Young Achievers

The Young Achievers Science and Mathematics Pilot School is dedicated to creating an exceptional teaching and learning environment in which science and math concepts, explored by new technologies, are central to teacher and student inquiry. Our school is governed by a democratic participatory process that relies on active partnerships with families, students, community members and community institutions. We make a collective commitment to social justice through academic excellence for the diverse student body enrolled at our school from throughout the city of Boston. Our rigorous academic and social curriculum is designed to maximize each student's potential for critical thinking, intellectual curiosity, community involvement, and responsible leadership.

Young Achievers School

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Highlights:

Social Justice & Equity

Commitment to social justice and equity begins with the adults in the school community –staff and families—and how we treat each other and work together to make the best possible school for our children.  This work begins with active recruitment of a diverse staff, in race, class, and gender, and then engaging with that diversity so that the strength and wisdom of everyone can contribute to the effectiveness of our learning environment.

Curriculum

Social justice issues are embedded in the fabric of our school culture and an anti-bias pedagogy and curriculum are at the core of Young Achievers’ learning environment.  Every experiential unit of study has a social justice emphasis threaded through it.  For example:

  • The first grade year-long study of farms and markets includes a study of migrant farm workers as well as partnerships with area shelters where organic gardening is implemented.
  •  The second grade’s Boston neighborhood study makes a point to partner with community-based organizations that work to improve the environmental health of their communities and the people who live there.
  • The eighth grade engages in a yearlong comparative study of Haitian and Kenyan post-colonial societies, with a particular focus on environmental degradation and deforestation in both environments.
  • Also, in the eighth grade, students must complete a graduation requirement of a community based internship where they can participate in an organization working to positively impact the communities in which our students and families live.

Program Highlights

  • We have 600 students in Kindergarten through eighth grade who are selected by lottery and come from the following Boston neighborhoods:
    • Dorchester 40%
    • Hyde Park 10%
    • Mattapan 30%
    • Jamaica Plain 9%
    • Roslindale 5%
    • Roxbury 6%
  • Over 80% of the students are on free or reduced price lunch.
     
  • We are participants of the Experiential Education Demonstration Project, which provides resources to build environmental experiential education curricula at each grade level. These multi-disciplinary study units encompass field trips, visits from experts and hands-on learning and make use of local environmental resources.
     
  • We have small class sizes of 20 students with a teacher and community assistant teacher in each classroom.

Habits of Mind

All Students are expected to know, develop, and apply the Young Achievers’ Habits of Mind to their academic and social responsibilities:

  • At the heart of our school climate and instructional practice is the development of certain habits of mind:
    • Creativity
    • Investigation
    • Evidence
    • Perseverance
    • Connection
    • Equity
    Learn more about the YA Habits of Mind and how they help YA students live up to their potential as scholars.

Grade Level: K - 8

Links:


Tags for this entry:
social justice, youth engagement, creativity, exploration, equity

Related Resources:

Rethinking Schools

Education for Liberation’s EdLib Lab

A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education

Rethinking Schools’ teaching and curriculum resources

Teaching Tolerance’s Classroom Activities