Detroit sewer cover

The Promise Way

Our strategy to dramatically improve the levels of academic performance at the schools we are selected to manage is based on the following approaches that we have developed and tested in the schools we have founded and led in Detroit and Chicago over the past thirteen years. We will:

  1. Bring highly developed, codified, and tested systems for instruction, culture building, teacher recruitment, professional development, and parent engagement ready to be implemented on Day One. Every participant in the learning community must know exactly what is expected of them when school opens. Improvisation and tentativeness will result in early chaos and undermine the chances for a successful restart.
  2. Establish a relentless culture of college going expectation and academic achievement. Without this, none of our academic goals can be achieved.
  3. Implement a rigorous curriculum built around Michigan's Common Core and the ACT College Readiness Standards.
  4. Clearly define and enforce student behavior standards that are essential for creating an environment in which rigorous learning can take place. A tested system of rewards and demerits is employed.
  5. Build powerful relationships between each student and an adult in the school through the creation of Advisories. These groups of 20 students and a teacher remain together for multiple years. Advisory becomes the student's school family. Students and their families have 24 hour/7 days a week cell phone access to their advisors who commit to "doing whatever it takes" to ensure each of their advisees graduates 8th grade on a college-readiness path.
  6. Create systematic experiences for each student in the broader world of college and work. Visits to business, professional, and governmental settings as well as college campuses serve to provide relevance for classroom learning and college aspiration. You can't dream about what you've never seen.
  7. Provide extra time on task through longer days and a longer school year, especially when students enter with low literacy and numeracy skills.
  8. Use the regular school day to focus heavily on the basics of English, mathematics, science, and social studies, with reading and mathematics being double blocked.
  9. Invest an extraordinary amount of time up front in the teacher hiring process to identify individuals who are willing to make the personal commitment to support their students academically and emotionally.
  10. Reach out systematically and regularly to parents and guardians to ensure that they are informed about the child's progress and have a voice in his or her education.