Before admitting our first cohort of pupils in July 2012, a group of 6 teachers from Reach Academy flew 3,500 miles to the USA to visit schools and observe practices in classrooms in and around New York City. As some of the Charter Schools in the US were inspiration for a number of our practices at RAF, visiting these schools in action gave us an invaluable understanding of how to use innovative strategies in our school.
We visited a number of great schools, watched highly effective teachers, talked with inspirational leaders and observed classrooms where pupils of all ages were achieving incredible things. Although we learned a lot of specific features that we have brought back and implemented in our own classrooms, the most important aspect was seeing our own ambitious vision being achieved for children from disadvantaged backgrounds all over the city.
Visiting schools, both abroad and closer to home, is just one of the professional development opportunities available at RAF – all focused on supporting the teachers to become effective practitioners and increasing the quality of learning in our classrooms.