The traditional school model of attending a set of required courses with pre-arranged electives has not provided scholars with connections to real world application and realistic career options. AMA shatters the stereotypical secondary education by engaging scholars in new ways that promote 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical-thinking and creativity with choice based upon genuine scholar interest. Scholars will have selections that include the structure of their day, the projects utilized to demonstrate proficiency and how they prefer to interact in their communities (e.g., internships).
The following narration is based on a typical day for ninth grade scholar named Mary on a Monday morning.
(All Advisory teachers hold a Community Circle (class meeting) as this is their homeroom and to immediately engage the scholars and determine their emotional state – this may trigger a Health and Wellness Center
As Mary and her classmate Tiffany enter their first period Advisory class, her Advisory teacher Mr. Jackson greets them. The scholars recite their daily PLAIT characteristic and are provided with their motivational thought and positive reinforcement for the day. Mr. Jackson takes attendance and makes important announcements. Scholars who are scheduled for the day for a one-on-one advisory meeting with Mr. Jackson discuss their goals for the week while other scholars are engaged in PBL planning or blended learning activities. During the last 10 minutes of Advisory period, the class engages in their daily Community Circle (class meeting).
English Language Arts (Day A)
Physical Activity (Day B)
by grade level reading and her 8th grade teacher told her she was only about a year behind and would catch up with her continued practice. She is in her Designated ELD class with Mrs. Martinez, the English Learner Specialist Teacher, who is helping her with understanding Cyrano de Bergerac while they work on vocabulary, grammar and syntax, especially academic content language. Mary has noticed that she is understanding more in her other classes and is eager to share this with Mrs. Martinez.
Mary catches up with her peers at lunch and they make their way to the Health and Wellness Center for physical activity. They just started their unit on rhythm and dance, which should be easy as Mary is involved in Balletfolklorio
Mary goes to the multi-purpose room to get a piece of fruit and string cheese. Her mother didn’t have money for groceries this week, so Mary skipped breakfast, but knew that there would be something to eat at Nutrition
Algebra 1 (Day A)
Ethnic Studies (Day B)
Mary heads into her Algebra 1 class, she is eager to engage in a project based learning group activity in which she and her classmates must use algebraic concepts to determine the best location for their hypothetical business and present their findings regarding locations that will best address company needs.
As Mary and her friend Joree enter their Ethnic Studies class, the hear the beautiful sounds of music from the Harlem Renaissance era. Their teacher, Mr. Rich, shows them images of important innovators of the Harlem Renaissance and Mary and her classmates are tasked with describing the contributions of each figure and how they resonate with the era as Academy of Media Arts scholars. Before the end of the class period, Mr. Rich presents a special guest (Latin musician) to speak with the class.
Mary is particularly excited about Lunch today because a local Latin musician, who spoke to the Ethnic Studies class will be playing his guitar and then mingling with the scholars. She hopes to ask him for any ideas he has on how to incorporate a Latin twist into her ideas for her groups PBL product. She also wants to ask him to be one of the audience members at the exhibition to provide industry feedback.
Introduction to Media Arts (Day A)
Biology (Day B)
Mary quickly makes her way to the Media Arts Studio where she will begin by practicing her instrument (as are others) for the first 20 minutes, while the other half of the class is on the recording studio side. She is working on composing the music that is part of the PBL project, so she will team up with Marco, Elsa and James, who are also practicing on piano and drums. After working together on their music, they go over to the recording studio to spend the final 30 minutes learning how to record the composed music.
As Mary walks into her Biology class, she is greeted by Mr. Amir. Today’s lesson is on the star life cycle so Mary and her classmates will explore this concept by looking through Google goggles to view the star life cycle as Mr. Amir circulates the classroom as scholars are viewing and discussing
Innovation Lab (Day A and B)
To complete the day, Mary is able to reflect on all the things she has learned in the various disciplines and bring them all together to build her dreams in developing her business plan as to how she will revolutionize the industry in her career pathway.
AMA’s schedule allows scholars to engage deeply and creatively with the academic instruction, as well as their New Media Arts Instruction through a realworld learning design framework
Monday-Thursday, scholars at Academy of Media Arts will have a A/B Block Schedule and begin their school day at 9:00 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. We will use a flex schedule that will engage scholars for 385 minutes on regular schedule days, 320 minutes on late start (early dismissal) PD days and 215 minutes on minimum day schedule.
On Fridays, teachers will participate in professional development before the school day begins. Professional development will occur from 8:15AM-10:15AM and will include activities and topics such as Culturally Responsive Teaching, Restorative Justice Practices, Common Core State Standards (ELA/ELD, Math, etc.) and Next Generation Science Standards, Career Technical Education and New Media Arts, Project-Based Learning – Buck Institute’s Gold Standard, Multiple Tier System of Supports, etc. Scholars will arrive at 10:30AM (late start arrival).
On “Flex Friday” scholars will engage in Flex Choice Blocks to allow time for scholars to engage in PBL for an extended time period and opportunities to gain additional study in core subject areas. AMA has chosen to use this nontraditional flex schedule to allow teachers and scholars to develop stronger interpersonal relationships, as they get to know and learn the needs of each person. The extended time also increases the interaction time between teacher/ scholar and scholars to scholars. This is critical for collaboration activities like PBL.
Flex scheduling also increases instructional time, for better teaching and learning, and lightens the load of classes, quizzes, and homework assignments in a given day, for scholars. This schedule allows for block periods on Fridays which research has found helps scholars with understanding and retaining material, reduces transitions between classes, allows more courses per year, and achievement levels have increased.