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Achievement First Achievement First

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Imagine. Innovate. Empower.

When we first decided to build Greenfield, we already had a network of high-performing schools across three states. But we knew that wasn’t enough. We live in a country where only 9% of low-income students earn a college degree by age 24. We wanted to make sure we were doing more to drastically change that.

As our world changes at a stunning pace, our students will need to master skills for careers that we can’t yet dream of.  To be successful, students will need to have agency over their own learning and chart their own futures.

So, we looked all over the country, at best practices from top schools including our own Achievement First network, at the latest in cognitive science and more. And we built an innovative program where students are given the tools to develop their passions, imagine their futures, and own their development.

The Greenfield Design

We built Greenfield, and the backbone of Greenfield is this.

Helping teachers is helping students.

Greenfield teachers get three hours a day of prep time. Yup, three hours. Why? Because we know it is vital that our teachers get time for intellectual prep, analysis of student work, and sharing of team best practices in feedback. That’s why our teachers also get weekly coaching and rapid feedback, on top of their yearly and weekly professional development sessions. It’s also why we have staggered staff schedules – we have an extended school day, while also making sure teachers have the opportunity to recharge.

Kids learn at their own Pace(line).

What’s a paceline? It’s a benchmark of achievement that allows students to measure their own growth. Greenfield students can tell at a click whether they are behind, on track, or charging ahead on content. It also allows teachers to give hyper-targeted support. This is especially important in Greenfield, because our students work independently from personalized learning playlists, with guidance from their teacher. They use what they learn to go deeper during small group learning, where they discuss and build off key concepts. And whole-group learning? That’s where it all comes together: students debate broader themes, grapple with science investigations and more. We know different modes of learning mean more opportunities to practice and more chances to master content in the way the student learns best.

No one can say what’s next. But we know it’s digital.

Our kids will go on to embark on careers that haven’t been invented yet. Whatever they are, we know they’ll be driven by technology. Our job is to help our students love learning and become life-long solution seekers – and to do it within the digital realm. Gone are the days of passive educational screen time. Our Personalized Learning Platform (PLP) allows students to access all of their self-directed content, track progress toward goals, and take assessments to show that they’ve truly mastered content.

It takes a (dream) team.

Our students start the year with perhaps the most important assignment – they begin leveraging the power of family and community and creating their own “Dream Team.” Students tap parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, pastors, coaches, and other mentors to join them and their goal coach to create a team that will work hand in hand with them to achieve their goals. Every day, they work in service of these evolving goals. They meet with their Goal Team (a set of 14-16 students led by a goal coach, who help them set short-term goals and make commitments). They also meet weekly with a Goal Coach (a school staff member), and quarterly with their Dream Team. This is our awesomely powerful community.

Kids need to get up, get moving and dive deep.

Every kid should have something they love going to school for. We work to make this happen every day. Our students get daily enrichment in one physical enrichment (choices include dance, sports, martial arts) and one non-physical enrichment (choices include visual arts, coding & robotics and band). What do they accomplish? Mastering disciplines they hadn’t before discovered and showing themselves what’s possible.

Blow the walls off the classroom. Blow their minds.

At Greenfield, our classrooms aren’t limited by the four walls of our school buildings. Our classrooms are our entire communities. What does this mean for students? They tour the construction site of a new college dormitory and work on facilities plans, write, direct and perform Shakespeare, and learn the arts of Tai Chi and Chinese printmaking. They do this every eight weeks. This regular break from the school routine gives them a two-week chance to dive deep in an area of interest. The results? Performances, competitions and exhibitions in front of the whole school community, and more than that, the sense of what they’d like to learn about in college or beyond.

 

Greenfield Resources

We believe in sharing and learning from others. We created an open source web portal to share the resources found in our Greenfield schools. Anyone can create a free account and access our materials instantly.

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