Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy

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Our Program » Curriculum


Instituto Justice and Leadership Academy address each component of our program within the context of social justice. IJLA presents coursework in an interdisciplinary context so students can see connection between content areas. Teachers also engage students in the content of each course by using examples of the issues and controversies that many of the youth and their communities face as a way for students to practice critical thinking and intellectual discourse. IJLA encourages students to think independently and critically to strategize for optimum societal and community impact.
IJLA is comitted to setting a college going culture. Every students is required to take a college preparation course and every student has access to accelerated learning pathways. These pathways are: unpaid internships, paid internships, dual enrollment opportunities, independent research opportunities, extra learning online (ELO), and career certification programs (in nursing and manufacturing). Every student is also required to develop a senior portfolio with evidence of their post-secondary transition plans including submitting proof of 3 college applications, completion of financial aid applications or scholarship applications, participation in a college fair, participation in a job fair, and completion of a personal statement.

Core Competencies

IJLA Believes in providing specific feedback on students' progress toward competencies. A competency is technical and functional expertise in skills with knowledge that lead to superior performance. This competency system is researched based and demonstrates impact on students' performance beyond high school in leadership, college, career, family and societal responsibilities. 

Gaps-to-Goals Assesment

Incoming students anticipated graduation date is contingent upon prior credit attainment, age, and skills mastery. Upon entering IJLA, a review of students' incoming credit attainment, performance on standardized exams, and other assessments are reviewed and assessed to identify their competency skills to date. All of these data points along with a Social-Emotional Assessment inform the competency level of the student and informs the students Personalized Education Plan (PEP), a designed experience that will re-acclimated the student to ensure success at IJLA. The PEP assess reading and math skills, helps students develop and course plan, and sets a graduation date. The Personalized Education Plan allows students and their teachers, counselors, and families to track their success and graduation readiness.

Grades at IJLA

Traditional grade levels reflect a number in a sequence indication how many years a student has been in school, IJLA serves students who are on a nontraditional path for whom grade levels may not apply. IJLA uses the terms Leveling, Apprenticeship, and Mastery rather than traditional grade levels.
IJLA recognizes that it's students are gaining credits on an nontraditional schedule and that they have likely ingrained doubt of their intellectual ability, and have receive scarce, if any, feedback from teachers on what their specific strengths or areas for improvement are. Traditional grades or percentages have been proved not to give students the feedback they need to perform at high levels. In response to these issues IJLA identifies students are three major levels of program accomplishment. Many students have come to IJLA with a significant number of credits but with low skill levels, these students need to see tangible benchmarks and development quickly so IJLA categorizes coursework by competency level. These competencies are Proficient, Developing, Not Yet, No Evidence, and Not Applicable.