Four school restructuring organizations combined their collective experience to develop and implement the ATLAS Communities design for K-12 school districts. (ATLAS stands for Authentic Teaching, Learning, and Assessment for All Students.) In this program, students collaborate with their teachers and each other to investigate real-world topics and solve real-world problems. They demonstrate their understanding by applying what they have learned to new and challenging situations. One high school and the schools that feed into it form an academic community that works together to set standards and establish guidelines for coherent teaching, learning, and assessment. All teachers teach and assess a set of "essential skills," including not only basic skills such as reading and writing but also complex thinking skills. Community members work, study, and participate in the life of the school.
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