The AGC Way

Many times at AGC you will hear certain things like: “AGC is the place to be!” “Go to the source.” But one of the most common saying is “The AGC Way”

“The AGC Way” means a lot of things in regards to how we do things, but it is rooted in the idea that we do things differently from the traditional school model.

  • We operate on the basis of sustainability through composting, using reusable materials vs. single use plastics, not having styrofoam, straws or balloons and so on

  • We anchor ourselves in our wellness wheel through our organic food program, daily movement, mindfulness & yoga

  • We are place-based in our learning through inquiry, taking children on lots of field trips, and we spend a lot of time outdoors

  • We strive for justice-oriented by listening to our stakeholders and making bold decisions for the inclusivity and humanity of our historically oppressed and underrepresented communities

When in doubt, inquire what the “AGC Way” is. Remember, we do things differently!

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The AGC Way: Village Model

When you walk into AGC, you will not see the traditional classrooms, where each student has a chair and a desk. Instead, you will see a variety of shared learning spaces with flexible seating options that are designed to promote inquiry, collaboration, independence, metacognition and a love for learning.

At AGC, students learn in villages. A village is a way to group students, as well as define the space that is allocated to that age group in our campus. Each group has its own village, and also uses shared indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the campus.

In K-1 and 2-3 students are grouped in multi age groups, and are anchored by the teacher. While there are opportunities for collaboration across groups students mostly stay with a teacher that teaches all subjects. Each group has between 20 and 24 students. To learn more about the why and the how of this model, click on AGC’s Multi Age Village Model.

In 4-5, while grouping is not multi aged, students are grouped in a way that there are opportunities for multi age collaboration. Each group has between 25 and 27 students.

In MYP (grades 6-8), students shift to departmentalized subject courses as they are anchored by the subject. As an IB school, AGC’s MYP curriculum framework is comprised of eight subject groups, providing a broad and balanced education for early adolescents: Mathematics, Language & Literature, Science, Individuals & Societies, Language Acquisition (Spanish), Physical and Health Education, Design (Technology and Sustainability) and Art (Visual and Performing). As students enter their middle school years, the adolescent brain is a new window of opportunity. This is a time for rapid learning and brain development. Students are able to move more frequently during the day, which helps increase attention. It also provides students with an opportunity to be challenged academically by different teachers in different classroom environments and prepares students for the transition to high school.

AGC’s MYP Program is also characterized by the following:

  • Cooperative Teaching Approach
    Educators work together to collaborate and coordinate content.
  • Shared Responsibilities
    Educators take equal ownership of the students. The motto is “everybody’s kids are everybody’s kids” Educators have the opportunity to bond with more students, beyond a fixed set of students. The team provides mutual support for one another and share responsibilities.
  • Purposeful curriculum
    The team shares their work with one another through cross-disciplinary conversations so that each knows how students are doing across the curriculum. Educators align units of inquiry to coordinate multi-age opportunities through flex-time.

The AGC Way: All Gender Bathrooms

Bathrooms at AGC are simply bathrooms, with no specific gender assigned. This creates a more inclusive and welcoming environment for all, regardless of their gender identity or expression. These types of bathrooms are hand in hand with several IB traits, such as open-minded and caring. Studies have shown that all gender bathrooms result in a more positive school culture for all.

To learn more about how this model works, click on All Gender Bathrooms at AGC.

School Culture Philosophy

AGC believes that a student centered, developmentally appropriate, safe and respectful learning environment is critical to students’ success. By using Responsive Classroom as the foundation of behavioral and classroom management, teachers are supported in developing a classroom management approach and classroom environment that assists children with developing self-control, understanding their behavior and being socially responsible. We believe in developing an intrinsic motivation to learn.

AGC believes in proactive school culture through

  • Relationship building

  • Mindfulness

  • Executive function (ATLs: Approaches to Learning Skills)

  • Informed, caring and consistent educators

  • Co-creating of community rules

  • Developmentally-appropriate teaching with brain-breaks

AGC sets forth clear expectations for responsible student behaviors and a transparent and restorative disciplinary process that addresses the root causes of behaviors, repairs harm, and promotes students' social and emotional development. AGC follow’s CPS’s Student Rights & Responsibilities (formerly known as CPS’s Code of Conduct).

School-Wide Expectations

  • Be safe / Sé seguro/a

  • Treat each other respectfully. / Tratarse con respeto

  • Be kind / Sé amable

  • Be fair / Sé justo/a

  • Take Responsibility, reflect and correct mistakes / Toma responsabilidad, refleja y corrige tus errores

  • Report bullying / Di algo si hay acoso

At AGC Staff

  • Follows the school rules of being safe, kind, fair and taking responsibility.

  • Closely supervises students in all areas of the school and playground.

  • Respond quickly and sensitively to bullying reports using the Four “A” response process.

    Affirm Feelings, Ask Questions, Assess Safety, andAct by facilitating and/or coaching students

  • Respects family confidentiality, especially when addressing situations with multiple stakeholders.

  • Collaborates with other staff around student behaviors (Ex: support in challenging situations, brainstorm, etc) We all share all students.

  • Is knowledgeable about what is developmentally appropriate behavior and what bullying is (Ex: bullying vs. other age developmentally appropriate behaviors). Watches for signs of bullying and addresses it appropriately.

Family’s Responsibilities

  • Follow the school rules of being safe, kind, fair and accept responsibility.

  • Contact the teacher first and work with him/her to problem-solve if a situation arises. If further assistance is needed, then contact the principal.

  • Respect everybody’s right to confidentiality.

Antiracist Journey

AGC’S has a commitment to be an organization that is continuously working on Antiracism for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

We recognize that this work is not a quick fix: it’s multi-layered and multi-modal, requiring “urgent patience” on our part, and a willingness to consistently apply a different framework to the way we think about organizational (re)design.

Our students are also part of this process.

  • Students from the Class of 2020 met with AGC’s leadership team over the course of several weeks to read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. This group of individuals left behind a legacy of the AGC Anti-Racist Policy.

  • Students from Class of 2027 immersed in a unit of inquiry “Ancient Civilizations” during the time our new campus was being constructed and their class action project was to create AGC's Land Acknowledgement Statement.

AGC is anchored and aligned to the CPS Healing Centered Framework and while both trauma and healing are collective experiences. Each of us has a role to play in promoting healing for others and addressing our own healing.