Quest is a 5-day project and inquiry-based program. We use authentic resources to assist in learning with hands-on models, activities, manipulatives, technology. Quest is not a textbook based program and relies upon the trained teachers’ development of curriculum-based upon student needs that coincide with the state standards.
To Personalize learning for every student by interest and need using consistent assessment, collaborative planning, student self-reflection upon data, and individualized practices to ensure each student’s highest level of engagement and success.
Community Engagement, Rigor, Emotional Safety, and a Culture of Praise
I CAN be Safe, I CAN be Responsible, I CAN be Respectful, and I CAN Commit to Excellence.
How is Quest Different?
Traditional schools are teacher-centered, with the teacher focused on giving out information about “what is known.” Students are the receivers of information, and the teacher is the dispenser. Much of the assessment of the learner is focused on the importance of “one right answer.” Traditional schooling is more concerned with preparation for the next grade level and in-school success than with helping a student learn to learn throughout life.
River Springs Charter School’s Quest Academy takes a different approach, one focused on using and learning content as a means to develop information-processing and problem-solving skills. Our program is student-centered, with our teachers’ role to facilitate the learning for each student. Quest students are ENGAGED in the learning process. We engage students by involving them in their own personal academic goal setting, in their school community’s leadership, as well as through active involvement in fun, hands-on projects. Quest students develop “habits of mind,” a disciplined way of thinking about new ideas. Habits of mind can be thought of as the “ground rules” for a particular discipline and include, but are not limited to, verification and respect for data in science, the importance of beauty and desirability in art, and the role of imagery and theme in literature.
We personalize learning by:
- Getting to know the students and provide choices that will appeal to their interests
- Providing personal learning experiences that peak interest and generate excitement about learning.
- Setting individual goals that are attainable for each student to find success and monitor progress.
- Knowing that all students are not the same
- Understanding the human need for control of one’s learning and goal setting.
- Offering assignments based upon choice, strengths, interest, and level of dependence.
- Using different types of assessments to determine student levels.
A teacher can list objectives and let the students know what is expected all day long, but if the student is not invested in the lessons, learning will not occur. When students set their own goals, either personal or academic, they are taking an active part in their education. Having a goal makes the actual learning matter more than just getting the final grade.
At Quest, the community- both at school and beyond the school campus- is our classroom. Students learn from more than just their teachers- they learn from their parents, peers, community mentors and most importantly, from their own independent efforts and reflections.
A Day at Quest Academy
Students come to school in uniform wearing grade level designated color polo and uniform pants. Community meetings occur each morning and are often planned and led by students. Students learn early on that active participation within our community is key to learning. We work together across grade levels to create a safe, responsible, respectful learning environment. We have consistent student expectations across the campus. The Quest students and staff work together to make sure that everyone feels as though they belong!
Some portion of the day may be devoted to charitable community endeavors – Each year, Quest students select a charitable organization to support through a variety of fund-raising efforts. Also, students spend several weeks each year preparing for student-led conferences. Twice per semester, students meet with their teacher and their parent to share their educational goals and examples of their work (portfolio). The students analyze their strengths and weaknesses and reflect upon their successes and make plans for their next steps.
Time is allotted daily for students to work on their individual personalized learning maps. Personalized learning “I Can” goals are identified with each child after an initial assessment. Children are given a student-friendly map to track progress. All students spend a significant portion of each day practicing these goals. Using their personalized learning map, it’s possible for children to make much more than a year’s growth in each school year.
Project-based Learning (PBL) activities happen throughout the week. Students work individually, in pairs, and in small groups to discover solutions to a variety of real-world problems and to create substantial high-quality learning projects. Topics are integrated and meaningful to students.
The community is our classroom: we invite parents to participate, guest speakers visit our school, field trips are scheduled for every grade level, and after-school clubs offer several options. After school students participate in many different options from after-school tutoring, spirit squad, ASB, Robotics, Affirmation club, Art, drama, sports, and dances.