Our Learning Environment

Co-Teaching Approach

Co-Teaching is defined as two teachers (Lead & Resident) who share the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. (Bacharach, Heck & Dank, 2004). The Lead Teacher (LT) has greater classroom experience (approx. 8 –10 yrs.) as well as expertise in both facilitating student learning and mentoring fellow teachers. The Resident Teacher (RT) is also a licensed teacher with classroom experience (approx. 1-3 yrs.), bringing an additional set of skills, strategies, and passions to support student growth. The goal is that these two teachers work in tandem to manage the entire classroom ecosystem, as well as mentor and support one another. 

At New School SF, we believe in the co-teaching model and understand its importance not only for differentiating and meeting all student needs, but also bringing out the best in teachers!

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is a key pillar of our school’s philosophy, and it begins with knowing each individual child.  We will get to know each student’s strengths and areas for growth, as well as his or her interests, passions and ambitions. Each child will keep an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP), which will track individual goals, achievements, progress, challenges, and interests. It is also where teachers will document individual feedback and reflection to help students grow and learn over time. This ILP will also be a place for students to document their personal growth and identity development over time. Each student will keep a journal in their ILP to capture reflections, thoughts and ideas that will undoubtedly grow and change over many years.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) 

In attending to the whole child, The New School of San Francisco will incorporate social emotional development into all aspects of teaching and programming. We view social emotional learning (SEL) as the process of identifying and applying skills to know oneself, setting and working towards goals, empathizing, building positive relationships, engaging in conversations about diversity and inclusiveness, and making responsible decisions.

SEL is a focus at every grade level and a primary component of teacher development. We recognize that social emotional learning cannot be taught and exercised in bursts, but must be demonstrated and practiced continuously. The majority of explicit SEL instruction will take place through activities, individual and group conversations, and verbal transparency in Pod Time; however, SEL is also a mindset that all staff will be committed to modeling in every interaction: in the classroom, amongst staff, and in family and community relationships.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has created a framework that will be useful for the New School of San Francisco to build a common language around SEL guiding principles. Because SEL is unique to each child, these core competencies can be used by teachers to build their own SEL rubrics, to know what to look for in observation and narrative documentation about students’ personal growth, and to evaluate school wide SEL programs and evaluation methods.

Social and Emotional Learning Core Competencies:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship skills
  • Responsible decision-making

Restorative Practices 

A high priority for our first year of the New School of San Francisco will be to build a strong school community, one of our core values. A robust, authentic community is essential in creating an emotionally and physically safe environment where learning can flourish. To that end, we will be implementing Restorative Practices: tools and vocabulary that staff, students and families can use to build and repair relationships. From our SEL perspective, Restorative Practices play a key role in establishing common language and strategies that aid in the growth of our students social-emotional core competencies.

Inclusion Model

Inclusion is essential to the culture of the New School SF.  Our school community is proud to embrace a variety of learning styles and outcomes based on an individual’s strengths. It is our mission to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. Our educators have a shared sense of responsibility for the success of all students.  To this end, educators meet students where they are at so that everyone has access to the learning environment. Inclusion fosters not only a physical presence but also meaningful participation in one’s education. We collaborate with families because they are an essential part of their child’s education. We provide a continuum of services with individualized supports. These supports and services are provided in a tiered system where students receive the accommodations and modifications needed to access and learn in the classroom, alongside their peers.