Charter schools were created to provide opportunities for teachers, parents, students, and community members to establish and maintain schools that operate independently from the existing school district structure as a method to accomplish the following: improve student learning; increase learning opportunities for all students; encourage the use of different and innovative teaching methods; create new professional opportunities for teachers; provide parents and students with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities that are available within the public school system; and be accountable for meeting measurable academic standards.
Charter Schools are independent public schools established and operated under a charter from the local school board and in which students are enrolled or attend. These schools are commonly referred to as "brick-and-mortar" charter schools and focus on teacher-led discussion and teacher knowledge imparted to students through face-to-face interaction at the schools' physical facilities located within the boundaries of the school district that granted the charter.
The current system places focus on assessment scores in order to fund and provide opportunities for progress in education. State, national, and cognitive assessments focus on the deficits of a learner, institution or potential future. Present models in education tend to be deficit-based. They highlight the problems of a child, such as a child’s (dis)ability and focus on what is “missing” instead of what can be accomplished. Deficit-based models lead to a downward spiral of burnout and depression among students and staff. Our preferred learning model, at CAL, focuses on the individual learner with an asset-based approach, highlighting their individual strengths and designing a curriculum based on their needs and desired future. Our preferred educational model centers on a curriculum that commits to justice and equity.
CAL's educational model addresses the need of learners and their parents/guardians as it allows flexibility for families and expands choices for students. Our preferred learning model recognizes the contributions of all to teach learners in a flexible, adaptive, and culturally-responsive method. We will enable every learner and their family to flourish by centering the instruction on their individual needs and progress.
The school will designate a team for each child. An individualized educational program will be created for all children in the school and the team will meet quarterly to analyze the child’s progress in the learning goals and make adjustments to meet the individual needs of the child. We propose to measure this outcome by starting with eliminating grades and utilizing the IEP Goal / Portfolio process to measure student progress in learning. We can compliment this outcome and ensure consistency with state instructional learning progressions because all students are required to take state standardized assessments. Students will not have grades in their instructional program, but the school, student, and parent/guardian will have access to how their child performed on state standardized assessments in comparison with their educational progression.