At REALM Charter School, our mission is to advance knowledge through rigorous studies, cultivate resiliency, develop critical thinking skills, and equip students in grades 6-12 to serve our communities and the world in the 21st century.
What does that look like in practice? In our previous post, we looked at the principles of Love, Grit, and Action, on which our school is founded, and how they guide us every day.
In the post below, we’re exploring four of our core beliefs, and how they are embodied each and every day in our learning community.
We believe children walk into REALM with a ton of genius already.
REALM students help each other and learn together. They are creative, compassionate, and different. Whether they’re holding a hammer or a pencil, a stylus or a measuring tape, children walk into our doors with curiosity and open minds, ready to expand their universe.
We believe creativity is rigorous.
We believe that rigorous methods and creativity are not at odds. We hold high expectations and continually challenge our students to engage in the rigorous process of creative thinking.
Our spaces for learning are both structured and spontaneous. The REALM environment is designed and dignified, encouraging students to look under rocks and around corners. Learning happens on smart boards, in pods of rolling chairs, in the park down the street, and in the hallways between classes.
We believe education should reinvent itself more frequently.
Our teachers take on radical efforts and attempt the impossible. They explore new and emerging technologies, use design thinking in the classroom, and integrate project-based learning into every unit.
They hear, support and reward the creative ideas of students, and turn those ideas into lesson plans and units. They continually iterate and improve on their lesson plans and teaching practices, embracing critique from peers, leaders, and students. The content they teach every day is experimental, rigorous, aligned to state standards, and always student-centered.
We believe education is a tool to realize a student’s life purpose.
Coursework at REALM is a conversation, not merely a curriculum. We teach and learn from a place of inquiry, compassion, grit and rigor. We recognize there are many answers to the same question, and our teachers build classroom communities around the voices of students and their needs. Students are pushed to ask “why,” to brainstorm, to fail forward, and to make connections across classes and beyond school walls.
The bottom line
Our middle school and high school programs support and challenge the whole child. We prepare our students to pass Advanced Placement (AP) exams, master Common Core standards, find success on the SAT, and succeed in college.
We also measure their growth in how they collaborate with each other, how often they iterate, and how they contribute to building community inside and outside our walls — ensuring they graduate with the audacity and tools needed to change the world.