The Anchor School Model
We are building a campus based on restoration and justice
In accordance with our mission, best practices as well as research showing that selected elements have been proven effective with our target population, The Anchor School’s educational model values diversity and wellness, integrates intellectual and academic growth, and encourages social-emotional and physical health with social responsibility. The model is rooted in the understanding that our children’s academic success is inextricably linked to their overall well-being which is intimately linked to their cultural history. Research shows that a school community that welcomes and values cultural diversity among students, staff, and parents is likely to create a safe and supportive environment for all, enhances students’ well-being, and competence to learn, progress, and achieve. The Anchor School prioritizes attention to empowering students to attain a full understanding of their history and actively engage students in culturally responsive teaching and learning that simultaneously builds their academic, social, and emotional skills. The model hinges on the belief that attending to the development of the whole child is essential in achieving excellence in academics.
To achieve our mission and vision, our design principles are guided by the following three anchors:
The Anchor Guide of Introspective Healers is defined by learning about ourselves and how we impact others so that we can grow into full humans and reach personal potential.
The Anchor School promotes the development of responsible citizens who are self-aware, kind, and empathetic. Aligned with research that shows students’ emotional intelligence predicts academic outcomes, our learners gain the social and life habit skills needed to thrive in high school and beyond, create their networks, and persevere through challenge. Learners are grounded in a deep sense of self, a strong identity, and a profoundly personal motivating force that drives them to excel. The Anchor School integrates social-emotional learning, restorative and trauma-informed practices as well as mental health and wellness to create a school environment where children and school personnel are introspective healers.
At The Anchor School, we hold high expectations for all students and provide a holistic model to ensure they meet the requirements of the rigorous curriculum across all content areas – literacy, math, science, social studies, arts, music, and health and wellness education that is aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Our approach to curriculum, instruction and assessment is designed to provide all students, including but not limited to students with disabilities, English learners, gifted learners and students at-risk of academic failure, with rigorous, standards-based instruction within an inclusive, whole child approach. We make data-driven decisions and continuously reflect on ways to improve and maximize all instructional opportunities and ourselves. Students are equipped with self-management, self-directed learning, time management, organization, planning, and goal-setting skills to learn in a highly unstructured, often self-directed learning environment. Academic classes are anchored and taught from the perspective of cultural history and geniuses. Complimented by our Anti-Racist curriculum (i.e. The Woke Student) students regularly engage with a series of lessons that teach essential topics such as race, racism, bias, identity development, stereotypes, gender inequality, LGBTQ+ Rights, police violence, and more. Additionally, we value diversity and employ culturally responsive teaching methods that empower students to be independent problem-solvers that use their voice and story for the good of self, others, and the community.
Our learners fine-tune the skills needed to be college and career ready in “The Lab.” Here, staff provide individualized supports and tiered interventions to reach the goals in their personalized learning plan that are co-created by students, families, and staff, as well as the competencies to graduate from The Anchor School. Finally, students complete annual anchor projects (i.e. dissertation/defense) to summarize and communicate their learning.
Conscious Justice Warriors
The Anchor Guide of Conscious Justice Warriors is defined by using our voices to advocate for ourselves and others. We work intentionally as a collective team and with the community to prepare our learners for the community and world that they are inheriting.
We do this by deliberatly engaging them in discussions about race, inequities, privilege and by identifying issues affecting our communities and the works of activists who have made positive change. Building off the academic foundations that are taught from the perspective of our students’ history, we incorporate a set of experiences to help children further develop their identities by gaining more proximity to their cultural foundation. For example, during The Black Experience, our students gain exposure to history, non-profits, civic organizations, local businesses, etc. and apply their knowledge and skills to build meaningful community connections. Students use the community organizing cycle that is centered around the 5 Rs Framework to identify issues in the community with their Issue Action Teams and conduct research by completing one on ones, house meetings, and creating events. Students are supported in these experiences, which are often conducted in partnership with carefully selected external partners, offer deep community-building experiences for students, staff, and parents—reinforcing their shared purpose and commitment to one another. At The Anchor School, we equip students, families and school personnel with the tools needed to combat racism, ethnic discrimination and to find ways to build a society that includes all people on an equal footing through anti-racist professional development.