High Quality Work


"I love working at a school where we strive for high quality work that students can be proud of. We don't cover content for the purposes of preparing for a test. We teach kids about growth mindset, and we promote an attitude that learning is a process, or a journey."
- Amy Beckhusen, 6th grade humanities teacher

McAuliffe scholars are so familiar with reflecting on their own learning and quality of work that when we ask them for feedback in the end of year  survey, our scholars share “stars” and “steps” for themselves versus “stars” and “steps” for how we can improve the way we run our program! Giving and receiving kind, specific, helpful feedback has become the norm at McAuliffe and this schoolwide norm has greatly impacted the quality of student work. In particular, over the last three years, we have guided and observed substantial improvement to the sophistication of student writing and craftsmanship quality in projects and products. We are also extremely proud of the way all McAuliffe scholars, no  matter their learning challenges, are producing high quality work. We make three claims about scholars’ high quality work. Each claim shares the story of our journey toward achieving this claim and evidence to support the claim:

This is an illustration created by an 8th grade scholar for the Fredrick Douglass children's book discussed in High Quality Work Claim 2.

Claim #1  

McAuliffe scholars produce complex work that demonstrates synthesis of complex texts and sophisticated  writing.

Claim #2  

McAuliffe scholars create beautiful work across grade levels and assignment type.

Claim #3  

All McAuliffe scholars produce high quality work, including scholars who have identified disabilities.

Our scholars are now regularly producing beautiful, complex work that they are proud of. They share this work through through online platforms, print-based publications, and at culminating events. Teachers’ increasing capacity to guide scholars through the design process has brought craftsmanship to the heart of shorter-term projects and final products. The interconnectivity of complexity, craftsmanship, and authenticity comes alive as scholars convey their mastery of knowledge and skills through their beautiful work.

We have facilitated four Quality Work Protocols (QWP) between 2014 and 2017. Summaries (linked below) illustrate most improvement to complexity and craftsmanship. One of our work plans priorities for 2017-18 is authenticity as this is the element of high quality work the QWPs have indicated the need to focus on. By focusing on authenticity, we believe scholars and teachers will find even more meaning in their learning. When scholars’ final products have the potential to impact the community, we know that they will take their work even more seriously and bring their work to even higher levels of quality. We also aim to conduct two QWPs annually going forward.



A particular point of pride is our 6th grade expedition product,  “Me, My Stuff, and Why”, which  EL Education has included in the Models of Excellence online repository of high quality work. We look forward to contributing more expedition products to the Models of Excellence over the coming years! The project can viewed via this online gallery here.

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