The Seven Principles

Research-based. Effective. Sustainable.

With a proven track record of results, the ISA model has been independently validated by external evaluators and verified as having a positive impact on student achievement. Notably, ISA’s whole school reform approach is included in the federal What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). ISA also meets the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Tier 2 threshold for evidence-based interventions. ISA’s seven research-based principles provide the foundation for each school’s customized engagement with ISA. ISA collaborates with schools and districts to create customized comprehensive plans and implementation strategies designed to meet their needs and to achieve and sustain success. Comprehensive planning and implementation strategies focus on three areas:

College Prep Teaching & Learning

  1. College Preparatory Instructional ProgramStudents StudyingISA partners with schools and their communities to honor and extend the investment made in their students. ISA team members and coaches work in collaboration with principals and teachers to enhance the learning opportunities so that student belonging, agency, and academic achievement through inquiry are more intentionally cultivated throughout the school. ISA’s approach to college and career preparatory instruction supports students as they prepare for and navigate the postsecondary spaces that they choose.
  2. Extended School Day and School Year– Because learning continues beyond the traditional school day and year, our extended timeframe provides additional opportunities for effective skill and talent development. Faculty are able to provide more structured time and individual attention, while students have the opportunity they need to get assistance with homework, test preparation, internships, and community service projects.
  3. Continuous Professional DevelopmentTeachers work in small groups on effective ways to collect evidence in student growth Teaching and learning are wonderfully complex and beautifully human experiences carried out in an ever evolving society. In response to the needs of students, teachers, and administrators, ISA’s professional development provides teachers and administrators a range of experiences to dig into what’s happening at the instructional and relationship level in their schools. In the course of our professional development (PD) experiences, participants engage with current exemplary practices as well as create ways to interrupt inequities that exist within the school community.

Building Relationships & Personalization

  1. Distributed CounselingTM – It’s within relationships where we’re cared for and experience belonging that we grow toward our potential. Thus, it is essential that schools are places where relationships flourish. Distributed Counseling is how we characterize those supportive relationships with staff members who act as advocates/mentors and work to create spaces for students to expand their agency. We partner with schools to build the capacity of adults, teams, and structures so that students are connected and belong to the school community and are equipped to take active roles in shaping and influencing their current schooling experiences.
  2. Dedicated Team of Teachers and CounselorsA school coach helps school leaders develop strong programsThe complexity of the task of educating requires the work of teams. ISA partners with schools to cultivate teams that emphasize relational connections, collaboration, creativity, and a collective sense of responsibility for student achievement and well-being. As the capacity of the adults and teams grow, everyone reaps the benefits, especially the students. Along the way in the work of capacity building, biases are worked through in order to be the people who recreate structures and problematize inequities that hamper schools and prevent students from reaching their potential. Schools that have robust effective teams of teachers have lower staff turnover and higher student performance.
  3. Parent/Caregiver Involvement -ISA recognizes that there are deeply entrenched systems and structures in and out of schools in the United States that suppress or deprive student support networks from providing what they desire to provide their students. We believe, and research agrees, every parent or caregiver wants academic success along with access to future opportunities that a robust education can afford their students. We enter our partnerships with this mindset to support spaces for parents, caregivers, and the community to team with teachers, administrators, and their students to work toward success in students’ current stage of life and to prepare for the next stage.

Continuous Improvement

  1. Continuous Organizational Improvement – Change, or the need for it, is one of the sure things in the life of a school that represents opportunities for growth—students graduate, course offerings shift, curricula evolve, educational policies are rewritten, personal circumstances change, loss is experienced, and students’ needs are dynamic throughout. In order to respond, or anticipate, or reflect on the ways in which a school can grow to be more humane and equitable, a continuous organizational improvement stance will be beneficial. ISA teams meet regularly to ensure that students are progressing academically, socially, and emotionally. Schools use a variety of strategies to assess their organizational and program effectiveness, including critical friends processes, peer observations, reviews of teacher assignments and corresponding student work, and student performance data.

ISA's Guide to Whole School Reform