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Things to Know About TAGOS Leadership Academy

TAGOS Mission

The TAGOS learning environment builds relationships in order to motivate students to grow academically and relationally so they can succeed as mindful members of their community.

TAGOS (Tailoring Academics to Guide Our Students) Leadership Academy is a Free Public Charter School Serving Students in Grades 7 - 12 and is home to nearly 70 students, 4 advisors, a student services specialist, 2 paraprofessionals, and an administrative assistant. Students who were struggling in the traditional schools are now flourishing in the TAGOS project-based learning environment. Students attend based on their selection in either our first Friday in June or first Friday in January bi-annual lotteries. To be eligible for the TAGOS lottery, students must turn in an application prior to the lottery date.

It is highly recommended you complete the TAGOS Application, and then call us to schedule a visit (parent and student together) and become familiar with our students, staff, and philosophy.

A growing body of research says students are better prepared for college, and for life, when they are invested in hands-on, experiential learning. That trend is already having a significant impact on TAGOS Leadership Academy.

TAGOS Leadership Academy - A Place Where Young Adults Thrive!!


Student Focused ~ Rigorous ~ Project Based ~ Standards Driven

Leadership is all about people and ideas. It is the infusion of ideas into people's hearts and minds that allow them to do incredible things. TAGOS Leadership Academy aims to create a unique learning experience. A culture of learning that creates new freedom and motivation to say "we can create learning and reinvent learning and communities." We often say that teaching is "missionary work" educating one student at a time. TAGOS Leadership Academy aims to educate each student so that they may realize the possibilities of acting on their dreams and desires. TAGOS realizes the potential in all students.

School History

TAGOS began with a planning committee made up of community members, teachers, local business and government officials, and parents. The initial funding for the school came from the state of Wisconsin in the form of a planning grant. Funds from the planning grant were used to visit model project-based schools in the United States. Members from the planning team visited schools in San Diego, CA, Appleton, WI, Sante Fe, NM, and Henderson, MN. The team believes that what we have developed at TAGOS Leadership Academy represents the best practice in project-based learning (PBL).

TAGOS opened its doors to 36 students, 2 advisors and a building secretary in the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. At this time we were awaiting the completion of construction at Arrow Park, formerly Parker Pen. For the first semester we occupied a rental building on Main Street in Janesville, WI. Space was tight. We had to use the parking lot for ‘circle time’ and made due the best we could. On December 23, 2007, TAGOS began its occupancy at Arrow Park.

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom.

  • PBL is synonymous with learning in depth. A well-designed project provokes students to encounter (and struggle with) the central concepts and principles of a discipline.
  • PBL teaches students 21st century skills as well as content. These skills include communication and presentation skills, organization and time management skills, research and inquiry skills, self-assessment and reflection skills, and group participation and leadership skills.
  • PBL is done by individuals and by groups of students working together toward a common goal. Performance is assessed on an individual basis, and takes into account the quality of the product produced, the depth of content understanding demonstrated, and the contributions made to the ongoing process of project realization.
  • PBL allows students to reflect upon their own ideas and opinions, exercise voice and choice, and make decisions that affect project outcomes and the learning process in general.

Combining these considerations, we define Project Based Learning as: a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and life-enhancing skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. This methodology yields projects that meet today’s standards for accountability and teach students the academic content and the 21st century skills they need for life success.

Project-Based Learning

  • Significantly increases student outcomes and understanding of underlying concepts
  • Links learning to real-world exploration
  • Values creativity, natural inquiry, and teamwork

Why do students need 21st century skills?

Every child in American needs 21st century knowledge and skills to succeed as effective citizens, workers and leaders in the 21st century. There is a profound gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in typical 21st century communities and workplaces. To successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce, U.S. schools must align classroom environments with real world environments by infusing 21st century skills into their teaching and learning.

Learning in the 21st century is based on the essential skills that our children need to succeed as citizens and workers in the 21st century. "The Partnership for 21st Century Skills" has identified six key elements of a 21st century education, which are described below.


What is the frame work for 21st century skills?