ASI in brief

Teaching and Learning

Our pedagogical philosophy is that teaching and learning is best when students are put at the center of instruction. ASI teachers employee student-centered learning by creating learning experiences, instructional approaches, and academic-support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning needs, interests, aspirations, or cultural backgrounds of students in ASI.  ASI teachers facilitate student-centered learning by creating a student centered classroom environment that is built on developing student autonomy and eliminating traditional teacher-centered practices. Teachers create student-centered classrooms by creating opportunities for collaboration, project-based learning, technology integration, and plenty of conversation between students and teachers about learning.

The ASI community strongly believes in the concept and practice of having a growth-mind set toward life-long learning.  To that end, ASI takes the professional development and appraisal of its teachers seriously. 

Professional Learning

In addition to rich professional partnerships, teachers undertake work on what are called, “Professional Learning Teams” where likeminded colleagues form action research teams to investigate a problem of practice or pedagogical strategies by first exploring theoretical frameworks, applying the theories into practice, and then discussing implications for future application. For instance, many teachers joined the Harvard Project Zero initiative and undertook coursework through the program. 

Professional Growth Partnerships

In addition to rich professional development opportunities, ASI has developed an initiative called the "Professional Growth Partnership" that grounds our faculty with a framework and language to discuss the elements of teaching and learning.  Based on the Marzano model, the framework focuses on 4 Domains: (a) Classroom strategies and behaviors; (b) Planning and Preparing; (c) Reflecting on Teaching; and (4) Collegiality and Professionalism. All teachers have access to a professional growth partner (PGP).  The assigning of the partner depends on the level of the teacher, and partners range from administrators, department chairs, or peer teachers.  All teachers have a bi-weekly informal observation that they receive feedback on in terms of student learning and behaviors, aligned to the first 2 domains. At the start of each academic year, all teachers set 3 professional goals for the year, which range from student achievement and development, professional development, or special teacher-led initiatives.  Further, teachers have 1-2 formal observations per year and the culminating feedback occurs in April-May, where teachers are given an appraisal score (see attached PGP handbook) that measures their progress, growth, and areas development on the 4 domains.  This tool is used to help teachers think and connect more deeply with pedagogy and instructional strategies and identify their areas of further development.