We believe that through solid, research-based instructional practices, all students can learn—including students typically identified as “at risk.” MAS is built on the founding belief that all students deserve a high-quality education and that all students can succeed. At the core of high-quality education is the delivery of standards-based instruction through evidence-based instructional practices provided in an academic-minded learning environment, where students learn commitment to academic excellence and develop life skills that extend far beyond the classroom.
But we also know that academics alone will not ensure student success. Instead, students need to be explicitly taught principles of success, like how to set goals and achieve them, and how to put these principles to work in their daily lives. When students are immersed in a highly rigorous academic program coupled with the explicit instruction in success principles, students are truly prepared to succeed in college and the competitive world.
Our philosophy and curricular approach at MAS are directly aligned with the research findings and work of Dr. Douglas Reeves and his hallmark 90/90/90 study. Reeves qualifies 90/90/90 schools as those where 90% of the students live in poverty, 90% of the students are members of an ethnic minority group, and 90% of these students are at or above proficiency as measured by state assessments. He notes that in these schools there are five common characteristics:
- a laser-like focus on academic achievement using data to drive instructional decisions;
- clear curriculum alignment with state standards;
- frequent assessment of student progress with multiple opportunities for improvement;
- an emphasis on non-fiction writing; and
- collaborative scoring of student work.
- high expectations;
- positive school culture with a proactive approach to student discipline;
- inclusive education;
- ongoing professional development and collaboration;
- parental and community involvement; and
- teaching of success principles.