Our vision is to be a dynamic learning community where students become life-long learners, develop self-knowledge, and are challenged to excel.


The mission of the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School (ANCS) is to:
  • Build an empowered and inclusive community of students, parents, and educators
  • Engage the whole child—intellectually, social-emotionally, and physically
  • Help all students to know themselves and to be known well by their community
  • Challenge each student to take an active role as an informed citizen in a global society
  • Collaborate with the larger community to advocate for student-centered schools

In carrying out our mission, we are guided by the following values and principles that are important to ANCS.

Guiding Principles

We come to school and every class prepared to learn and do our best.
We respect each other, our surroundings, and ourselves.
We take responsibility for our actions and learning.
We resolve conflicts in a peaceful, thoughtful, and meaningful way.
We celebrate our individual and collective successes.

  • Uses transition times wisely to maximize time on task during class.
  • Arrives to class on­ time ready to engage. 
  • Keeps materials and work organized so that it is easy to locate when needed. iv. Begins work immediately.
  • Engages willingly with work that is difficult.
  • Completes and submits homework by assigned due date.
  • Follows staff directions to keep the classroom environment safe and help students learn.
  • Speaks at appropriate times, making space for others to participate.
  • Listens actively when others are speaking.
  • Honors the personal space, personal belongings, and emotional wellbeing of others.
  • Uses language appropriate for a school and academic setting.
  • Shows consideration for the identity of others.
  • Shows care for personal work space and spaces of others.
  • Actively participates in a positive manner.
  • Works diligently during class to complete assigned tasks.
  • Completes quality work.
  • Seeks clarification or help when needed.
  • Accepts and utilizes feedback.
  • Acknowledges own mistakes, reflects, and makes a plan for change.
  • Accepts redirection and consequences.
  • Shows empathy for others.
  • Uses learned skills to stay composed.
  • Works to solve problems when they arise.
  • Acts as an upstander, not a bystander.
  • Listens to and considers different perspectives.
  • Asks for help from others when struggling to solve a problem.
  • Discusses personal disagreements privately with only those directly involved.
  • Meaningfully repairs relationships with others.
  • Works collaboratively for the benefit of the group.
  • Recognizes outstanding examples of work.
  • Shows appreciation for members of our community.
  • Accepts and respects sociocultural differences.
  • Recognizes and understands personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • Is resilient in dealing with disappointment or struggle.
  • Acknowledges value of own ideas and achievements.

Individual & Collective Responsibility to our School Family

These guiding principles help us as a school family—students and adults alike—to create a tone of decency and trust within our school. They provide the basis for clear and consistent expectations about what is acceptable at our school. We make time to acknowledge and recognize students, teachers, and parents who exemplify these guiding principles.

As well, appropriate supports and consequences are given to those who struggle to consistently follow these guiding principles. We also use the practices of Conscious Discipline to support the creation of a school family and a safe learning environment for students.

Hands-On, Personalized Learning & Performance-Based Assessment

The development of curriculum and the teaching practices at ANCS are guided by principles that place students at the center of their learning in a hands-on way, actively engaged in exploring questions and coached by their teachers towards the demonstration of mastery of higher-order concepts and skills. The curriculum at ANCS does not rely on textbooks; rather, it is driven by rich and interesting projects and learning experiences that help students to show understanding and develop meaningful skills.

  • Learning to use one’s mind well

    The school should focus on helping young people learn to use their minds well. Schools should not be “comprehensive” if such a claim is made at the expense of the school’s central intellectual purpose.

  • Less is more: depth over coverage

    The school’s goals should be simple: that each student master a limited number of essential skills and areas of knowledge. While these skills and areas will, to varying degrees, reflect the traditional academic disciplines, the program’s design should be shaped by the intellectual and imaginative powers and competencies that the students need, rather than by “subjects” as conventionally defined. The aphorism “less is more” should dominate: curricular decisions should be guided by the aim of thorough student mastery and achievement rather than by an effort
    to merely cover content.

  • Goals apply to all students

    The school’s goals should apply to all students, while the means to these goals will vary as those students themselves vary. School practice should be tailor-made to meet the needs of every group or class of students.

  • Personalization

    Teaching and learning should be personalized to the maximum feasible extent. Efforts should be directed toward a goal that no teacher have direct responsibility for more than 80 students in the high school and middle school and no more than 20 in the elementary school. To capitalize on this personalization, decisions about the details of the course of study, the use of students’ and teachers’ time and the choice of teaching materials and specific pedagogies must be unreservedly placed in the hands of the principal and staff.

  • Student-as-worker, teacher-as-coach

    The governing practical metaphor of the school should be “student-as-worker”, rather than the more familiar metaphor of “teacher as deliverer of instructional services.” Accordingly, a prominent pedagogy will be coaching students to learn how to learn and thus to teach themselves.

  • Demonstration of mastery

    Teaching & learning should be documented & assessed with tools based on student performance of real tasks. Students not yet at appropriate levels of competence should be provided intensive support & resources to assist them quickly to meet those standards. Multiple forms of evidence, ranging from ongoing observation of the learner to completion of specific projects, should be used to better understand the learner’s strengths & needs, & to plan for further assistance. Students should have opportunities to exhibit their expertise before family & community. The diploma should be awarded upon a successful final demonstration of mastery for graduation – an “Exhibition.” As the diploma is awarded when earned, the school’s program proceeds with no strict age grading & with no system of “credits earned” by “time spent” in class.

  • A tone of decency and trust

    The tone of the school should explicitly and self-consciously stress values of unanxious expectation, of trust, and of decency (fairness, generosity, and tolerance). Incentives appropriate to the school’s particular students and teachers should be emphasized. Families should be key collaborators and vital members of the school community

  • Commitment to the entire school

    The principal and teachers should perceive themselves as generalists first (teachers and scholars in general education) and specialists second (experts in but one particular discipline). Staff should expect multiple obligations (teacher-counselor-manager) and demonstrate a sense of commitment to the entire school.

  • Resources dedicated to teaching and learning

    Ultimate administrative and budget targets should include student loads that promote personalization, substantial time for collective planning by teachers, competitive salaries for staff, and an ultimate per-pupil cost not to exceed that at traditional schools by more than 10 percent. To accomplish this, administrative plans may have to show the phased reduction or elimination of some services now provided to students in many schools.

  • Democracy and equity

    The school should demonstrate non-discriminatory and inclusive policies, practices, and pedagogies. It should model democratic practices that involve all who are directly affected by the school. The school should honor diversity and build on the strength of its communities, deliberately and explicitly challenging all forms of inequity.

Academic Progress

ANCS’s academic and organizational innovations—including performance-based portfolio assessment, interdisciplinary teaching, comprehensive sustainability initiatives, an advisory program, and extensive support for teachers’ professional development—and these innovations benefit students during the critical years that begin in kindergarten and extend through middle school. Numerous studies have shown that students in schools using these practices demonstrate a high level of progress academically and personally.

Diversity & Equity

ANCS believes in the power that comes from students learning with and from classmates of different backgrounds. Our school is affiliated with the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition, a collection of schools with racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse student populations with the following shared beliefs:
  • Diverse schools provide greater opportunities for students to learn from one another.
  • Diversity is a cost-effective method of boosting student achievement.
  • Diverse schools promote the celebration and understanding of other cultures and viewpoints.
  • Diverse schools invigorate and strengthen urban neighborhoods by bringing community members together.
  • Charter schools can and should contribute to solving the historic challenge of integrating our public school system.
  • Achieving diversity often requires deliberate efforts through recruitment, admissions policies and school design.
  • Diverse charter schools promote equality by ensuring that students from different backgrounds have the same high quality educational opportunities.