Revised January 2016
Students arrive at IES schools with varied amounts of educational, social, and academic exposure. Each student has individual academic, social, and emotional needs. Some students actively travel with or without families for leisure, industry, stewardship, or education. Still other students prefer to learn from home with the flexibility of an online curriculum. Transportation is not currently provided for students. IES staff find that the parental commitment is remarkable and weekly volunteer hours are proof of this.
RtI is available for students who need additional help and intervention. Just Right Learning groups (learning environments) are outlined to satisfy all needs of students. IES schools make an effort to envelop the whole child. Some commonalities of these Just Right Learning groups are small sized learning groups and multi-age group settings that incorporate a Just Right Learning group for each student. Frequent testing and assessing ensures the students are in their “just-right spots." IES schools allow students to easily flow to their Just Right Learning groups throughout the day.
Students also travel to their multi-age pods where they learn about the world around them. Students are given resources and guidance throughout their day that prepare them to be global leaders, engineers, and stewards in other professional careers. IES schools focus on a “culture of caring” which cultivates caring for others at school, at home and abroad. This culture is credited in part to Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits which enhances students’ understanding of leadership within themselves and others.
At-risk learners may need additional academic, social and language support. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a small group intervention where a child can receive academic, language or social support based on their individual needs. RTI is provided in various forms multiple times per week. These interventions include multiple formative and summative assessments as well as continuous progress checks and input from the teacher.
Social and emotional support is provided on site by “Culture of Caring” groups. Culture of Caring exploration time allows students to examine what a caring culture might look and feel like. Students are encouraged to help design what this culture looks like at each campus. Culture of Caring is rooted in learning that embraces uniqueness and relationships. This diverse culture cultivates the caring for others at school and at home. A focus on stewardship allows IES schools to care for their students and greater extended family as well as those not rooted in the direct community.
Just Right Learning groups are multi-age and focus on each child’s individual learning needs. All students are placed in their “just right” spot based on their needs academically rather than being placed in a group by their chronological age. When determining a child’s just right learning group, several factors are taken into consideration: assessment data, input from teachers and outside professionals as well as the social and emotional needs of the student. Assessment tools include MEAP scores (data from state level standards), MAPS tests (a computer test that assesses students at their academic level), running records (reading assessment that scores on accuracy, comprehension and fluency), Delta Math and different forms of assessments given by the classroom teacher. Parent, teacher and other professional input are all taken into consideration when forming these just right groups. The social and emotional needs of the student are discussed in order to be sure the child is placed where they will best receive the whole-child experience. Assessments in the classroom are given a minimum of three times per year. With the results of these assessments and input from teachers, parents and outside professionals just right groups are formed. Just Right Learning groups are reevaluated twice during the school year to ensure each child is receiving the best possible education and whole-child experience.
Each IES school designates time for students and staff to interact in a multi-age setting. During this time, students gather to explore issues, celebrations, diversity, and culture in surrounding communities and around the globe. Older students mentor younger students each day with organized activities that explore ways to impact others at home and abroad. These focus groups participate in coin drives, researching and cheering on olympic hopefuls, the devastation of a tsunami or earthquake and ways we can assist those affected. The relationship that shapes between the students is a lifelong mentorship that is fostered year after year.
IES schools strive to prepare students for their future professional positions such as engineers, community members, global servers and leaders. By providing enriching learning experiences through field experience, global travel and technology, students are able to explore their interests and career options while achieving real-life application. Students are able to discover their strengths by serving others and using higher level thinking with these additional experiences. As students explore different career options they are able to receive assistance and resources through their daily activities at school as well as outside experiences as they embark on their lifelong journey.
Businesses around the world are looking for strong leaders in the community. The IES establishments are committed to the Sean Covey’s 7 Habits for Happy Kids (Covey) as found in the Leader in Me curriculum and verbiage. These items are used on a daily basis and the results are visible in each IES school. Students learn what it takes to become a leader on multiple levels. The habits that the students develop, provide the framework for high achievement not only in school academics but also in social relationships. The student immediately notices the favorable outcomes that will continue as they mature and are exposed to more situations.
Curricular teams will use the following rubric for the adaptation and purchase of curricular resources. Our curricular rubric has a scale of 1 to 3 with a maximum of 9 possible points. Curricular resources will be ranked on the scale based on: meets criteria, inconsistently meets criteria, and does not meet criteria. Curricular resources receiving a score of 7 or less will not be considered.
Once curriculum meets the expectations of the rubric with a score of no less than 8 out of 9 possible points, cost is then a final consideration. The proposed curriculum must fall within the parameters of the allotted budget for the content area during the fiscal year’s curriculum review cycle.
Many instructional approaches are common to all IES schools. They are as follows:
Mathematics at IES schools take on different approaches at various grade levels. As students progress through their Just Right Groupings (based on quantitative and qualitative data), they are given more opportunity to take responsibility for their learning. IES brick and mortar schools have selected Houghton-Mifflin’s Math Expressions as its primary curriculum for K-6 mathematics. Math Expressions has multiple approaches to teaching, learning, and practicing a concept based on Marzano’s Instructional Strategies. There are differentiated reviews and challenges for each lesson. To accompany Math Expressions, teachers use a variety of tech related activities to push a child’s thinking beyond just paper and pencil mathematics.
Math for grades 7-12 operates on a workshop model of learning. These class periods are designed with a blended-learning model. Students spend some time working through online courses created by the teacher, suggested by Michigan Virtual University (MVU), or approved by the ISD. At other times, the students work with the teacher in a small group setting. The primary focus of the small group setting is to improve the Math Practice Standards by using a concept the students are working on at that time. Supplemental activities are teacher created or provided by textbook companies like Holt, Rinehart, and Winston or Pearson Education. Formative assessment is done through daily homework, warm-ups, in-class activities, class discussion, and exit slips. Summative assessments include tests, quizzes, projects, portfolios, and standardized test questions.
IES cyber schools utilize programs such as K-12 Online as the main math content provider for grades K-4. It incorporates a self-paced model with instructional strategies that include reading, interactive practice, formative assessments, and summative assessments. The easy to read dashboards help the teachers, parents, and students instantaneously view progress and competence. The same is true for grades 5-12 that use programs like Odysseyware to drive their self-paced math instruction. These students can also take advantage of blended classes to help support what they are learning online.
IES schools take a hands-on, investigative approach to science education. In order to do this, IES brick and mortar schools use science units created by the Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center (BCAMSC). According to BCAMSC, the curriculum will provide teachers with classroom instruction, which will allow for investigation, interaction, and opportunity for students to write about their observations and emerging thoughts (https://www.bcamsc.org/science-units). The units explore life science, earth science, physical science, and inquiry and technology (https://www.bcamsc.org/science-units). These units are supplemented with technology infused lessons and activities, research, and Project Based Learning to allow students to explore and extend their knowledge.
Once students at IES schools progress through the BCAMSC kits, they have the opportunity to experience science through experiments, hands-on activities, and Project Based Learning. These experiences are supplemented with textbook activities provided by vendors such as Glencoe/McGraw-Hill and Pearson Education.
IES cyber schools include programs like K-12 Online to guide their science instruction for grades K-4 and this is supported by face-to-face workshops to show application of the content. Grades 5-12 enjoy experiments and labs in their blended classes to supplement their instruction through online providers.
The goal of IES schools’ English Language Arts is to provide students with the tools to become lifelong readers and writers. English Language Arts is a core class that is offered in a workshop style format. This format encourages independence and individual voice which inspires leadership in student learning. Included is a mini-lesson for students based on content and then individual work time and practice for Just Right Learning. ELA at IES brick and mortar schools is centered on making meaning of both narrative and informational texts. Word study is an important component of ELA time, using Words Their Way (Bear) curriculum which focuses on students’ Just Right vocabulary abilities. Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshop and Common Core Standards provide the framework for students to learn how to read, write, cite evidence, analyze texts, craft valid and meaningful arguments, make connections, and deduce theories (The Reading & Writing Project). These skills, learned and practice in ELA, will transfer to other core and co-curricular areas.
IES cyber schools offer Just Right Learning by placing students in an online curriculum based on their placement tests. The content providers focus on literacy, comprehension, and writing. Additional workshops and extracurricular offerings help build upon these core skills.
As a globally focused school, Social Studies is an integral part of an IES education. In order to develop world leaders, students need to understand where they come from and the world in which they live. Thinking and working as a team through Project Based Learning, students tackle real world issues and even have the opportunity to impact their community. The emphasis is on teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving. Social Studies culminates in our field experiences as the students get a chance to apply their knowledge in a community abroad. The ultimate goal of Social Studies is for our students to impact their communities no matter where they live. IES cyber schools carry the same vision and go one step further by offering seamless learning while living abroad.
Second language learning is a core component of IES. Hands on, individualized, and student-centered learning is the approach of the SUBE Spanish curriculum used for lower elementary. SUBE allows a second language to be learned through music, games, and art, creating an engaging learning environment (SUBE). For upper elementary and middle school, the curriculum Descubre by Santillana teaches vocabulary and grammar structure while doing a study of Spanish speaking countries’ cultures and histories (Santillana USA). The long term goal of second language acquisition at IES schools is to prepare students to be a part of the global economy. Second language learning has four main focuses for mastery: communication, culture, comprehension, and confidence. These focus areas help students participate in both the input and output of the language; increase the comfort of using and understanding the language both inside and outside the classroom; raise awareness, respect, and curiosity of other cultures around our world; and grasp the grammar, expression, and make up of a second language. IES cyber schools offer a variety of world languages for students to study. These courses include cultural information as well as language skills.
The goal of the Learn to be Fit program at IES schools is to provide students with a basic foundation of motor and manipulative skills, an understanding of the importance of physical fitness, and the opportunity to develop effective personal and social skills. Students are provided with the skills necessary to make decisions about physical activity for their own health and nutrition, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction. IES schools promote a positive learning environment that meets the physical needs and abilities of students and encourages them to maintain a physically active lifestyle and healthy nutrition choices. IES cyber schools also provide facilitated and remotely tracked health and wellness curriculum.
“Mosaic” prepares our students to be global thinkers and leaders. In this class, students focus on other countries and people groups around the world. The emphasis of Mosaic is to expose students to unique and diverse people, places, and things and make a connection to our big world. Mosaic focuses on a global world issue, urging students to provide solutions. This inspires our students to think outside of themselves, build a heart centered in stewardship, and develop leadership. Mosaic prepares students to celebrate diversity, both in global and local communities.
Students grow as artists through art instruction in IES schools. Art is taught in a holistic manner through art history, elements and principles of art, experts in the field, and culture. Students are immersed in art and encouraged to express their individuality through both personal and meaningful work. Cyber schools offer online art appreciation courses.
Music is an integral part of whole child learning at IES. Using music as an essential part of our curriculum helps our students learn and grow by stimulating neural pathway development leading to greater gains in core academics; growing an appreciation for other communities’ music and cultures both domestically and abroad; and by developing their own passion for music. Cyber schools offer music appreciation classes that expose students to music from around the world.
Brain Blast develops learning ability, concentration, and confidence in students. This class uses the curriculum Bal-A-Vis-X (BAVX). It is a combination of balance, auditory, and visual exercises deeply rooted in rhythm. The exercises require full-body coordination and focused attention. This curriculum simultaneously works on critical thinking and multiple step problem solving. These skills equip students to be better at team work and working through problems from start to ﬁnish. While working with bags and balls, eye movement abilities, spacial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and full hemisphere integration are identified. This program also works at improving eye tracking skills, eye teaming skills, and visual form perception (discrimination of details). Overall, hand-eye coordination and growth in confidence and self esteem are noticeable and measurable. A primary focus is on eye movement and eye tracking, teaching students to look at something and then learn to follow it with their eyes. This tracking exercise helps improve reading, math, and general organization. All benefits point to academic success. IES cyber schools utilize the online add-ons to the Brain Blast curriculum, which promote brain training from remote locations. These online add-ons also reinforce skills learned in the face-to-face class.
IES schools’ instructional design and program is developed through a combination of best practices research conducted over the past 20 years defining the programs and strategies that promote highly effective school and student achievement. Best practices in teaching create a learning environment that includes a balanced and integrated curriculum, individualized instruction, active learning opportunities, and a year round calendar. (www.ncpublicschools.org/curriculum) IES identifies with research that has a strong emphasis on innovative and creative approaches, corresponding with our foundations and goals as listed below. The IES curricula is in alignment with the Correlates of Effective Schools as researched and defined by Lawrence Lezotte, which include: safe and orderly environment, climate of high expectations for success, instructional leadership, clear and focused mission, opportunity to learn and student time on task, frequent monitoring of student progress, and home-school relations. (Lezotte, Lawrence W. Correlates of Effective Schools: The First and Second Generation. Effective Schools Products, Ltd., Okemos, MI, 1991) These seven principles provide a foundation for school improvement, encouraging a culture of caring and a learning environment focused on the success and achievement of all students. Within this structure, IES utilizes instructional strategies based upon the collective research of Robert Marzano, Debra Pickering, and Jane Pollock identifying nine high-yield strategies to positively impact and improve student engagement and achievement. IES believes targeting instruction in an intentional manner, as well as providing support in small groups or individually, is the key to improving the overall achievement of students. Focusing on specific instructional areas is accomplished through the development of long and short range goals for both the school and each individual student, accompanied by annual and short-range focus areas.
Student goals are frequently evaluated through student progress and achievement and modified to meet each student’s educational needs. In the event an IES student has not mastered their individualized learning goals, a thorough review of the student’s academic progress is conducted using standardized summative assessments previously described (MEAP, MAP, Discovery Education, Delta Math, Running Records). Additionally, formative and unit assessments, as well as the student’s emotional/social status, are reviewed in order to design a specific learning plan. Each individualized plan includes the possibility of additional academic support including Response to Intervention, student or adult tutors, increased time either in or outside of the school day, and possible referral for child study.
IES bases the framework for educational and instructional background on the application of Effective Schools research, Common Core Standards-based curriculum, and innovative and creative practices. Listed below are the researchers and their work on which the primary focus of IES’ instructional design and programs are established.
IES schools adopt the Project Based Learning approach to teaching, which encourages students to explore real-world challenges and problems within the context of curriculum. Students are encouraged to use inquiry and develop their own answers while collaboratively doing project work in small groups, guided by the teacher. (as stated on bie.org)
The Lucy Calkins reading and writing framework described in The Art of Teaching Reading, The Art of Teaching, as well as the Reading and Writing Workshops Units of Study developed by Calkins with the assistance of the Teachers College at Columbia University have been understood and adopted by all IES teachers. It is the belief of IES teachers that a focus on reading and writing instruction and literacy will enhance all subjects taught. (this will be specific to Allegan/Innocademy)
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills mission aligns with IES’ vision toward creative and innovative education: “To serve as a catalyst to position 21st century readiness at the center of US K-12 education by building collaborative partnerships amongst education, business, community, and government leaders”. (P21 mission statement-http://www.p21.org) IES utilizes the 21st century skills model to provide all students with opportunities in global awareness, second language acquisition, technology integration, community involvement, and business partnerships. Included in this are domestic and international field experiences for all students to tie in Common Core State Standards from content areas.
Whole child development is an integral part of IES schools and is based on research programming developed by Flippen Education and founded by Flip Flippen. Establishing a culture of caring through the research and design of Capturing Kids Hearts and Teen Leadership helps create classrooms where values of trust and respect empower free and active participation, where discipline issues will not subjugate teaching and learning; and where teachers join in the learning process through meaningful and educational connections with students. The whole child environment extends to physical education through Brain Blast which promotes brain and body integration. Research by Eric Jensen, which focuses on integrating neuroscience and effective teaching strategies, aligns with these programs and provides the educational environment.
Because IES schools are teacher led, teachers study and embrace principles framed by Jim Collins in Good to Great and Great By Choice to build the structure upon which IES schools function.
IES evaluates the efficacy of its instructional design and program within the continuous improvement process that is used to develop new and evaluate existing curricula. This process includes a clear and concise identification and definition of the intended curriculum and end in mind--what we want students to know and be able to do in each content area. IES schools accomplish this through the use of Common Core Standards, local and state content standards, and IES expectations taken directly from our mission, vision, and educational goals. IES utilizes a wide variety of instructional strategies to implement the intended curriculum, with ongoing formative assessments providing information and data to assess students’ progress. Summative evaluation is used to measure the effectiveness of the intended curriculum in conjunction with measuring student achievement. The data collected is used to review and assess individual students in comparison to the region and state. The data also provides IES with the information needed to amend, supplement, or refocus the current curricula. IES has established a four-year focused curriculum study and review in order to examine new research and literature aligned with Common Core Standards and IES’ mission. Through this process IES is able to replace or supplement resources (technology, print, media, etc.) specific to the content area.
IES applies the Just Right Learning Groups approach to learning, placing students in small groups corresponding with their academic levels and abilities, which are determined by the statistical triangulation of data combined with the anecdotal data of both classroom teachers and parents. Statistical data is gathered using NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress, MEAP standardized assessments, common district assessments such as running records, and daily classroom formative assessments. Each student is carefully studied and placed according to their academic, social, and emotional needs and achievements. “Just Right Learning” groups provides each student the opportunity for learning at an accelerated level, if and when they are ready, according to where their needs can be met in the best learning environment. During the school year 2011-2012, 20% of IES students were working above their chronological grade levels.
IES’ multi-age educational approach consists of three interwoven facets of learning including academic, social, and emotional. Our multi-age learning environment provides experiences and interaction for a variety of age levels throughout the day. IES schools apply best practices in teaching to create a multi-age learning climate that includes hands-on, student-led and directed, as well as inquiry-based education.
IES teachers and staff consistently participate in professional education and development by engaging in learning opportunities provided by the OAISD. Some IES teachers have traveled to New York for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and to Pennsylvania for Leader in Me training. Most IES teachers are educated by the Buck Institute for Education model of Project Based Learning. (bie.org) All teachers are provided with a coach/mentor to aid in the education and immersion of our unique learning environment and equipped with a support system. New teachers are encouraged to assimilate into the IES environment by sharing their recently acquired knowledge with our experienced staff members.
IES looks at each individual child through the whole child lens understanding the complexity of students’ lives. By focusing on the whole child IES encourages students to explore their talents and interests by engaging them in a variety of opportunities and experiences. Taking on a mission such as this means helping students better understand, from a young age, their unique gifts, talents, and passions. IES encourages students to keep an open mind and expand their learning beyond the school day.
To further academic progress, IES schools place students in Just Right groupings by meeting them where they are. Many factors are taken into consideration when placing students in their Just Right Learning groups. Among the considerations: parent/teacher input; academic ability as measured by formative and summative assessments; achievement assessments (NWEA MAPS); and the social, emotional, and physical impact. Just Right Learning groups allow all students to accelerate at their own pace successfully while still being challenged. Just Right Learning groups are one of the approaches used with all students to enhance their academic achievement. In addition to Just Right Grouping, other services are in place for students who may need extra support in regards to whole child development. These include:
Enrichment opportunities allow IES to journey with students and families as they engage in finding their gifts, talents, and passions, while growing physically, spiritually, emotionally, and academically. Enrichment opportunities provided by IES schools encourage whole child development through critical thinking and experimentation used to both inspire and enlighten student creativity and expression. It is integral in IES schools that enrichment opportunities are provided inside and outside of the school day.
IES schools are rooted in the foundations of global learning and stewardship to inspire global leaders and thinkers. Global citizenship is measured by personal engagement with the world. Students begin their early education learning about their neighborhoods and communities and as they grow so do their global parameters and understanding of the interconnectedness of the world. This applies to a deeper understanding of the citizens of the world, the environment, and their role as a global leader. IES schools promote family connectedness and greater IES community connectedness by participating in local stewardship opportunities, including but not limited to, food drives, clothing drives, and school sponsored fundraisers. By the time students are in middle school they have had the opportunity to participate in local and regional experiences and as a middle school student they are given the opportunity to participate in a global stewardship opportunity. In the past IES schools have traveled on stewardship trips to Honduras, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
IES schools recognize the unique strengths and challenges of all students. All students have an individualized growth portfolio developed through their student led conference in collaboration with parents and teachers. Included in the growth portfolio (a demonstration of child work) are goals for academic achievement and social emotional growth utilizing the “Seven Habits of Happy Kids” by Sean Covey. All IES students receive a free and appropriate education rooted in a strength based model. It is an IES belief that all students can be successful.
IES schools follow the Response to Intervention (RTI) model as part of the Student Support Process. The goal of the Student Support Process is to identify students who need extra assistance in specific areas. Once students are identified, they are placed in small groups for direct instruction. This allows IES teachers/learning coaches to learn how individual students learn best. Systematic progress monitoring is administered to determine student growth. Students who continue to struggle while participating in the Student Support Process are considered for a special education evaluation.
IES schools adhere to the timelines and guidelines for special education services as outlined by the State of Michigan. Students who qualify for support services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) are taught by highly qualified teachers. IES believes parent input, development of individualized goals, delivery of services, and student voice and choice all play a role in the IEP process. IES brick and mortar schools provide push-in and pull-out services, while IES cyber schools schedule identified service time through face to face interaction in the Learning Cafe or via Skype communications. Not only do IES schools provide academic services, but also meet the ancillary needs of students through partnerships with contractual agencies or the local ISD. IES teachers work closely with ancillary providers to ensure strategies are implemented in all settings. Students with an IEP receive the same educational and enrichment opportunities as their general education peers and are viewed as general education students who participate in the least restrictive environment (LRE). All students are viewed through a strength-based model focusing on their abilities while strengthening their skills in a particular qualification area. Students are provided with tablets, access to online curriculum, and applications such as speech to text/ text to speech. Through using online curriculum, students have access to extended time, alternate work settings, and one-on-one support from a content teacher when scheduled. In addition to the accommodations offered to all students, additional accommodations are provided to students with an IEP on an individual basis.
An IES school foundation is Just Right Groups that are flexible and subject area specific. Due to the transitions of all students throughout the day, students receiving support services move seamlessly with their peers to Just Right Groups including support service time. The schoolwide Just Right philosophy diminishes any anxiety or stigma that comes along with receiving support services.
Another innovative initiative utilized with special education students is providing them the opportunity to shine in their academic qualification area while mentoring a younger student who struggles in the same content area or objective. Time is designated weekly for this mentorship model. IES schools believe in building leadership skills through different initiatives with all students in a variety of approaches. This allows older students to feel successful while working in the area of difficulty.
Collaboration is not only a foundation of IES schools but also plays a vital role in the planning, implementation, and instruction of special education students. General education and special education teachers meet regularly to review student expectations in regard to their IEP and social emotional growth. Regular collaboration among team members and parents is used to celebrate growth and successes as well as troubleshoot any areas of difficulty. IES cyber schools provide a unique relationship between students, parents, and teachers through the role of a Learning Coach. The Learning Coach is a well-organized, relationally intuitive person who motivates, inspires, and advocates for an identified group of students. It is the role of the Learning Coach to build and maintain relationships with students while guiding their academic progress either remotely or face to face. Learning Coaches work closely with special education teachers to identify struggling students early on and provide strategies, support, and accommodations as a means of positive interventions.
In addition to the enrichment opportunities available to all students, IES schools provide enrichment opportunities through proactive transition planning. IES schools offer innovative internships, work based learning, and field experience through utilizing online resources and positive business relationships among the surrounding community. These opportunities are provided to all general education and special education students based on individual vocational assessments in conjunction utilizing Career Cruising Springboard. Career Cruising Springboard is an online program that uses real world resources, engaging content, and assessment tools to help students develop living portfolios and identify career paths aligned with his/ her interests. This portfolio is updated annually. In addition, upon entering ninth grade, the Enderle-Severson Transition Rating Scale (ESTR-J) assessment is given to parents and students who receive support services through an Individualized Education Plan. The ESTR-J is a criterion referenced formal assessment for transition planning recommended nationwide.This assessment is updated annually to determine strengths and areas of growth in the following categories: recreation & leisure, home living, employment, post secondary education, and community participation, with specific goals drafted in these 5 areas stated in the IEP.
There is no matriculation agreement for enrollment. The primary form of advertising and recruitment for IES schools is done by word of mouth. However, social media, our website, and other advertisements within the community are also utilized. Because IES already has established schools, interested families are able to tour and experience the IES modeled education. This serves as a powerful recruitment tool.
Legal Requirements Relating to Admissions:
Notice of the enrollment period and application process is designed to inform the persons most likely to be interested in the school. The time periods offered to those persons interested in enrollment and interview processes include some evening and weekend times. If IES schools has more applicants for a particular grade than the established maximum, it selects from the pool of eligible students using a random selection or lottery method. IES schools gives priority admission to children whose parents are employed as staff members to work at IES schools or who are on the Board of Directors of IES schools and to siblings of newly enrolled and currently enrolled students.
For the 2014-2015 school year, IES schools accept applications for children desiring to enroll in grades K-12 throughout the enrollment period. The application period shall be a minimum of two (2) weeks and shall include weekend and evening application times. If applications exceed positions available for any particular class, admission shall be based upon the results of a random selection lottery process as prescribed by the Michigan School Code. Applications received after the close of the open enrollment period but prior to any lottery shall not be included in the lottery.
Legal Requirements of Enrollment Notice and Process:
Random Selection Drawing:
IES schools work hard to meet students where they are and this includes early intervention. As early as preschool, students whose needs are not being met by the general curriculum are provided services to help them reach the necessary benchmarks. Screeners used to help determine which students need extra support include the Preschool Early Literacy Indicators, Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Creative Curriculum Gold, Work Sampling, Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, as well as other formative and summative assessments. Students are then placed in Just Right Learning groups, a tier 1 RTI grouping, and receive tier 2 or 3 interventions if needed.
Another foundation of IES schools is Just Right Groups. Using information from MAPs, MEAPs, Running Records, and parent and teacher input, students are grouped based on their achievement level, as well as their emotional, social, and physical selves. This allows students to be met just where they are and these groupings are flex-scheduled so students can move around to the grade level content expectations that fit their needs. To accomplish this, IES schools follow the same daily schedules to accommodate flex scheduling.
Providing preschool also helps the retention rate of IES schools. When families enroll a young child in an IES school, they quickly see the benefit of the IES foundations (Just Right Learning groups, global focus, multi-age learning, etc.) integrated into their student’s education and do not want to leave it. Not only do these IES foundations keep students enrolled from year to year, but the culture of IES does as well. Because of the many different groupings that exist each day, students come into contact with many different teachers, and the teachers and staff members not only know what is going on in the lives of individual students, but their families as well. When families are in need, IES families step up and assist them as they can. IES schools value thinking of others and stewardship, and the culture of IES schools demonstrates this.
Assessments are deliberately chosen to have a direct connection to the curriculum, approaches, and resources that are core to Innocademy Pyramid Campus expectations of high academic achievement. Assessments results are populated into a data warehouse to synthesize analyze student, teacher, and school performance. The warehouse also aids in identifying long term trends, learning trajectories, and benchmarking. The subsequent results impact Just Right Learning groups, Response to Intervention groups, curriculum review, and professional development opportunities. IES schools, including Innocademy Pyramid Campus, use the following assessments to monitor student progress and instruction.
*IES brick and mortar schools will use the following assessments to monitor student progress and instruction. Assessments in bold are used by all IES schools...brick and mortar and cyber.
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of reading readiness, comprehension, accuracy, and fluency
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of counting & cardinality, operations & algebraic thinking, numbers & operations in base ten, and fractions, measurement & data, geometry, ratios & proportional relationships, the number system, expressions & equations, functions, statistics & probability
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of scientific concepts of patterns, cause & effect, scale & quantity, systems & models, energy & matter, structure & function, stability & change, interdependence & influence of engineering, technology, and science on society & the natural world
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of historical, geographic, civic, and economic perspective, as well as inquiry, public discourse & decision making
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of second language acquisition, comprehension, communication, confidence, and culture
- assessments connect to the chosen curriculum and provide feedback on the teaching and learning of technology, physical education, nutrition, art, and music standards as outlined in Michigan Department of Education standards and benchmarks outlined on www.michigan.gov
Recognizing that MEAP data is provided on an annual basis, IES schools use a series of formative and summative assessments to aid in developing growth targets for both the school and each individual student.
IES schools assess students two to three times a year using NWEA’s Common Core MAPs computer adjusted assessments. According to NWEA’s website, the Common Core MAP assessments deliver valid, reliable, and real-time growth and proficiency data. The cross-grade item pool lets the teachers assess grade 3–12 students who are performing below, on-grade, or above grade level, which allows the staff to put the students in their Just Right Groups (NWEA Website). All IES schools utilize the MAP data to analyze progress toward the goal of 80% proficiency and a minimum of one year’s growth. The following charts depict the nationally-normed benchmarks across an academic school year per grade level. http://www.nwea.org/sites/www.nwea.org/files/resources/2011_Normative_Data_Overview.pdf
IES schools use Fountas and Pinnell Running Records to assess a child’s reading level and develop an individual growth plan for the child. The goal for schools is to have at least 85% of the students meeting benchmarks developed by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
IES schools use the Delta Math assessment program developed by the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (OAISD). This is a formative assessment given to students two to three times a year to measure their understanding of math standards at their grade level. The program generates individual student reports with indicators of which standards each student needs to improve. The goal is to have at least 80% of all students meeting or exceeding proficiency. Students not meeting performance standards are considered for Response to Intervention small group work.
Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study are used by IES schools to develop lifelong writers while working through the writingprocess. Students grow independence, writing stamina, and value choice through the workshop model that scaffolds instruction through whole group, small group, and individual conferencing. At the beginning of the year, IES students produce a prompted baseline writing sample. The writing sample is assessed and a continuum level determined for each child. From there, teachers focus on helping each student improve his/her writing by taking a look at their Zone of Proximal Development, that learning objective that they are on the cusp of grasping. The goal by the end of the year is at least 80% will meet or exceed grade level proficiency. (http://readingandwritingproject.com/professional-development/k-8-writing.html) (http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/social-development.html)
Growth targets are adjusted through the development and assessment of the school improvement plan. Members of the school improvement team (students, parents, teachers, and board members) and other stakeholders analyze the available data and determine what changes need to be made to the targets. Instruction is adjusted based on this information and growth targets change to represent any changes in pedagogy and state standards.
Brick-and-mortar middle school parents have 24/7 access to student grades housed in a student management system. Some schools utilize PowerSchool while others use Infinite Campus. Virtual schools utilize a dashboard to provide an at-a-glance progress report from multiple content providers to give real-time status of individual student achievement and course completion.
IES cyber schools provide a parent portal through their student’s online curriculum provider that allows parents 24/7 access to their student’s account. Parents see their student’s percentage score in each class as well as the level of course completion. In addition learning coaches monitor student progress daily and correspond with parents through e-mail, phone, and our learningl management system to keep parents up to date on their student’s progress.
IES schools communicate individual student academic achievement as well as whole child development including 7 Habits, social emotional growth, and progress toward written goals. All students receive two report cards, one mid-year and one at year’s end. Each student has a Growth Portfolio filled with assessment data and highlights from each academic subject. Also contained in each student’s Growth Portfolio are personal goals set jointly by the student, teacher, and parents. This Growth Portfolio becomes the tool each student uses to report his/her progress to family members during student-led conferences as well as three additional times throughout the school year. Student-led conferences occur bi-annually, typically in the fall and spring.
A culture of caring and collaboration is fostered through open lines of communication. IES schools pride themselves on teacher approachability and availability. Teachers and parents connect via email, phone, and face-to-face meetings. Whole child concerns are addressed and achievements are celebrated.
Quarterly parent meetings cover a broad range of topics including: innovative approaches, assessment results, reporting out on a 5-10 year plan, growing outside the classroom walls through stewardship opportunities and field experiences, and results of satisfaction surveys. The expectation of parent participation and turnout is high as staff make deliberate efforts to create an environment where parents feel a sense of ownership and pride in their IES school.
IES schools operate with a school improvement team, which continually analyzes and makes adjustments to the SMART Goals for each area of the plan. IES schools use a variety of data sources to help determine the success of the goals and objectives.
Along with using MEAP (or Common Core equivalent) for the summative assessment, IES schools use a variety of ongoing assessments to track more immediate progress. Some of the assessments used to measure student success are MAP by NWEA, Delta Math developed by the OAISD, Fountas and Pinnell Running Records and in-class, teacher-developed assessments. Additional measures of success are outlined in question 18.
Teacher retention is important at all IES schools. Teachers and staff members make the culture of the school what it is. Teacher retention is tracked on a yearly basis. One of the data sources IES schools use is an in-house developed teacher satisfaction survey. This survey contains questions related to working conditions. The format of the survey allows teachers to respond anonymously to questions and provide individual responses to each question. The school improvement team and staff members identify priority concerns and the root causes of those concerns.
To determine the satisfaction level of parents and students, each group is given a survey. These surveys are the same format as the teacher retention surveys. Students and parents take these surveys on an annual basis, which provides data for the school to use to determine the satisfaction level.
Parent and Student satisfaction is also gauged through conversations. This takes place at various times such as teacher-student conferences, student-led conferences, and parent-teacher conferences. In addition feedback through e-mails, phone conversations, and social media contacts are utilized.
The climate of an IES school is one which promotes whole-child development. This is done by practicing the 7 Habits by Stephen Covey, developing a culture of caring, and getting students involved with stewardship. Members of the staff analyze the climate through the collection of quantitative and qualitative data. The data serves as part of a comprehensive needs assessment to determine the progress being made in these areas.
As part of the whole-child development, IES is involved within the local community. Some of this involvement consists of guest speakers who present at the school. These speakers are local business owners, artists, athletes, authors, motivational speakers, and law enforcement officials.
IES stakeholders participate in different stewardship activities. Team members (staff and students) participate in canned food drives, shoveling driveways, and raising money for the Wounded Warrior project. More about stewardship is outlined in question 12. Data is collected in relation to the effectiveness of these opportunities. Students are given surveys which question how they respond during different situations. IES schools collects data on the number of stewardship opportunities provided to students.
Members of IES schools are involved in the community through field experiences and Capstone trips. IES schools recognize the whole world as a community, not limiting it to the schools town or city. Students, staff, and parents travel to local areas, throughout the state of Michigan, to the east coast, to Washington D.C., and internationally. These trips are not only analyzed for their effectiveness with the community at-large, but also for the effectiveness with the stakeholders. This will consist of qualitative data generated from discussions and feedback.
As director of a teacher led school, the director will provide leadership, and inspiration to the staff; will work with IES to hire and evaluate teachers; will provide coordination and oversight to the teacher-leaders in enrollment, scheduling, curriculum, instruction and assessment in providing a safe environment for learning and in facilitating the operational budget.
Ultimate responsibility of governance resides with the Board of Directors. The Board will oversee all operations of the academy and the proposed management company. The Board will be appointed by the authorizer. The number of board members will always be an odd number between five and nine, as determined by the Board.
Innovation Education Services (IES) will function as a non-profit service provider of the school, providing support staffing, payroll, accounting and back office support among other services. Any financial reserves generated by effective management will be used to reinvest in performance enhancements and growing additional schools per the IES long-term plan. IES board members will be made up of five delegates from a coalition of global businesses intent on innovation in education that can make a global difference. The primary role of IES is to ensure that the school continually challenges itself to meet and exceed the 5-10 year mission and vision of the school.
While the school Board will be responsible for governance and leadership of the school, the Director and the assigned teacher-leaders will jointly manage and coordinate day-to-day activities. This team will set the academic course for the school and monitor progress within the Michigan School Improvement Framework that includes the school improvement committee, made up of the Director, teacher-leaders, parents, a board member and a representative of IES.
An additional structural component is the Innocademy Parent Organization board (IPO), made up of five elected parents. It is the role of this board to raise and distribute funds for special projects and needs to support the schools strategic plan. The allocation of funds happens through a grant process and is monitored to ensure that all grade levels and areas of study are represented.
The process to be used to recruit, identify and employ teachers is as follows:
Preferential consideration will be provided to candidates who carry multiple certifications (including special education); demonstrate interest in the various leadership areas; experience with one of the web-based curriculum management tools; use of either Discovery Education or NWEA MAP; familiarity with “Capturing Kids Hearts”, “Leader in Me”, Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing programs, 21st Century Skills; and integration of technology with a STEAM focus
A teacher led structure is a foundation of IES schools. A teacher led structure means that IES teachers are driven and empowered to teach and lead in every facet of Innocademy. In a teacher led structure, teachers operate the school, make decisions, administer, mold the curriculum to stay true to our mission, and model for students what it means to be leaders.
In a teacher led school, each teacher owns School Responsibilities (SR’s) where their passion and gifts are utilized to benefit the whole. Teachers participate at a level far beyond instruction, bringing leadership to all levels of Innocademy.
IES staff members are driven, visionary, united, and collaborative. Managing, training, and immersing staff in the teacher-led culture ensures that all staff members are able to answer most questions that come their way and can direct to the staff member that is the “owner” for more specifics. This ensures that IES schools and their employees are transparent and informed.
The process used to recruit, identify, and employ teachers is as follows:
NCSI provides charter schools with the guidance they need to be successful. NCIS will provide IES Schools with the necessary tools needed in regard to board policy, board training and development, performance evaluation and board coaching.
IES schools will potentially contract with American Charter Education Services to ensure compliance with EDGAR as well as other state and federal requirements .
Innovative Education Services will provide IES Schools with the support needed to effectively and efficiently manage the school. These services include but are not limited to managing employees payroll, taxes and benefits.
MAPSA describes their mission as “Our mission is to provide leadership to advance quality and promote choice in education through a strong community of chartered public schools and their supporters, offering every Michigan child an opportunity to learn.” (Source: http://www.charterschools.org/) IES Schools will work with MAPSA to learn about best practices and grant opportunities. Michigan Association of Charter School Boards (MACSB) IES Schools will partner with Michigan Association of Charter School Boards to define board policies and procedures. http://macsb.org/