Spirit: passionate engagement & celebration fuels learning

We believe that students learn best when they are engaged, creative, and cheered on by their peers to achieve academic excellence. We push each other out of our comfort zones to stay engaged, take risks and embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.  We encourage a dynamic environment that celebrates community, achievement, courage, fun and excellence.

Personalization: learning experiences are most transformative when they are individualized

We approach education as a student-centered, holistic, humanizing experience.   We integrate healthy identity development with rigorous academic enrichment in a space that encourages all students to bring their whole selves to learning.  We value and build trusting, mutually beneficial relationships with students, families, schools and community organizations to create a web of support to meet each child’s specific needs.  Students and teachers are encouraged to be reflective, critical thinkers about themselves, their approaches to learning, their communities, and their education.   

Reciprocity: education is a shared process

Education is not a one sided endeavor.  Meaningful growth and learning happen when we leverage the unique energy and curiosity of students and teachers, and redefine teaching and learning as a mutual process. When this occurs, both ‘student’ and ‘teacher’ are transformed.

Peer Education:  peers are uniquely positioned to enhance learning

By putting the power of teaching in the hands of young people, we provide both rich learning opportunities and powerful role models for students. Peer education fosters transformative mentoring relationships and opens doors to education, teaching and learning.

Empowerment: strong leaders require skills, space, and support

We believe that young people need positive, safe spaces in order to develop intellectually, socially, and emotionally.  We maintain high expectations and entrust our students and teachers with real responsibilities.  We instill confidence, self-efficacy and self-advocacy to nurture lifelong learners, lifetime educators and empowered leaders.

Intentionality: reflection and rigor create strong individuals and organizations

We believe that personal and organizational excellence is achieved through deliberate and ongoing planning, thoughtful action and reflection. Students, teachers, staff and volunteers have access to the tools, people and information required to set goals, reflect on their approaches, and build networks of support in their pursuit of excellence.  As an organization, we integrate both qualitative and quantitative measures to inform and improve our work and decision-making.