“Success isn’t having trophies or toys. It isn’t a medal or friends of your choice. What is success? That’s easy to see. It’s trying to be the best you can be.” (Inch and Miles by Coach John Wooden).
Upon walking onto Feaster’s campus, it is clear that there is a focus on social emotional learning. With an emphasis on restorative justice and cooperation, vital skills for success are taught to students in transitional kinder up to eighth grade. Throughout the school, students learn to emulate specific character strengths that are introduced at the beginning of the year. They then work to apply what they have learned to their everyday lessons and collaborative project based learning assignments.
When taught, I have a lot of power.
Without me, relationships tend to sour.
At Feaster Charter, I learn more than just academics.
Character strengths are becoming quite the epidemic.
Throughout Feaster Charter we use technology to enhance our students’ education and foster a community of life long learners. Using a one-to-one model, students’ academics are enhanced through the use of technology. Teachers are held accountable by both the administration and curriculum coaches to use the technology effectively, as described in aour school adopted integration spectrum. In an area where technology is not readily available and 86% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, it is important to keep students up to date on the most relevant technology. Without the one-to-one program, many students would not have the ability to conduct an effective web search, type with accuracy, or be tech literate in a tech-reliant society.
The twenty-first century is great.
Learning to use technology well is my fate.
At Feaster Charter, I have my own device.
Making my education thrice as nice, I suppose that will suffice.
Additional enhancements that Feaster Charter brings to our students are the academies. Each student has the opportunity to be placed in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), VAPA (visual and performing arts), or STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) academy. Each academy in grades kindergarten through eighth grade works to teach the standards and curriculum designed for that grade level; yet, each academy places an academic emphasis on the concepts for which their academy stands for. In STEM, students’ academic learning is infused with engineering and technology. In VAPA, their academic experience includes music, dramatizations, and art. Our STEAM academy, which is only offered to our kindergarten and middle school students, instills all of the components of STEM and VAPA into the everyday curriculum.
At Feaster Charter, my education is optimized
In the VAPA academy, my curriculum is visualized and dramatized
In the STEM academy, I use technology and engineering, my work is digitized
In the STEAM academy, I learn using VAPA and STEM concepts, we revolutionize
Feaster Charter School is committed to teaching our transitional kindergarten through sixth grade students the importance of college, career, and life readiness. We believe that with a rapidly changing workforce our students need the education and character strengths to be highly qualified and adaptable to change. Our belief in preparing students for a 21st century work environment is rooted in the idea that by, 2018 employment in science, technology, engineering, and math related jobs are expected to grow 17%, which amounts to about 8.5 million workers in the field. We understand that our students need to have the skills necessary to compete for careers that may not yet exist. We are preparing our students by explicitly teaching the technology skills they will need to stay competitive in college and their career as well as the life readiness skills to emotionally tackle the hardships that come with life challenges.
Under our administration, we have collectively decided that supporting this culture is one of our top priorities. During the last two years, our staff has made a commitment to develop our college, career and life readiness program. To expedite the awareness of our program, we decided to begin speaking with students about colleges and universities starting at the kindergarten level. Each year we also reinforce our commitment by taking field trips to universities, creating projects related to universities, and discussing the A-G requirements for college admissions. During students’ sixth grade year, we introduce a program called Compact for Success, which is a program sponsored by San Diego State University (SDSU). Compact for Success guarantees admission to any student within the Sweetwater School District, our feeder district, who maintains the minimum eligibility requirements needed to apply to a university. Students enrolled in this program are then invited to tour SDSU with their parents and attend a pep rally that showcases the various extracurricular activities offered at the university level. We believe that by exposing students to the option of attending college at an early age, we broaden our students’ future options.
In addition to the STEM instructional focus for college and career readiness, we also believe that students and families need to be taught the socio-emotional and behavioral supports needed to achieve academic success. Our model focuses on studying two character strengths per quarter. Each quarter students, teachers, and administrators discuss the character strengths successful individuals practice when faced with adversity. To ensure that teachers and parents properly understand the importance of each character strength a teacher-led committee hosts professional developments (PD) and provide instructional resources which teachers may then share with their students. Our biggest push this year is to help students understand “growth-mindset.” Growth-mindset is the ability to improve and develop your skills through hard work. Many of our students believe that they are either born smart or born lacking in a subject area. We are on a mission to dispel that notion. We want our students to believe that with hard work and perseverance they can accomplish the most rigorous learning in any content area.