We believe as the Asians do, that "the slow bird must get up earlier in the morning," or that achievement is more a matter of effort and support than inborn gift. Bright Ideas teachers believe that all children have the right to learn and that all children can achieve at much higher levels than is commonly believed.
We believe that the school should be structured to support authentic learning for the students and the teachers. We teach for deep understanding and the development of higher level thinking. We believe that students must have clear standards and clear criteria for achieving those standards, linked to continuous feedback on how their work is approaching those standards. Students need support in reaching those standards, and to be celebrated when they do reach those standards. Students need a close personal relationship with at least one teacher, not only to ensure engaging learning, but to instill high moral values. We believe that time is a variable, effort is a variable, but that achievement need not be a variable. An environment that supports high achievement and the belief that each student can achieve at this level must be supported throughout the school and in the home.
Our philosophy is supported by Linda Darling-Hammond's book, The Right to Learn, which is quoted below. Our teachers believe in "the importance of the flexibility to teach adaptively, the importance of relationships with students for knowing them well and motivating them, and the critical need to focus on learning rather than on the implementation of procedures." We think that high achievement is supported by "common curriculum experiences and high expectations for all students (that is, course offerings are narrow and tracking is minimized, therefore students take similar courses with strong academic content), an emphasis on active learning and authentic instruction, and forms of organization that allow teachers to work together and take collective responsibility for students."
We believe further that "incentives and structures that take account of students' needs to be cared for and to participate in shaping their own work are as important as those that take account of teachers' needs for knowledge, information, and authority in managing their work. In applying the ideas of high-involvement, high-performance organizations to schools, it is most productive to think of students and teachers as coworkers, undertaking the task of creating ambitious teaching and powerful learning"(Darling-Hammond 1997).