ILA students receive an integrative education that prepares them to become self-actualized, life-long learners and leaders equipped to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world, and contribute to the progress of their community and society.
PEAK LEARNING THROUGH HIGH CHALLENGE, LOW STRESS Schooling
Maximum learning occurs in challenging learning environments that are also low stress and fun, and schools can create these learning environments daily and for all students. ILA students learn and practice how to self-regulate, become calm and alert, improve mental focus and achieve peak school performance.
FULL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INTEGRATIVE EDUCATION
Public schools should develop the whole person, including academic knowledge, knowledge of self, nature, community and the global environment. ILA students learn core academics subjects and visual and performing arts, global languages and social-emotional intelligence, modern technology skills and environmental education, organic nutrition and athletics, service and entrepreneurship. ILA schools recognize that healthy, holistic development is related to creating an environment that requires a combination and balance of different activities and learning perspectives.
Small schools with strong ecosystems of support
Students flourish in small schools where they are supported and known well, and ILA students learn in small classrooms where teaching and tutoring are tailored to their learning profiles and individual learning modalities. ILA students build durable, meaningful relationships with peers and adults through a multi-year advisory program that supports the social, emotional and academic well-being of each student from enrollment through graduation. Parents, family, community members, mentors, coaches and others all play an important role in a student’s development and participate continually in the ILA school community.
evidence-based teaching, learning and assessment
There is substantial research that concludes that learning happens best when students are given challenging and meaningful tasks set in real-world contexts, and that students achieve deeper subject mastery when they are assessed in authentic ways. ILA students engage in complex, interdisciplinary learning activities in all their courses and produce real-world products. For example, an ILA student might learn geometry by designing the blueprints for a house and constructing a scale version, or learn literary devices by writing and performing a play, or learn computer coding by creating and demoing a software application, or learn music by composing and performing a song. Every spring during Exhibition Week, the ILA community comes together to celebrate student work, and ILA students present exhibitions of their projects before a panel of teachers, peers, parents, and community members.
diverse by design
American schools function better when they are purposefully diverse ethnically and economically, and school communities can work daily to become microcosms of a socially just American society. ILA schools maintain a balanced school and student demographic with respect to economics, race, ethnicity, language, and social-emotional and educational needs, and practice non-violent conflict resolution and restorative justice to maintain a peaceful, productive and inclusive learning community.
a great place for teachers
Schools flourish where there is strong faculty voice, collaboration, and professional learning. ILA school faculty teach small classes, work in teaching teams to collaborate on instruction and assessment, and meet weekly as a whole staff to learn together, celebrate success, discuss school matters and participate in consensus decision-making. ILA schools are designed to support educators’ personal and professional well-being, family livelihood and sustained careers in education.
charter schools designed for the public good
Charter schools are a free public good that provide options for public schooling. ILA schools restore to the public domain the quality, rigorous and tailored education that students traditionally receive in private schools while maintaining a commitment to the inclusion of all students and all learning needs, and to a free public education.
ILA Schools teach students to develop the following habits of mind and heart; they are the core values and outcomes of an integrative education and the characteristics of an integrated, self-led and self-actualized human being.
The ILA Way: The ILA student practices integrity, kindness, discipline, justice and joyful learning.
What do all parents want for their children? Happiness. ILA Schools recognize that this is a fundamental end sought by every human being and support its fullest realization. Equanimity--a deep, durable experience of happiness--is a central characteristic of a healthy, well-adjusted person. ILA schools value and nurture the growth of this experience for students through our school design. This includes balancing a rigorous, disciplined academic atmosphere with a creative, fun learning process. It is a measure of success that ILA students and teachers look forward to coming to school every day.
Truth, honesty and a commitment to doing what is good and right are fundamental values of ILA students. In addition to developing critical and creative thinking, ILA schools place a priority on developing moral reasoning and a deep understanding of ethical behavior.
Research in developmental psychology has demonstrated that a safe, nurturing, and caring environment is key to the healthy emotional, cognitive, and social development of youth. As a result, ILA schools emphasize creating this kind of environment and honoring and the unique beauty and potential of each student. This value extends to acknowledging, supporting, and embracing the individuality of every ILA student as well as fostering the habits of compassion and service in all students.
ILA students learn how freedom comes with personal responsibility and that internal discipline supports growth and fulfillment. This includes culturing perseverance and building resilience, grit, focus, and a growth mindset, or students' belief in their ability to learn and grow through continuous effort. Research in neuropsychology has shown that the optimal learning environment for students combines high-challenge with low-threat or low stress. ILA schools emphasize this by creating engaging, joyful learning contexts with high expectations where students are safely challenged to take academic risks.
Global Citizenship and Social Justice
The World is My Family is a major theme of the ILA schools in our increasingly connected global society. ILA schools teach students to value the infinite diversity of cultures, languages, religions, and nations across the globe and at the same time to embrace the underlying common humanity in every person. This concept extends to the environment, and ILA schools place an emphasis on connecting regularly with nature as part of healthy development. The value of global citizenship emerges from systems theory that states that every individual is an interconnected, interdependent part of a broader global family system. As such, ILA schools teach and model the habits of empathy and compassion, teach students the communication and negotiation skills needed to stand up for themselves and others, and encourage students to not be a silent witness when injustice or unfairness is present.