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Notes for Prospective Students

At AltSchool, we believe a world-class education should be child-centered.
Children are naturally curious and capable learners.
We believe school should help children to drive their own education, tying learning to real-world motivations and interests.
AltSchool teachers curate the learning experience in partnership with students and parents, allowing children to learn at their own pace and in the way they learn best.

The world is captivating and interconnected; our lives are increasingly interdependent.
At AltSchool, we allow multiple disciplines to come together in the learning process rather than relying on artificial separation between subjects.
By encouraging students to learn by doing, we promote cross-functional innovation and a deeper level of understanding.
We view time with our students as precious and want them to get the most out of their education.
So we work together to set high expectations for students and teachers.
We benchmark ourselves to standards and global best practices, and foster a culture that encourages ongoing reflection and improvement.
We build the educational experience around these goals.
Within each classroom, students benefit from a low student-teacher ratio and a supportive, stimulating environment.
We provide teachers with the tools, flexibility, and support to create an effective and engaging learning community.
Through a partnership between students, teachers, parents, and the AltSchool team, our efforts are always focused on delivering the best learning experience for our students.

Our curriculum is adaptive to student abilities, interests, and educational needs.
Children are able to question, collaborate, reflect, and think deeply in areas that matter to them.
Teachers support learning and goal setting through carefully curated activities, projects, and assessments.
Engaging instruction meets each student at his or her level, through project-based and self-paced learning. We carefully assess AltSchool students’ reading fluency, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and writing at the beginning of the year and on an ongoing basis. The results of these assessments combined with teacher observations help us closely target activities to a child’s current level and make sure that lessons are successfully helping a child progress.
In addition to building reading and writing skills through interdisciplinary work, we also use leading tools, such as Reading and Writing Project, 6+1 Traits, Handwriting Without Tears, Sitton Spelling and Word Skills, Leveled Readers and high interest fiction and nonfiction books as components of a Personal Learning Plan. 
AltSchool’s approach to math emphasizes conceptual understanding and adaptive reasoning.
We use both quantitative and qualitative assessments to find a child’s current level and pursue advancement along a measurable continuum of learning.
In developing personalized instruction in mathematics, we draw from programs such as Everyday Mathematics, Singapore Math, First in Math, and LearnZillion.
AltSchool introduces math concepts in recurring interdisciplinary contexts, through level-appropriate activities and exercises.
For example, geometry might surface in describing the composition of a flower, or the connection between a swing and its chain, or the structure of a honeycomb, or the evolution of an expanding circular wave, or the creative harmony in a Mondrian painting.
Such exposure to concepts better reflects how the world works and provides a solid foundation for innovative, flexible, and effective thinking.
Social and emotional growth is an important component of an AltSchool student’s education.
Teachers, students and parents work together to set age-appropriate goals in areas such as self-regulation, conflict resolution, perspective taking, cooperation, leadership and resilience.
Progress is documented through teacher narratives and age-appropriate self-assessment.
Visual and performing arts are deeply integrated into AltSchool’s curriculum.
Students work with specialists in art and music, in addition to meeting and collaborating with artists through AltSchool’s Expert in Residence program.
Art is also used in interdisciplinary projects as one way that students can document and share what they have learned. 
Physical fitness at AltSchool is designed to inspire long-term interest in health and fitness.
Outdoor play and movement are incorporated each day and age-appropriate activities such as dance, swimming, sports, and yoga are part of the AltSchool experience. Students gain an understanding of nutrition and health and are encouraged to develop a passion for movement. 
At AltSchool, technology is a tool we incorporate throughout projects and activities as appropriate, rather than a separate subject.
Students learn to be thoughtful and adept users of technology and have the opportunity to learn computer programming, robotics, and engineering. 
AltSchool students learn Spanish at an age-appropriate level and develop an understanding of linguistic structure that informs future language study.
AltSchool emphasizes the importance of ongoing evaluation and improvement.
We reference global standards, best practices, and scientific studies to determine what drives classroom learning, behaviors, and satisfaction.
On an ongoing basis, we evaluate ourselves in our ability to deliver a world-class education.
Our end goal is always to provide an experience for our students that is personal, fulfilling, and a foundation for a lifelong love of learning.

AltSchool empowers students to be the drivers of their learning.
Our curriculum is flexible and emerges from children's ideas, observations, and learning goals.
The role of the teacher is to nurture and further that process while observing how each individual child approaches learning and interacts with others.
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