Habits of Success
Students are taught and held accountable for tracking their growth in 7 key Habits of Success which include: Goal Setting, Self-regulation, Collaboration, Self-awareness and Reflection, Perseverance, Curiosity, and Community Mindedness. These are key skills that schools often assume students will learn on their own. In ACE, we feel they are essential for students to learn while they are in high school to be better prepared for college or other post-graduate plans. They are also critical skills for functioning well in our 21st Century work world.
Students are split into small, multi-age advisories which meet twice a week. Advisory is a time for students to have one-on-one academic progress check-ins with their “advisors” (one of the four content teachers), do team-building activities with their peers, and have a “home-base” to talk through any issues of interest and concern from school or in their community. At the beginning of the school year, advisories have organized and taken a 1 night camping trip during which they learn and share responsibilities such as meal preparation, cooking, tent set-up, and campfire building.
ACE has recognized the importance of making digital literacy central to student learning to prepare them for the 21st Century work world. All students in ACE have a Chromebook and many of their assignments require them to use the BHS digital platform, Canvas, and/or Google applications to create and submit their work. This intentional approach to learning through technology and with teacher support is called Blended Learning. Since ACE teachers post curriculum and assignments on Canvas, students can access their learning at any time and move at their own pace. However, ACE classes are not online learning since the teacher still plays a critical role in providing some direct instruction and often providing quick and timely feedback via Canvas.
Rather than relying on traditional discipline measures, the ACE program coordinator tries to find a consequence that matches the nature of a student infraction and that helps repair the harm done. Research has shown that when students are given the opportunity to do a restorative justice project, they are unlikely to repeat the offense. For example, if a student misbehaved on a field trip, they would be asked to help organize the next field trip. This alternative discipline approach also allows the small ACE community to feel a sense of mutual accountability.
When a student is accepted into the ACE program, families are asked to sign an agreement to come into the school at least 3x a year for student led conferences and exhibitions on their child's progress in the program. In these student-led presentations, families hear directly from their son/daughter how they are doing in their classes - both their successes and their challenges. Students are also expected to talk about their progress on their Habits of Success by furnishing evidence to show progress in at least one "habit" while outlining a plan of action on a "habit" that they need to improve. In addition to their families, the ACE Program Coordinator, their ACE Advisor, and at least one peer will be present. All panelists are asked to fill out a feedback form for the student at the end of the presentation.
Student Leadership Team
Student voice is integral to how ACE runs. Any student who is interested in learning leadership skills can self-select to be on the ACE Student Leadership Team which meets weekly with the Program Coordinator. In these meetings, student leaders do everything from giving feedback on program policies and/or proposing new ones; to planning student-facilitated discussions in advisory; to raising concerns by their peers; to organizing and co-leading whole program field trips. Student organized field trips have included: skiing, ropes course, trampoline park, and pottery painting. Seniors also fundraise money every year to take a two day senior trip.