See the Envision Schools Graduate Profile.
Envision Schools’ focus is on helping students to not only master academic content, but also to be able to apply that knowledge to other situations. We design our curriculum and model around our “know, do, reflect” approach to make sure that our students excel at the 21st Century skills: thinking critically, collaborating productively, communicating clearly and managing projects effectively and the core competencies (research, inquiry, analysis, and creative expression). This allows Envision Education to accomplish its mission of sending students to college well-prepared to tackle that challenge.
Driving success through creative & vigorous student assessment
In addition to using traditional forms of testing, we use an assessment system that emphasizes students’ deep understanding of academic disciplines. Students assemble a portfolio of their best work, which they must “defend,” dissertation-style, in front of an audience of educators, peers, and community members. Students must present a defense of their work at the end of 10th grade, and, for seniors, passing the college success portfolio defense is a requirement to graduate from an Envision School.
Developing real-world projects
To ensure that our students are able to apply academic knowledge to new situations, we employ Project-based Learning, a dynamic approach to teaching in which students put their knowledge to work solving real-world problems and challenges. Envision teachers embed academic content in projects that speak to students’ life experiences and that have relevance and application in the real world.
We also include community-based projects and internships at partner organizations and businesses as part of our educational model through the Workplace Learning Experience. During part of their 11th grade year, all Envision students will go to work at an internship site where they learn from an employer mentor and complete a project with measureable outcomes.
Students have interned at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oakland Zoo, Clinica de la Raza, Luke’s Hospital, Youth Radio, the Ella Baker Center, the Alameda County Sherriff’s Office, Guidance Software, the US District Court, International Brokers, Academy of Sciences, Holy Stitch and the Comic Book Museum, among many others.
Integrating Arts & Technology
Teachers use art and technology as tools for expression and engagement in the classroom; it’s woven into all aspects of what they teach. A student might use art to demonstrate understanding of principles of geometry, or create a video on iMovie to show what they have learned in Social Studies. By the time they graduate, Envision students will know how to use Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Workflow, Google Docs, Google Forms, Google Tasks, Google Calendar, Dropbox, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, Garageband, iMovie and Dreamweaver.
Personalizing college preparation for each student
At Envision Schools, graduating means much more than earning a diploma—it – it means going to college and being prepared to meet the challenges it presents. Over sixty percent of Envision’s students will be the first in their families to go to college.
All of our students meet all the requirements (A-G coursework) for admission to California’s public university systems (a standard unheard of in most California public schools). Teacher-advisors help students navigate the college admissions process and support students’ readiness for college. Students visit a different college every year at Envision and all 11th graders participate in College Spring to help them prepare for the SAT.
Promoting professional development
Envision Schools invests heavily in teacher professional growth, including new teacher training in August, three hours of on-site professional development time weekly, and 10 days of professional development, before school and during the year, where all teachers in our network of schools learn and collaborate. Teachers also share their expertise by creating new projects and posting them to our Project Exchange, an open source for rigorous and relevant curriculum.