ABOUT AF GREENFIELD SCHOOLS
What is Greenfield?
Greenfield is a new school model designed to help develop the best prepared students in the world. Achievement First’s Greenfield schools will provide rigorous, high-quality instruction within a nurturing school community focused on developing self-motivated learners, problem-solvers and leaders. Students will benefit from more small group learning, greater access to technology, deep and meaningful enrichment opportunities (such as music, martial arts & STEM inventions), and extended field trips that allow students to go deeper in an area of interest and experience hands-on learning in more authentic and engaging ways.
At Achievement First, we have made a commitment to take on the challenge of innovating. While most other fields invest between 5 percent and 15 percent of their budgets in research and development – in building new models for the future – public education invests less than 0.2 percent. This is not because education leaders don’t want to invest in innovation; rather, it is because the day-to-day reality of running urban schools and school systems makes it very challenging to create the capacity to do so. Our Greenfield project was created to tackle this challenge, to develop a school design that has the potential to completely close vexing achievement gaps and more intentionally cultivate the essential, non-academic habits, experiences, and enrichment areas that our students need to be successful in college and life. We called the project “Greenfield” because we wanted everyone to imagine an open field with no structure built on it. If you could build any school, what would you build?
To Best Prepare Our Students, We Aim to Achieve Four Outcomes
Our Design is Anchored by a Combination of Three Guiding Principles
We believe the unique combination of these three anchors is a powerful space for innovation. When visiting the most innovative and effective schools across the country, we found great examples of schools that did one or two of the three anchors well, but were hard pressed to find a school that did all three exceptionally well. Therefore, the Greenfield schools will sit at the intersection of these three anchors, demonstrating a model that simultaneously holds accelerated expectations for all areas of learning while enabling a strong sense of student ownership, combined with a sense of community and belonging that will help students attain excellence in college and beyond.
Highlights of the Student Experience
Every eight weeks, the regular school schedule will pause, and students will take two weeks for Expeditions that will engage them in more experiential learning inside and outside the school walls.
By spending dedicated time going deep on real-world topics, students have an opportunity to extend and apply their knowledge and skills, expand their repertoire of word and world knowledge, and gain access to a robust set of life opportunities that will fuel their passion. These experiences can extend beyond typical curricula, and always deepen academic learning, culminating in show-off moments like hack-a-thons, competitions, or other performances.
These Expeditions, often conducted in partnership with carefully selected external partners, will offer deep community building experiences for students, staff and parents—reinforcing their shared purpose and commitment to one another. While some school staff may desire to lead expeditions on a rotating basis, the expeditions are largely driven by network-level staff. This makes far more professional development and preparation time for school staff possible, lengthens the school year for students without adding onto the school year for staff, and allows for the network to develop in-house and community partner expedition experts that then run high-quality expeditions in rotation for different schools.