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The Achievement First Approach: Core Values

Achievement First lives by its core values, which inform and guide us in all aspects of what we do—from the classroom to the Network Support office—and help us create a positive, achievement-oriented school culture.

Results without Excuses

We take responsibility for making sure that our students succeed, and if we fall short, we do not make excuses or blame others.

Our teams set clear, ambitious goals and work with urgency to achieve them. We are a performance-driven organization where we regularly analyze data, celebrate success, confront brutal facts, and own and fix personal and collective shortcomings. We see results as an opportunity to learn, focusing on what we can do better in the future, always maintaining deep optimism that we will prevail.  

Excellence is a habit

Achievement First expects excellence from our students and therefore from all the adults who work with them.

We will not be satisfied until our students are among the highest achieving in the world. We know that excellent outcomes are the result of excellent habits; as Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do." We believe that deliberate practice, reflection, and feedback are critical drivers of continuous improvement. We focus on sweating the small stuff as we know getting the details right often makes the difference between mediocre and magnificent.

Team & Family

Achievement First is a community where everyone cares about, values, supports and invests in each other.

We are a talent-focused organization that recruits passionate and thoughtful staff and then invests significantly in developing them. We know that true support of our teammates involves being simultaneously warm and demanding. We invest in our relationships, cheer for each other, and support those who are struggling. We all work hard while also recognizing and honoring the personal, family and community commitments we all have outside of our work.

Whatever it takes

With a social justice mission at our core, we feel tremendous urgency to go the extra mile to make a life-changing difference for our students.

We are relentless and creative in finding solutions to problems, pushing ourselves to find better ways or make them. We believe that “whatever it takes” is a team sport and that we achieve our excellent outcomes not through unsustainable individual sacrifices, but by developing systems, strategies, and teams that collectively work smarter to do what we need to do for our students, families and communities.

Many minds, one mission

We believe that we can go further faster when we work together – actively supporting, and challenging one another to pursue real excellence.

Each school and network support team shares the collective responsibility for the success of all AF schools and scholars. We see diversity and inclusiveness as an essential strength, and we work hard to create an environment where everyone safely, openly and respectfully contributes their opinions and challenges those around them to be even better.  Beyond AF, we know our mission extends to all of America’s children, so we are "open source" and proactively share with and learn from others doing this important work.

Everything with integrity

We say what we mean and do what we say.

We never lose sight of our mission to get our students to and through college, and we use this mission as the ultimate litmus test for all decisions. We believe "what" you achieve and "how" you do it both matter, and we work hard to make sure our actions speak as powerfully as our words. We believe that if we are to be a model for public school reform, we must be an excellence with equity exemplar – achieving excellent outcomes while authentically serving well the similar student populations as the traditional public schools in our community. 

 
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