As a career long curriculum specialist (including building and teaching state and local level standards for science and math) I firmly believe that mission-driven curriculum is the base of the school structure. After all, we build our courses, hire staff and choose our school based on the type of curriculum offered from Montessori to IB.
AND (not but) says my partner Maha Sarraf (who came to school leadership through curriculum herself-the arts of language learning specifically), the Emotional Intelligence of the school is the basis for the school’s upward growth.
As it happens, research shows these two viewpoints actually go hand-in-hand. “Abraham Maslow introduced his Hierarchy of Needs over 70 years ago as a way to explain how all of us can achieve or maximize our own self-actualization. Essentially, Maslow argued that unless our basic needs—including social and emotional well being—are met and optimized, we cannot achieve success in all areas of our human pursuits.” (Neihoff, M. Ruler a Comprehensive Approach to Emotional Intelligence, May 2019).
“Success in school is something that has long been evaluated. When it comes to achieving academically, we continue to consider various instructional pedagogies, assessments and accountability models, technology and new curriculum. But more and more, many practitioners and researchers are turning to a foundational idea: academic performance is directly related to social and emotional intelligence.” (Ibid).
The IB and PYP curriculum has long built in mission-driven core values into units of instruction. Much research shows a clear correlation between strongly communicated mission and achievement. (Dinkel-VanValkenburg, A. June 2016). The relationship between mission to curriculum success is based in a firm base of creating a culture of caring and a climate of supported personal growth.
As ASCEND Education Consultants, Maha and I believe that schools may be institutions but are made of communities of dedicated people (teachers, students, support staff, parents, administrators). We at ASCEND can help school communities work with a shared vision to raise the quality of education and of student life. It takes the village to elevate the school.
Our expertise is in curriculum and instruction and our passions are developing leadership at all levels, include all voices and educate for social impact.
While we can help raise your school’s performance, we are dedicated to working with your whole school to elevate the experience of growing with that community.
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.”
― Abraham Maslow