Strong Academics

Gardner Pilot Academy is a full-service community school that serves over 400 students in pre-kindergarten (K0) through grade 8 in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts.

High-quality teaching and learning are the cornerstones of Gardner Pilot Academy. Our top-notch teachers challenge and engage students in core subjects, including English Language Arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and arts. We focus on literacy across the curriculum, with emphasis on social justice themes for student reading and writing assignments.

GPA is committed to a robust science education, with science specialists on staff. The school has both a dedicated indoor science space and an outdoor classroom, where students engage in hands-on learning about nature and the environment. We also believe students must have an early and ongoing introduction to the arts. GPA offers education in the visual and performing arts before, during, and after the traditional school day, particularly through our full-time Art Specialist and the Friday Enrichment program, which brings local artists into the school to spark children’s creativity and self-expression.

Through our school-wide Response to Intervention (RTI) model, all students are assessed to determine their particular needs, and strategically “tiered” to receive the appropriate supports and services throughout the school year. RTI includes ongoing monitoring of student progress to measure the effectiveness of each intervention and to adjust services as needed. In addition, GPA plans using Universal Design for Learning Principles.

Vision for Teaching and Learning

Gardner Pilot Academy students are curious, motivated and reflective learners. They are open minded and seek to understand and work with others to apply their learning in ways that can make a difference to their communities and to the world. They strive to know themselves. They are honest, persevering and responsible learners who care about the quality of their work. GPA students and graduates understand that we live in a time that requires high level skills, innovative ideas, courage and determination. They seek new challenges and opportunities-as individuals and members of a learning community-to become contributing 21st century citizens.

The School Quality Review Team highlighted the following Commendations for the work at GPA:

The Gardner Pilot Academy is a dynamic school that brings together an impressive team of
highly committed educators. Since gaining pilot status in 2007, GPA has steadily worked
to develop and pursue its vision of meeting the needs of students and their families in a
comprehensive and socially sensitive way. One of the most striking characteristics of GPA
is the resolve of staff and leaders to continually review progress, address challenges, and
seek better outcomes. The SQR visiting team was asked to consider two essential questions
in our review, but along the way many other questions were posed by highly motivated
staff, earnest in their desire to continually improve. In our report, the SQR team has
endeavored to highlight some of the outstanding qualities seen across the six focus areas,
while also making some recommendations to address the essential questions and other
areas as the team deemed helpful.

Major Commendations

• The full service model is remarkable. Having developed over more than a decade, the current structure of the program is comprehensive and, despite requiring grants, appears to be well sustained.
• Staff members model the core values of the school, while working with energy and intelligence to support every student.
• A culture of collaboration serves to facilitate curriculum and instruction and the delivery of services from the student support team.
• Efforts to increase diversity in school governance have been very effective. The leadership has been strategic in bringing families into positions on the Governing Board and Parent Council.
• The hiring process is comprehensive.
• Staff support and retention are a strength. The school is committed to collaboration and decision making by consensus. The culture encourages leadership participation, rewards staff for time devoted to leadership work, and is flexible about accommodating personal needs of
• The curriculum is aligned with state standards and there is ongoing work to assure vertical alignment of curriculum within the school.
• Assessment scheduling is comprehensive and data management is exhaustive. Information gleaned from analysis is thoughtfully linked to the needs and academic goals of every student.
• Professional development is clearly connected to the mission of the school, and includes both regular meetings and periodic “learning walks,” all of which give staff opportunities to study, observe, and reflect on educational practice.
• The student support structure demonstrates the ability of the leadership to be creative in staffing. The support staff works collaboratively with each other and with the grade level teams. They are making progress on the use of the RTI tiered system of monitoring and supporting student learning and are developing a PBIS framework to proactively address behavior.

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Gardner Pilot Academy
30 Athol Street
Allston, MA 02134