By Steve Sagin, Social Studies Teacher, Edge High School

For most students enrolling at Edge, our school represents a critical opportunity — to reach academic goals — when other schools have not worked out. Many of our students face challenges in and outside of school. Our students often enroll at Edge when they are behind in credits, seeking a safe place to learn, and are eager for a school environment where they can get support to build their foundational skills. We are here for students wanting a high school environment where everyone can be themselves, surrounded by caring adults, in an inclusive and respectful school community.

Traditional school models are mostly “one size fits all”, making it very difficult to recover credits, remediate the skills required to work at grade level, and fit in socially. Edge offers an instructional model with small class sizes, self-paced learning, and individualized support that focuses on building skills from the level students are currently working. It’s our holistic approach — we aid students’ social-emotional needs, as well as academic.

Edge strives to build students’ life skills. We focus on the self-directed learning skills needed — not just to earn a high school diploma — but to achieve success in whatever post-secondary education or vocational endeavors our students might choose.

So, what does it take to be a successful student at Edge? As a teacher at Edge for fifteen years, I’ve helped plenty of students at-risk for not graduating — achieve their goals. I know that in order to be successful, students enrolling at Edge need to be ready to learn, believe that they can learn, and understand the commitment and effort required.

Even in a highly supportive environment, it takes much effort to earn a high school diploma. It does not matter what previous or current challenges you might face; showing up, accepting support and feedback, believing you can learn, and persevering even when it’s difficult are critical elements to success at Edge.

In practical terms, this means prioritizing your education among the many competing priorities you might have outside of school. So, here is a Top 10 list of attributes and characteristics that I believe are necessary to achieve your goals at Edge. You may not be able to check all of them at the time you enroll, but you will need them all in order to earn your diploma and other important goals you might have for your future. We are here to help you develop those attributes!:

1. Show up! On-time, daily, on-time attendance

2. Persistence and readiness to learn– you will acquire a “growth mindset”. This is the motivation and belief in your ability to put your mind to it and learn anything. You must believe that mistakes, difficult challenges, and hard work are all part of the learning process and that when you fail at something, it only means you haven’t gotten it YET!

3. Commitment and effort — the academic, social, and emotional commitment and effort required to succeed when school and life are challenging.

4. Being willing to take risks and make mistakes.

5. Be engaged and motivated, self-advocate by effectively communicating your needs.

6. Ask questions and accept feedback.

7. Acquire self-directed learning skills and strategies, like being organized, setting goals, and taking notes.

8. Integrity — do not just look for the fastest, easiest way to complete something at the expense of really learning how to do it right.

9. Take control and “own it”. Don’t give up because it is difficult, be curious and challenge yourself; it’s your education and your future.

10. Be kind and respectful to yourself and others!

EDGE is a Cognia accredited, tuition-free, charter high school, with two campuses in the greater Tucson area. We provide an alternative to traditional education, meeting the diverse learning and life needs of our students with our blended curriculum and flexible morning or afternoon class schedules. Our high-quality, passionate teachers are dedicated to individualized instruction in our small academic classes. Be you. With us. At EDGE!