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Inside Amistad - Reach
Amistad Academy Students

Many of Amistad Academy's students enter the school doing work two to three years below grade level, and without much interest in academics. Central to the school's mission is integrating these students into a school culture defined not only by academic excellence, but also by organizational skills and responsible, engaged citizenship — thus teaching them the kinds of positive attitudes and behaviors that will serve as tools for future success.

Amistad has approached this challenge by building a highly structured, standards-based academic and social environment, centered on a set of core values known as REACH. These values — Respect, Enthusiasm, Achievement, Citizenship, and Hard Work — are used as more than just a code of conduct. Rather, they're at the heart of school life. If Amistad's success depends upon raising students' expectations of themselves, the REACH rubric is the tool by which the expectations are raised.

These values are more than just a code of conduct…they are the heart of school life.

Students sign a contract pledging to uphold these values, which are incorporated into and reinforced through a wide range of activities throughout the school day. On a monthly basis students are expected to evaluate themselves and set goals for the months ahead. The values themselves range from common sense ("...I say please and thank you") to the specific rules that govern activities at Amistad ("I participate appropriately with positive energy in Morning Circle"). Taken together, they provide a structured framework for both academics and student citizenship.

For students who may be entering Amistad with histories of behavior difficulties, the consistent, clearly defined REACH values can be an effective tool in helping them understand — and change — their behavior. School discipline is based on adherence to the REACH values, reinforced with public recognition of students who've clearly made progress, and public apologies from those who've broken the rules.

As Dean of Students Jose Peralta puts it, "...it's all about routines. Setting standards, setting expectations. This is what we want from you, this is why we want it from you, and having that sense of buy-in from the students."

View Amistad's monthly REACH evaluation form.
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Students and Parents discuss the impact of REACH

Students and parents discuss the impact of REACH


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