and look to develop better and more effective methods. We constantly explore new strategies to increase our effectiveness and we never get hung up on pedagogical fads or ideologies. We know that high expectations must be matched by high and efficient levels of support. We are united by our shared mission, by the urgency of the calling, and by our relentless pursuit of academic achievement for all.
Mastery integrates modern management and effective educational practices to drive student achievement. Our program is distinct in several ways. Most importantly, our teachers are outstanding and relentlessly committed to student achievement. Mastery instruction means teaching and supporting students until they learn. Our teachers continually improve their craft through frequent feedback, coaching, and collaborative support. Instruction is grounded by a common pedagogical model and guided by focused standards-based curricula. We align assessments to clear objectives and use assessment data to direct instruction. We utilize a mastery-based grading system and a scaffolded course structure that addresses students at their incoming skill level, yet holds all students to a single college preparatory graduation standard.
Sweating the Small Stuff
Mastery creates an achievement-focused school culture by sweating the small stuff while fostering meaningful, personalized relationships between students and adults. To support the transition to a high expectations culture, we explicitly teach students problem-solving and social-emotional skills. Mastery insists on high expectations and high support so all students can achieve success.
The Instructional Standards
Mastery’s instructional model is grounded in a common framework referred to as the Instructional Standards. The Instructional Standards are a compilation of fundamental best teaching practices, successful teacher traits and common measures of student success. Each standard is designed to create an objective-driven, rigorous and effective classroom experience that will serve to prepare students for higher education, the global economy and the pursuit of their dreams. The standards provide a common language and expectation used to facilitate peer and administrative observations as well as coaching and professional development. At the student level, the standards serve to create a common instructional experience across classes by instituting valuable rituals and strategies.
The Instructional Standards have been distilled from a wide variety of resources including the work of Madeline Hunter, Harry Wong, Jon Saphier, Teach For America, and Doug Lemov as well as the brilliant guidance of our teachers, administrators and central office staff. The Instructional Standards are augmented yearly based on feedback from focus groups and observation.
The Instructional Cycle
The Mastery Instructional Cycle is a workflow that ensures instructional time targets new material as well as addresses deficits. The cycle helps ensure that struggling students are identified and receive the supports they need to be successful. The cycle is comprised of four components: a) Planning, b) Teaching, c) Assessment, and d) Analysis. The cycle plays out in multiple arenas. At the NST (Network Support Team) level, assessment data is analyzed to augment curricula and assessments. At the school level, data supports the design of intervention programming. Most importantly, at the teacher level, unit and lesson plans as well as individualized supports are influenced by the data and frequent checks for understanding.