“This feels like family.”
Joining the Academy of the Arts in 2019, while teaching at University of Southern California, and after a year of finishing an action research project, was a joyous leap for me as an educator.
The school was young, the children happy and the kind teachers in various phases of their teaching careers. I noticed the warm smiles of the Director, Alta Gordon, the gregariousness and warmth of Brittany Antolos, who managed school logistics and more- and to our collective joy- made homemade, fresh Kosher snacks daily. Parents were eager to talk, and ask myriad questions centered around their children. Parents described learning paradigms they enjoyed as children and learning paradigms they wish they had. I understood that the partnership between educators and parents as partners would be a source of great love and growth for the children and the community overall. A great deal of time was spent listening to teachers, children, parents, community members, other principals and my colleagues at University of Southern California. I decided to engage this journey with the three decades of experience I could reflect upon- and take to heart the values, goals and considerations that could help the AOTA community grow and thrive in the 21st Century.
Today, the Academy of the Arts is an intentionally collaborative, thriving, growing and engaging learning community with rigorous, student focused curriculum, exciting learning opportunities, and in continuous partnership with parents resulting in a locally supportive, outward facing community of active learners embracing Jewish values and Hebrew language learning.
The Academy of the Arts welcomes you to come visit, spend a day with us -share and take in what active learning means and looks and feels like! Children learn actively, engaging in inquiry in order to explore a topic, find connections to themselves and others and practice critical thinking skills whilst honing 21st Century skills that will enable them to lead!
The AOTA can do all this because of our INCREDIBLE TEACHERS! Our teachers are committed to each student reaching their full potential, to each family experiencing the joy of seeing this come to fruition.
Our teachers meet with me weekly in coaching, we ensure the Common Core State Standards or the CCSS are met weekly and in fact go well beyond into world competency standards.
We are committed to the U.N. 2030 Sustainable Development Goals which guide our lessons and Project Based Learning Thematic Units of Study over each Trimester.
Assessments across the curricula occur weekly in order to make learning more precise and tailored to student’s needs.
Teachers receive weekly Professional Development from me and from a world class Writing Fellow from USC and CSULB and act as Action Researchers while our students do the same. We have an expert in Sustainability, who focuses on growing competencies in Sustainable Development lessons weekly with teachers and students and another who brings OT to us once a week to ensure we remain responsive to learners’ needs.
Additionally, we have an incredibly creative art teacher, a thoughtful music teacher as well as robotics and more weekly.
We remain committed to continual growth, partnership with parents and our community through continuous outreach via student created projects. We are a community of inquiry, engagement, critical reflection and impact!
Our AOTA Board Members, make a lot of magic happen here, are of tremendous support and share a vision for transparency, collaboration, engagement, service and joy remaining at our center.