The Seven Principles

Research-based. Effective. Sustainable.

With a proven track record of results, the ISA Model is a proudly included in the US Dept. of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse. ISA’s seven research-based principles provide the foundation for each school’s customized implementation of the ISA model. ISA collaborates with schools 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 StudyingBeginning in the ninth grade, ISA schools encourage students to view themselves as future college students, and throughout their years in high school continuously prepare them for admission to, and success in, college. ISA’s college-preparatory instructional program focuses on intellectual, social, and emotional development, and provides all students with a rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum and instruction aligned with state standards. Coupled with the emphasis on intellectual rigor, ISA’s preparation for post-secondary education includes individual student counseling, visits to college campuses, support for completing college applications, preparation for college admissions exams, guidance on scholarships and financial aid, and parent information, ISA schools offer students opportunities to enroll in courses at local colleges as well as participate in internships and community service. ISA’s relationships with college admissions officers increase students’ access to college.
  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 ISA fosters a professional learning community that emphasizes collaboration to help schools develop standards of professional practice, build capacity, and establish a sense of collective responsibility for student achievement. ISA provides regularly scheduled school, leadership and content coaching to school leaders, teachers and counselors. Staff benefits from the ISA Summer and Winter Institutes; Principals have access to the ISA Leadership Network; and Counselors participate in the Counselors Network. These opportunities to learn and collaborate create a strong support network of schools and educational leaders across the country.

Building Relationships & Personalization

  1. Distributed CounselingTM – In ISA schools, all faculty take responsibility for the academic, social and emotional development of students. All students have an adult advocate/advisor who knows them well and acts as a support and mentor. Students take a proactive role in activities such as peer mediation and conflict resolution. The focus on community fosters a caring, safe, and supportive environment for faculty and students alike.
  2. Dedicated Team of Teachers and CounselorsA school coach helps school leaders develop strong programsStrong, long-term relationships among students, teachers, and counselors contribute to high levels of student performance. ISA students work with a consistent team of teachers and a counselor throughout their four years of high school. This structure personalizes the school environment and provides a support network to ensure every student is achieving his or her goals.
  3. Parent Involvement – ISA promotes parental engagement in school activities, the open exchange of information between parents, teachers and counselors, and parental feedback regarding their children’s experience and progress. Teachers and faculty keep parents informed of student performance and together they work to provide a strong support system.

Continuous Improvement

  1. Continuous Organizational Improvement – 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, and reviews of teacher assignments and corresponding student work, and student performance data.

ISA's Guide to Whole School Reform