At our core, Self Development Academy is about full brain learning. We combine critical thinking and creative thinking so that students know how to analyze, critique, and create. Our research-based curriculum, intervention program, and instructional practices, help students to develop the bests of themselves. Here is how we live up to our name: we help students develop their selves. Simple.
Through interdisciplinary projects and our social-emotional learning program students develop a sense of self, an identity, filled with passions, interests, aesthetics, and hobbies.
Our theory of “self development” is the combination of three foundational theories in psychology: Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy, Vygotsky’s theory on the zone of proximal development, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Briefly, Bandura believed that students who feel like they can do well, end up proving themselves right. What this means is that students who believe in their abilities are more dedicated and hard working. Importantly, they also are more willing to learn from their mistakes. These students possess what Bandura described as “self-efficacy,” the belief in our abilities and proficiency in meeting challenges.
Leadership and service opportunities build four important character traits: respect, responsibility, readiness and resilience. It’s how our students learn to hold themselves to high expectations as good citizens in our schools, communities, and nation.
How exactly teachers show students that their efforts lead to success? It is an active process of finding and teaching inside what Vygotsky called, “the zone of proximal development.”
To teach inside this zone, teachers have to strike a precise balance: providing support and assistance when students cannot on their own master or learn concepts but also respecting every student’s need to discover and explore concepts on their own. Every teacher experiences this question, “if a student does not know the answer to a problem, do we tell them or do we let them figure it out?” That question is a question about where the zone of proximal development is.
Teaching students will lead to “self-efficacy.” Students that have achieved “self-efficacy” are then free to actualize the full pantheon of what it means to be human. This is the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, “self-actualization.”
Maslow believed once a person’s needs are met for safety, food, social and self esteem are met, they can finally pursue their unlimited potential. For Maslow, and us for that matter, every human has untapped potential. The greatness of humanity is found in every human.
Self Development Academy balances academics with leadership and service to others through enrichment activities including Student Council, Young Scholars, Chess Club, Science Olympiad, and Dance Club, to name a few.
Because real self-development includes academic, physical development, and also social-emotional development, Self Development Academy teaches mindfulness, empathy, and conflict resolution to all students.
Self Development Academy is one of the most consistently highly ranked and recognized charter schools in the state, including the distinction of being named Best Charter Elementary School in America.