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Teaching at Ascend

We recently sat down with the team from Ascend Public Charter Schools to ask them what's so great about teaching at Ascend. Here's the Top 5 reasons, in their own words:

1. We believe in a rich, rigorous approach to curriculum and instruction focused on critical thinking, curiosity, education for education's sake, and building the foundation for getting kids ready to succeed in college and beyond. 

2. Our warm, joyful and collaborative school culture. There's a different feeling walking into an Ascend school. Kids are not walking silently in the halls and teachers aren't standing in front of the classroom without engaging students in a meaningful way. Our classroom management practices put the onus on kids to engage with each other, focus on academic language and making the classroom a joyful environment. Our culture is not just an important part of driving academic gains - it is an important part of what attracts our teachers and leaders!

3. We invest in our teachers and leaders and give them the opportunity to grow. Teaching at Ascend is hard work and we want our staff to feel prepared, knowledgeable about content, and know the best ways to teach it. Common planning time, deep dives into student data, and lesson planning with deans of instruction multiple times per week are at the core of what it means to work at Ascend. We offer teachers the chance to increase content knowledge through our Teacher Planning & Development Initiative (TPD), which was originally designed to skill teachers up rapidly, with respect to Common Core, in a way that's close to the classroom. We've invested a lot of time and energy to help teachers grow and set them up for success - and we want our teachers to stay and grow with us! 

4. Our students and their families are invested. You can talk to any teacher or leader at our network and hear a lot of wonderful stories about how engaged our families are. Most of our schools have robust family associations that get families deeply involved with our schools, and our teachers and leaders meet families where they are. Everyone knows how high the stakes are and we offer something unique for families in educating their students. 

5. The proof is in the pudding. We have reversed the achievement gap in race in the last year. Ascend students have grown 33% on state exams in math and ELA over the last 3 years, and have surpassed district peers on state exams in almost every grade, subject, in school—in many cases by more than 30 percentage points. Ascend is starting to lead the pack and become a proof point of high performing charter networks across the city and state.