Open School Precepts

As an Open School Marcy works to meet the following precepts:

1. Thematic, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning

Activities in the classroom and content area objectives are integrated into thematic culturally inclusive interdisciplinary units of study.

I. Arts, culture, sciences and humanities equally valued and integrated
II Shared planning time to create thematic/integrated curriculum
III Culturally responsive learning environments that encourage multiple responses to all learners
IV Flexible blocks of time allow for individual differences in instruction and classroom work
V Thematic work representing all students and cultures

2. Child Decision-Making and Self-Directed Learning that is individualized and personalized

The Marcy community puts students' learning first which guides and promotes the success of all students. Inquiry based strategies are valued and encouraged by adults and promoted among students. Students are taught and encouraged to use multiple strategies for inquiry and learning styles are understood and affirmed. All Marcy staff, parents, and community are committed to life long learning.

I. Individualized projects supported by adults
II. Option courses offered monthly to support thematic units
III. Student leadership is encouraged and is representative of student demographics
IV. Student centered assessments reflect high expectations for all students
V. Curriculum reflects culturally relevant, real-world interests and experiences

3. Flexible Student Groupings

Student groupings, time, space and classroom activities are responsive to the ongoing needs and interests of children. Classroom groupings of children are flexible, multi-age or looped, and heterogeneous. Student groupings are fluid and maintain a diverse representation of the student body. Multi-aged and looped classrooms build and maintain ongoing relationship between teachers and students, and students to students.

I. Multi-age classrooms and looped classrooms support cross-cultural friendships.
II. Flexible scheduling accommodates a depth and breath of learning.
III. Options programs expand and support classroom instruction.
IV. Diverse perspectives enhance the classroom.

4. Peer Interactions and Cooperative Learning

Multicultural activities and curriculum as well as the physical arrangement of the classroom contribute to children learning about, from and with each other. Students are encouraged to cooperate in their learning rather than to compete with others.

I. Cross-age tutoring experiences for students
II. Peer led cooperative learning tasks
III. Circle/meeting sharing and discussion
IV. Collegial conversations modeled for students by staff
V. Effective cross cultural communications skills enhanced and practiced

5. Community as Resource and Service Learning

People, places and artifacts in various cultures and communities are a meaningful resource for teaching and learning activities. Children are encouraged to contribute in meaningful ways to their communities through service learning projects.

I. Camping experiences
II. Walking field trips
III. Service learning projects
IV. Use of community resources including school volunteers
V. Personal stories shared and valued
VI. Culturally diverse media and community resources.
VII. The study of urban health, political, social, and environmental issues.

6. School - Family Partnerships and Parent Involvement

Multiple inclusive approaches exist for parents and families to be involved in culturally diverse classroom and school based activities. Parents have opportunities to become knowledgeable and supportive of the overall educational program.

I. Participation in the goal stetting process
II. Classroom volunteers and tutors
III. Parent-taught options courses
IV. Leadership councils and parent advisory groups
V. Parent information and communication provided in multiple languages with interpreters
VI. Outreach and partnering with ethnic communities represented at Marcy
VII. Multicultural and culturally specific programming

7. Student -Centered Assessment and Self -Evaluation

Children are encouraged to take increasingly more responsibility for evaluating their own learning based on cultural learning styles, student engagement, and student motivation. Authentic, performance based assessment measures are utilized to demonstrate all aspects of student learning, including relationships, a sense of belonging and an affirmation of cultures.

I. Student needs assessment and learning style inventory
II. Portfolio assessment practices
III. Student self-evaluation and reflection
IV. Student demonstrations and performances
V. Student- parent -teacher goal setting conferences

8. Experiential and Process-Centered Learning

Students' learning experiences are direct, experiential, and culturally significant with opportunities for students to interact with and explore the real world around them. The learning processes of inquiry; questioning, problem solving, data gathering and analysis are viewed as central to learning.

I. Authentic primary source materials including those that reflect students' cultural contexts
II. Individual or small group study projects
III. Current events that reflect experiences of diverse cultures
IV. Service learning projects

9. Social Emotional Wellness and Respectful Humane Environments

Relationships and interconnectedness between students and staff are based upon mutual respect, cultural awareness, trust, and empathy and caring. Staff and students understand and respect individual and cultural differences. Intra and interpersonal relationships affect the learning environment.

I. Social emotional skills taught
II. Cultural differences embraced
III. Cross-cultural competence built among adults and students
IV. Inter and intra- personal learning valued
V. Opportunities for student decision making woven into all activities
VI. Student perspectives and feelings respected

10. Culturally Responsive Learning Environments and International Perspectives

Learning environments and experiences value and integrate diverse backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. International perspectives are infused into the learning environment.

I. Mutual understanding and respect for all cultural communities
II. Cultural competent learning environments
III. Diversity of our communities reflected within learning environments
IV. Diversity celebrated within the school and larger community
V. Multicultural curriculum integrated throughout the learning environment
VI. Courageous conversations held around race and culture

11. Democratic Learning and Peace Education

The school functions as a model for democracy. Student learners are encouraged to find nonviolent, respectful, peaceful approaches. Leadership, responsibility, and accountability are shared among stakeholders. Student learners are valued as decision makers in the school.

I. Peace education
II. Educating for a democratic society
III. Classroom and school as model of democracy
IV Student learners peaceful problem solvers and mediators for each other in learning and decision making

In This Section