Common Expectations

Achievement First believes that by working together, individual teachers can maximize their impact on student achievement. A good illustration of this philosophy in action is the school-wide merit system at our high schools. The merit system ensures that all scholars adhere to the same set of high, consistent expectations throughout the school day. This means that there are no "strict" teachers or "easy" classes at Achievement First. Rather, scholars learn from a group of dedicated, thoughtfully aligned adults such that excellence in one classroom amplifies positive outcomes in the next. This approach has two critical advantages. First, because scholars know what to expect across subjects, grade levels and over the course of their high school careers, they adjust and rise to these expectations more quickly. Second, teachers save valuable instructional and planning time they might otherwise spend developing conflicting and contradicting systems of their own. "Achievement First teachers don't have to come in and produce everything from scratch," says Elana Karopkin, regional superintendent at Achievement First. "They can instead focus on making everything excellent so that they can reach every scholar."