Hear from Asha Moore about how she inspires her students to be their best selves.
The painting is my student’s self-portrait. In it, you can tell that we've talked about building her confidence, about letting her know that she can really do anything and accomplish anything that she sets her mind to. Hopefully she'll take these things with her the rest of her life.
At an early age, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I was in the fourth grade when I moved from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Olathe, Kansas. Moving from an urban area to an suburban area was a culture shock for sure, but it wasn't the differences in culture that affected me the most: It was my academic performance, or lack thereof. I was one of the top students in Florida. I had always received high grades, but I moved to Olathe and felt myself falling behind. I worked hard and eventually caught up, but it was at that moment in my life that I knew I had to make a difference in the educational system and teach in urban schools. I didn't want any child to feel inadequate or unprepared like I did. When I heard about the Institute for Urban Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, a scholarship program for undergraduates, I felt like it was made for me. I immediately took advantage of the opportunity and I've been teaching in urban schools ever since.
School in District
Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA) is an arts integrated, project approach, constructivist school. We believe students learn more deeply through the arts and retain information through the emotional connection that the arts provide: The arts serve as a catalyst for learning, achievement, curiosity and self-esteem. Students create and actively express a deeper meaning of subject matter content through using visual arts, as well as music, dance and dramatization.
Learning through the arts enlivens instruction, increases student involvement and strengthens both memory and meaning. Students demonstrate depth of knowledge in their ability to design, connect, apply concepts, analyze, create and critique. As a constructivist school, we believe children’s questions should lead the classroom learning and inquiry process.
Children are positioned as competent and capable, and classrooms are active and child-centered. During daily Project Time, children learn essential skills through investigation and field experiences. We believe learning should be for transformative purposes, and our school community is grounded in practices that are socially just and responsive to our students.
Additionally, our work is guided by the belief that resiliency is a necessary life skill for the 21st century. Ingenuity, problem-solving and creativity are all based on the human capacity to acknowledge, overcome and be positively transformed by changes or challenges in life. We develop children’s resiliency through the key practices of social emotional learning, mindfulness, creative problem-solving, and through building respectful and trusting relationships with families and the community.
AFIA’s teaching team is deeply committed to serving the whole child and providing authentic, student-centered learning. As a learning organization, our school community works with a sense of urgency, using multiple data points, with an eye toward continual improvement. We value collaboration and authentic, inspired instruction.
AFIA teaching salaries are competitive with other schools in the area. We look at the experience and educational level of the teacher in determining salaries. Our benefits package includes medical, dental, vision and teacher retirement. AFIA pays a generous amount toward medical benefits.
One of the greatest benefits of working at AFIA is being a part of a dedicated, reflective, collaborative and caring team. People who work at AFIA, as well as visitors, note that our school community is warm, inviting and feels like a family. Teaching is hard work. We know this and work diligently to support each other. Once a week, we have early dismissal to allow for two and a half hours of collaboration and shared learning. We value the adult learning community.
As a resilient school, we not only think about our students and families, but we work to build a resilient, supportive community for teachers and staff. We also value diversity, and engage in crucial conversations about how to ensure that we are continually improving in our ability to be culturally competent. People genuinely enjoy working at AFIA, and our teacher retention rate is higher than average. As a growing school, we are always looking for teachers that are a good fit for our mission and vision.
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