Sharing Practices
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Collaboration. We are better together.

Collaboration brings about stronger relationships, better ideas, and smoother execution.

Adult collaboration in schools not only makes everyone’s work smarter and smoother, but also models for students the critical skill of teamwork in the 21st century. We live and breathe collaboration – not just during specific team-meeting times. If you visit an Aspire school (and we hope you will), you’ll see collaboration alive in quick conversations in the hallways, morning meetings over coffee, co-planning sessions during afternoon periods, and more. It’s more than meetings – it’s a mindset.

Community

Collaboration is more than teachers working together. Our College for Certain mission requires community-wide partnerships. In Sacramento…in Los Angeles…in Memphis – principals, teachers, parents, families, students, and other invested community members are all teaming up to maintain our strong schools and open new ones.

Close the Loop

The “Home Office” doesn’t make big decisions and hand them down to the schools. When faced with organization-wide decisions, we work hard to cultivate a feedback model wherein:

  • We ask members of the Aspire community for their opinions – because they matter.
  • We take the time – but not too much time – considering different ideas and options in order to determine what is truly best for students.

We “close the loop” by circling back to people. If they took the time to share their ideas, they deserve to know what was done with them, and what’s happening next.

External Collaboration

Aspire is dedicated to collaborating with school districts and educational organizations whenever possible. Sharing best practices with other educators and school systems has been part of our mission statement since our organization was founded in 1998. To date, our collaboration with other school systems has taken a wide variety of forms ranging from instructional to financial. We regularly open our schools up to visitors, host tours and hold informal partnership meetings.

  • We have served as an EdTech incubator and developed our own assessment tool, www.Schoolzilla.org, which has launched nationwide and spun off as its own independent organization.  Districts and schools can use this tool free of charge.  This tool automatically converts raw state testing data into useable tools and information to help teachers and principals make instructional plans quickly based on the previous year’s state test performance.
  • Through our work with The College Ready Promise (TCRP) we are part of a consortium of schools in California who all share best practices around teacher effectiveness.
  • Our blended learning work continues to gather momentum and we share the results and learning curves with foundations and other parties interested in this work.  We created our own Blended Learning Handbook.
  • Oakland Unified School District, which authorizes six Aspire schools, has partnered with us and the University of California, Berkeley to share practices on effective literacy instructionTeachers from the district’s schools have attended our literacy summer professional development and trained in our classrooms.  The University of California, Berkeley has supported Aspire in analyzing the effectiveness of different instructional practices.

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