Academic Life

CRA instills the skills for success in our global society: mastery of fundamental academic skills in addition to problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, initiative, effective communication, adaptability and evaluating information and imagination. We teach and live these values in our philosophy, governance, curriculum and operation.

“We believe there are specific skills and attitudes that make individuals and organizations successful in today’s world.”

  • Mastery of fundamental academic skills (reading, writing and mathematics) is the foundation of an effective education.
  • Proficiency at problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, written and oral communication and evaluation are essential skills for success.
  • Adaptability, initiative and imagination are habits of mind that are critical to success.
  • All professional members of the Community Roots Academy (“CRA”) learning community embrace and utilize these essential skills in their practices.
  • CRA’s deliberate curriculum and framework enable students in the CRA learning community to develop these skills and habits. CRA’s learning environment nurtures close relationships among students and school professionals through modeling, experiential learning and intentional connections to meaningful world experiences.

“We value individuals and their history.”

  • Teachers implement a multicultural curriculum through units of study that are designed to increase student awareness and appreciation of various world cultures.
  • CRA conducts regular Town Meetings where community members gather to learn about their similarities and differences through student work exhibitions and student-led presentations.
  • CRA students participate in and host exhibitions showing their work product and what they have learned with the school community and the general public.

Project-Based Curriculum

The CRA curriculum includes engaging learning experiences that involve students in complex real-world projects through which they develop and apply skills and knowledge. Project-based learning empowers students with the skills for success for today and tomorrow.

“We teach students problem-solving and critical thinking skills, essential attributes to success in the global marketplace.”

  •  Learning at CRA is based upon inquiry and guiding questions.
  • Challenging and relevant texts are integrated into all grade level curriculums.
  • Through modeling and instruction, students learn to respect and challenge intellectual ideas, to question responses and to form opinions in an environment free of judgment.
  • Students work in cooperative learning groups.
  • Through questioning, debate and expression, students examine their points of view, as well as the perspectives of others.
  • Students are exposed to a variety of cultures, races, religions, gender, health, political and other belief systems. Students learn to recognize and appreciate the differences and similarities between peoples.

“We believe in authentic instruction and assessment that is adaptable to meet the needs of all learners.”

  • Students’ academic and social growth is measured through portfolio review, informal teacher assessment and analysis of goal setting, in addition to mandated state testing.
  • Assessment modifications are made to meet the needs of any individuals with learning differences.
  • Assessment is an integral part of the learning process, providing a valuable tool for reflection and growth.

Community Partnership

Community partnership is integral to effective education. Strong communities foster positive development in students. The CRA community includes students, parents, administration, teachers, community-based organizations, universities and national and international educational institutions.

“We believe strong communities foster positive development for students.”

  • Teachers and school leaders maintain close relationships with students and their families.
  • CRA maintains its small size (under 300 students in Kindergarten-5 and in 6-8) to help ensure strong relationships among students and teachers.
  • Students maintain positive relationships with all adults working at or in conjunction with CRA through community open work and student advisory.
  • The school establishes and maintains partnerships with community-based organizations and educational institutions to integrate expertise and real world connections into our students’ learning experiences.
  • CRA is committed to parent communication and involvement that is achieved, in part, by:
    • establishing a parent/teacher organization;
    • maintaining a weekly parent communication detailing upcoming events, educator profiles and student work; and
    • keeping parents informed about curriculum and practices through electronic communications and through faculty-led workshops and programs for parents.
    • establishing a parent/teacher organization;

Model Learning Community

At CRA, all members of our professional community continually seek learning and growth opportunities. Faculty and staff participate in an extensive professional development program and also partner with colleagues to foster a challenging academic environment for all. Highly qualified and motivated teachers collaborate in decision-making and develop curriculum while guiding, supporting and evaluating students.

“We are a model learning community.”

  • CRA supports the professional development of teachers, administrators and school aides through weekly staff meetings, as well as workshops, retreats and learning institutes.
  • Teachers plan, create and implement curriculum to best meet the needs and interests of students while exceeding California content standards.
  • Teachers also meet to participate in cross-grade planning; teachers and schools leaders examine and continuously re-evaluate the scope and sequence of the curriculum.
  • Teachers and administrators work collaboratively on school governance and curriculum review.

“We hold students and staff to rigorous academic standards while developing social and emotional competence.”

  • Teachers design curriculum for social, emotional and academic competence, challenging students to work to their fullest potential.
  • Students, parents and teachers collaborate to create and work toward student goals.
  • Interdisciplinary instruction creates a framework where students can approach new and challenging content and real-life situations with confidence.
  • Students learn the skills of conflict resolution and participate in advisory groups to build social competency.

Environmental Stewardship

CRA curriculum, policies and practices are designed to promote environmental awareness and stewardship.

“We believe developing an appreciation and responsibility for the natural environment enhances education and individuals’ lives.”

  • Students develop an appreciation for the environment through curricular, projects, guided outdoor experiences and overnight trips.
  • CRA maintains a Green Team, consisting of teachers, administrators, students, parents and community partners to evaluate our environmental impact and help initiate changes that reduce our ecological footprint.
  • Students participate in on-going initiatives to promote conservation and reduce waste on campus.