On the day before the recent state math exams, I slipped into fourth-grade classes with some visitors at Brownsville Ascend Lower School. Our visitors might have expected to see teachers dryly reviewing practice…
Ascend CEO Steven Wilson explains that the network has “moved sharply away from a zero tolerance discipline approach,” believing that “a warm and supportive environment produces the greatest long-term social effects.”
Can a liberal arts education fused with a supportive culture equip students—in a way that has proved so difficult for other urban academic initiatives—with the knowledge, confidence, and character to thrive in college and beyond?
Many charter schools—responding to evidence that students’ college persistence is falling short of ambitions—are focusing more of their efforts on developing in their students the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in college and the professional world.
The launch of the Ascend network’s first high school was covered in an affecting three-part series by Sara Neufeld. The stories give voice to the goals and dreams of the founding principal, a founding teacher, and a student and his family.
This spring Ana Appel and Lincoln Campbell gained recognition for their curricular leadership from two national teacher organizations. Both Ana and Lincoln have been instrumental in bringing a liberal arts approach to math and science at Ascend.
We created the Humanities Program because we wanted our students to experience a more rigorous, interdisciplinary engagement with literature and the arts—and because we wanted them to fall in love with reading great books.