Small Learning Community Glossary

These are terms that go along with the Small Learning Community Grant. You may add any terms that will help with the understanding of this grant, or you may contact a member of the Leadership Team to add a term.

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Academic Achievement TLC

This group is charged  with  improving  the  Academic Achievement of students through Smaller Learning Communities  at West Senior High. The  Academic Achievement  group has two  essential questions, which are:
  • What SLC structure best support improving student achievement for all?
  • What does advisory look like to best support the improvement of academic achievement for all?


Academies organize teachers and academic curricula around one or more themes (Careers, Occupations, Subjects). The goal is to create a set of courses that help students gain an understanding toward a particular interest.


Teachers and other school staff advise and mentor a small group of students (25 or fewer) during a regularly scheduled period of the day. Advisories may meet once a day to once a week.


Coalition of Essential Schools

The  CES Network includes hundreds of schools and more than two dozen Affiliate Centers. Diverse in size, population, and programmatic emphasis, Essential schools serve students from pre-kindergarten through high school in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and they are characterized by personalization, democracy and equity, and intellectual vitality and excellence.

CES  practice is exemplified by small, personalized learning communities where teachers and students know each other well in a climate of trust, decency and high expectations for all. Modeling democratic practices with a strong commitment to equity, Essential schools work to create academic success for every student by sharing decision-making with all those affected by the schools and deliberately and explicitly confronting all forms of inequity. And, Essential schools focus on helping all students use their minds well through standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based "real-world" learning and performance-based assessment.

The 10 Common principals of CES:

1. Learning to use ones mind well

2. Less is more, depth over coverage

3. Goals apply to all students

4. Personalization

5. Students-as-workers, teachers-as-coaches

6. Demonstration of mastery

7. A tone of decency and trust

8. Commitment to the entire school

9. Resources dedicated to teaching and learning

10. Democracy and equity


Freshman Academy

A Freshman Academy offers curricula and support designed to help ease the difficulties students often encounter as they make the transition from middle school to high school.



Houses generally are organizational arrangements that assign students and teachers to sub-schools. Students take some or all courses with their house members and from their house teachers. Houses may be year-long or mulit-year.


Magnet Program

Magnet programs use a specialty core focus (such as math, science or creative arts) to attract students from the entire school or school distric of different racial backgrounds. Students in a magnet program stay together for their core courses and may take other courses with non-magnet students.


Personalization TLC

This group is charged  with  improving  the  personalization  process  through Smaller Learning Communities at West Senior High. The  Personalization  group has two  essential questions, which are:

  • What SLC structure best supports a personalized learning environment for all students at West Senior High School?
  • What does advisory look like when personalizing the learning environment for all students at West Senior High School?



Smaller Learning Communities.   Refers to students and the staff that work with them.   Can have several SLC's in one physical building.   Examples of types of SLCs are: vertical (9-12) neighborhoods, career academies, and 9th grade academies.   Ideally, there are no more than 500 students in one SLC.   Teachers sharing students in common and students knowing the adults that they will work with for x period of time (one year, two years, all four years) are also important aspects.  

SLC Grant

Awarded to several high schools in the state of Michigan to provide funds for the schools to restructure into SLCs. The grant's budget is 1.2 million per year for all 6 schools combined; that is approximately 200K-ish per school per year.   Each year we have to submit a summary review of what we've done to the Federal Dept. of Ed.

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