At AIM Academy we are engaged in a visioning dialogue among  staff, students and families.  We have given ourselves permission to consider the question: If we could create the ideal alternative school, what would it be like?  Our staff began this conversation at an early release professional development day in February.  We visited several alternative schools in the region and shared impressions of their structure and programming.  We  have requested and collected ideas from students in small classroom conversations and community meetings throughout the course of the school year;  sometimes these conversations arose from expressed dissatisfaction with the current options within AIM program.  We broadened the discussion by inviting families, district administrators, school committee and community members to a dinner and discussion on April 29th, where we posted the questions below. 

What’s working well for you at AIM?

  • Relationships with students
  • Staff to student ratio/small classes**
  • Small groups
  • Staff cohesions
  • Counselor Ms. Vlieger
  • Ability to pivot on short notice
  • Teachers Ms. Harrington & Ms. Laudano

**There were two responses citing small classes.

What would you like to see improved or changed in AIM?

  • Social justice & character development supported by families
  • More opportunities for students to get individual academic help
  • Job associated life skills classes
  • Respect
  • Home visits
  • Student buy-in
  • Schedule

What kind of learning environment worked best for you as a child?

  • Active/interactive; allowed to talk
  • A safe one
  • When its quiet
  • Kind teachers
  • High expectations
  • Teachers who showed where to look not what to see
  • Teachers who were creative and patient
  • Socratic seminar where students prepared questions for the lesson
  • Our school had an after school camp or program
  • Good relationships with educators
  • Rigorous curriculum
  • Culturally relevant teaching

If you could create a different kind of school for your kids (or your students) what would it be like?

  • No grades; portfolio panels
  • Work study/job program
  • Community mentors to teach classes
  • Modified schedule
  • Study sessions for all kids who want to pass and we would put fun programs together on certain days to keep kids out of the street and out of trouble
  • Part time work/school option
  • Online class options
  • More hands-on learning and designing projects