PACT Charter School
Created: 5/9/02 Board approved
Partnering together as Parents, Students, and Teachers
Parents are primarily responsible for their children’s education. They model and encourage
responsibility and a love of learning. Their investment of their time and resources through
involvement at PACT shows that education is important. Parents are empowered to
influence the quality of their child’s education by participating in students’ studies, in
classrooms, on committees, and in school leadership roles; all in close cooperation with
teachers. This collaboration with students and teachers contributes to improved learning.
Students bring with them different backgrounds, learning styles and life experiences. They
also have different gifts, interests, and intelligences. Because of their youth and need to
mature, students need a community that will nurture and support them. Considering the
great task of becoming mature, responsible citizens, students need to grow in character,
knowledge, skills, and experience. It is important that students learn to respect themselves,
parents, teachers, other students, and other adults. They need to be organized, prepared, and
committed to quality work. They need to be committed to critical, creative thinking, and
effective communication. Of utmost importance is that students actively engage in their
learning, in cooperation with parents and teachers.
Teachers create a disciplined, respectful learning environment to make learning relevant
and enjoyable to students. Teachers share their love of learning with their students through
dynamic interactions in the classroom and the use of quality literature and materials. In
addition, teachers incorporating the effective use of parents and other volunteers in and out
of the classroom, provides a crucial component of our unique learning environment. Setting
realistic, clear expectations and expecting quality work from challenging assignments,
motivates students to take ownership of their own education. These high expectations
stimulate students to create a quality product and to develop a love of life long learning.
Teachers are not only authority figures to be respected, but also mentors to assist and to
advise students in their educational career.
Mission I : To prepare for college and life long learning through a combination of
rigorous core academics and innovative teaching methods.
Preparation for college is a process as well as a goal. Study and organization skills
are important to make one successful at learning. Study skills are taught at early ages. For
example, students are taught a method to write research papers in the early elementary years.
Students will be further challenged each year as study skills are taught incrementally so that
by graduation they will be fully equipped for college. Deliberate focus on effective study
skills will aid students as they mature, and will help them to accomplish their goals. It will
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enable them to efficiently use their time and energy, in hopes of gaining knowledge and
Higher levels of thinking can only occur on a solid foundation of basic knowledge.
Core academics are taught incrementally throughout the school experience to provide
students with a solid foundation. Our curriculum heavily emphasizes the basics: reading,
writing, social studies, science, and math. All curriculum is jointly approved, reviewed, and
scrutinized for rigor and valuable content by teachers and parents. Cross-curricular learning
is emphasized. For example, literature and spelling words may be chosen to enhance
learning and mastery of a topic currently under study in the science or social studies areas.
Music may be tied into regions or time eras. Our school chooses to call this “Unit Studies”
in the elementary grades. At the secondary grades, we continue this approach by providing a
rich and cohesive learning environment.
At the secondary level, independent study programs add unique opportunities for our
students to focus on areas that may truly interest them. Students design a project jointly with
teachers and/or parents. Teachers then mentor and supervise the student’s progress. This
educational opportunity helps the student to develop the ability to set and meet short and
long term deadlines, as well as work independently. This skill will be an asset in any
working environment and also prepares them for higher education. An independent study
course may also help them identify interests for further higher educational study. It would
indicate to higher educational institutions that a student has truly expressed a sincere interest
in a specific area of study and displayed an aptitude in this area.
For PACT, utilizing innovative teaching methods is a keystone of our program.
Innovative methods mean incorporating recent research and developing new strategies and
techniques to meet student and family needs and to benefit our community (i.e., In order to
uphold family unity and involvement, all students at the elementary level generally1 study
the same subject area at the same time). Our school’s size allows us to use classrooms as
“laboratories” to practice and develop effective and innovative methods of teaching. We
advocate multi-grade grouping to promote social interaction between students of different
ages. Multi-grade grouping also allows for ability grouping of gifted and special needs
students, thus allowing students to be challenged at their own level. PACT innovatively
teaches through multi-sensory learning across all curricular areas. Research shows that
students retain a higher percent of learned material if the material is presented in a multi-
sensory method. Our school strives to recognize and teach students at their own ability
levels. We continue to utilize innovative teaching methods and to meet individual student
needs at the secondary level by providing honors courses with tiered higher level thinking
skill assignments within the regular classroom setting.
Innovative teaching methods and assessments are an integral part of learning at
PACT. We teach to multiple learning styles through creative hands on projects, small group
activities, family events, symposiums, theme based reenactments, presentations and lectures.
It is our goal through a variety of methods to reach multiple intelligence's thereby meeting
the needs of each student. This makes learning exciting for all students.
Students generally study the same subjects but there are differences according to ability levels.
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The use of innovative teaching methods, requires innovative assessment approaches.
Assessment of a student’s progress should ideally be evaluated using multiple intelligences
and not only using conventional testing methods. At PACT, we strive to assess students in a
number of ways. Assessment tools may include class presentations, posters about learned
material, dioramas, special student display nights, and project fairs as well as tests and term
papers. Also, assessments required by the state and our charter sponsor are given regularly.
We strive to use these standardized testing requirements to evaluate our curriculum and
Innovative teaching methods also include reaching outside of the classroom to
incorporate projects and learning avenues through which a concept is ingrained in the
student. The class may take a tough subject and work through it together, to develop
critical thinking skills. Our school strives to look beyond our walls for educational
resources and utilize outside facilities and resources when possible. By using community
experts, knowledgeable parents, talented communicators, interested elderly, and creative
demonstrators, students experience new ways of learning and see that learning never ends.
The possibilities are endless and only limited by our imagination and the resources we can
The conventional lecture teaching method should be used strategically. Lecture
should be incorporated to train students to be attentive and to refine their skill for taking
notes as part of our college prep focus. Lectures should be enhanced by multi-sensory
examples as well as reinforcement activities that proceed after the lecture. Teachers know
that all students cannot be reached through the normal lecture and note taking venue.
Research shows that lectured material is not retained without application. Application may
include activities based on multiple intelligences, hands on learning activities, and critical
Preparation for college requires training in critical thinking at the secondary level.
Critical thinking skills should be incorporated throughout the class and especially in the
honors courses. Critical thinking is very important at PACT. It is imperative that students
not only learn facts, but also learn the reasoning and theories behind these facts. Students
will be given the opportunities to answer questions that may not always have concrete
answers. We will not challenge a student’s values, but we will challenge students to perform
research and evaluate evidence to reach a conclusion. This is done in order to create a
secure, mature adult who knows not only what they believe, but also why they believe it.
Colleges look favorably at students who have had opportunities for school
involvement and community service. A student at PACT is given many opportunities for
leadership, involvement, and service. Some opportunities may occur within and outside the
PACT community. A small school requires proportionally more students to step forward for
leadership. For students who would normally not step into leadership roles, we provide other
experiences that would promote and teach leadership skills. Leadership experiences
naturally occur when older students are paired with younger students for projects,
symposiums, or regular day-to-day activities. This is done with well-planned curriculum
and constructive coaching by teachers and parents. In all of these instances, when students
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step outside their comfort zones, with the support of parents and teachers, their character can
be stretched, challenged, and honed. Success in these experiences helps build student
confidence. Combining PACT School’s solid foundation of academics, with a rich
stimulating educational atmosphere, will prepare our students for college and for life long
Mission II: To promote strong moral values thereby developing considerate,
responsible citizens who contribute to society.
Strong moral character breeds responsible people that are an asset to society. Martin Luther
King Jr. said, “ Intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of
education.” An important part of our children’s education is to learn what is right, what is
wrong, how to live and what to love. President George W. Bush stated in his True Goal of
Education Speech in November 1999, “ Children take the values of the adult world seriously
when adults take those values seriously.”
Family is the first “school” where students learn manners and morals. PACT school
recognizes that parents are the first and foremost teacher of moral values. Parents should
expect schools to be allies in the moral education of the children. The lessons of the home
must be reinforced by the standards of the school and vice versa- standards of safety,
discipline and decency.
Schools, along with the home create a community. Together they create a place for parents,
teachers, and staff to engage in modeling, teaching, and discussing appropriate, acceptable
behavior on a daily basis. Students and adults are expected to demonstrate character
attitudes of cooperation, responsibility, self-restraint, courage, respect, patience, family
commitment, and civic duty. PACT students are instructed and motivated by the school
community to be attentive, responsible, determined, inquisitive, orderly and show initiative
in their work habits. These character traits will lead to the ability to make wise, informed
decisions, and create an atmosphere that is safe and nurturing for all participants. At PACT,
we have these high expectations for student conduct.
Service projects encourage opportunities to build character by reaching out in service to
others in the community and focusing outside of oneself. Learning to serve others in need
allows students to gain a perspective that allows them to be considerate of other peoples’
needs and sensitive to their differences. Students learn to contribute to society and make a
positive difference in people’s lives.
Overall, through these experiences, we want our students to develop wisdom and integrity to
aid them in their future endeavors.
Mission III: To pursue a community atmosphere of mutual respect that will cultivate
a positive outlook on school, family, and life.
A community atmosphere is developed when those involved in a common goal work
together to achieve that goal. At PACT, a community atmosphere is very important because
it promotes cooperation among students, parents, teachers, and administration.
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Adults need to develop community with each other by building trust and mutual respect.
Adults need to be held to a higher standard than students. Students will be looking to adults
for leadership and example.
Teachers, as defined by their position, are leaders in the classroom. It is especially important
for the teacher to initiate, build and maintain a caring trusting relationship with each student.
Trust produces emotional safety that allows the student to be who they are, freeing them to
learn at their highest potential. Trust and mutual respect must be perceived by the student.
As the teacher facilitates meeting the needs of the classroom, trust is developed and
discipline problems decrease. Class meetings that deal with perceived problems create an
avenue to deal with them appropriately. Students respond to and understand boundaries,
expectations and consequences that they have helped to establish. These consensus
approaches create personal ownership, responsibility, and cooperation. Rules and
consequences should be related, respectful, reasonable and consistent. Most importantly, the
atmosphere of the classroom should promote a positive learning environment and one where
learning can truly take place.
To maintain civility and respect, a predetermined set of core rules, established by the PACT
committee structure, must be respected and followed. As such, teachers and parents defend
these rules and support the authorities that enforce them. Because PACT desires to be
responsive to its community, there are established outlets of communication to deal with
conflicts and problems. Conflicts should be dealt with swiftly and directly through the
appropriate channels as established by the school.
Our school promotes intergenerational learning. The traditional school setting limits
students’ relational experiences by grouping them into large homogenous same age classes.
This is an artificial and contrived environment that doesn’t occur at any other time in a
person’s life. At PACT, the design of multi-grade classrooms promotes age integration rather
than age segregation. Students spend time with older or younger students on a daily basis.
This gives students the opportunity to be leaders or team members as they move through
their school experience. This better reflects what occurs in society where people live, work,
and relate to others of different ages. Age integration is also promoted through other outlets
such as athletics due to the small size of our school. For example, students participating in
soccer develop friendships over age span of six years as they play together. Also, at the
secondary level, students are put into age integrated advisory groups that continue from year
to year until they graduate. They study, work, and play together in these groups for up to six
years. By giving students these opportunities, our students are more prepared to function in a
Students are given many opportunities to interact people from outside the community.
Teachers do this by utilizing parents and other community experts in the classroom to
demonstrate their knowledge in specific areas and to provide a unique tie to those outside of
the PACT community.
PACT also supports family centered learning. Family centered learning is promoted at the
elementary level as students study the same learning area for unit studies. This encourages
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discussions of learned material as the family lives together, even around the dinner table.
Families are encouraged to take educational excursions during non-school times to enhance
their childrens’ learning. Also, special events occur throughout the school year that utilize
parent’s talents. Students see their parents in a different light as they share in their
educational experience. Extended family members are encouraged to participate in ways
that may not be provided in the traditional educational setting.
Community is built also by the nature of PACT’s organizational structure. Parents and
teachers are encouraged to participate in the committee process. Student council
representatives are invited into this process as they have an opportunity to express student
concerns and needs. Teachers and parents are each given an equal weighted 50% vote.
Because of this, decisions are reached by consensus (when possible) at the grassroots level.
As the committees work together, a sense of community is built among all parties.
All of the above will create a stable and responsive community atmosphere that builds trust
between students, parents, teachers, and staff.