Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.


Residence Life Curriculum


Program Purpose
Team Goals
Unifying Concepts and Processes
Learning Standards
Self Care

Program Purpose          Back to Top

The purpose of the Residential Life program at IMSA is to promote the development of students as ethical leaders and responsible community members in a living-learning environment and in society. The program focuses on the growth of the whole student by integrating the intellectual, social, emotional, philosophical, and physical aspects of each student through personalized learning experiences. This personalized approach is designed to meet the needs of IMSA's diverse student population over a three-year period. The learning experiences are grounded in an eclectic approach to student development theory as articulated by Perry, Maslow, Chickering, Kegan, Kohlberg, Astin, Gilligan, Sue, Atkinson, Gardner and others. These learning experiences will provide opportunities for the development of life skills that are necessary for the students self-actualization.

Team Goals          Back To Top

The goals of the IMSA Residential Life Team are to:

  • create safe, healthy, and nurturing living-learning communities designed to enhance the continual learning process that takes place intentionally and naturally outside of the classroom;
  • provide learning experiences that foster on-going leadership development and application of life skills;
  • assist students with identifying their developmental and ethical awareness needs; setting goals with action plans; and monitoring their growth in each of these areas;
  • encourage students to progress through their development at a personal pace that is congruent with their background and culture, and the events taking place in their lives;
  • design, implement, and evaluate performance assessment tasks that provide feedback on individual student progress toward the residential life learning standards and the student's personal goals;
  • encourage students to build and maintain healthy relationships with peers and adults in a climate of mutual respect and trust;
  • demonstrate, by words, actions, and examples, progress with ethical decision-making and personal development.

Unifying Concepts and Processes          Back To Top

The IMSA Residential Life program provides an environment where living and learning meet. The unifying concepts and processes assist students in establishing a lifestyle which will enable them to reach their full potential as lifelong learners. They also serve to connect the central ideas identified in the IMSA Residential Life Learning Standards and act as organizers in the curriculum development process.

We believe that life experiences create different learning opportunities for students, and that each student brings to our learning environment his or her own developmental processes and experiences. The primary objective of the Residential Life curriculum therefore, is to assist students in personal development and growth through exposure to a wide variety of lifestyles, activities, programs, and people. Student development strategies are applied in a broad and flexible manner to allow for personal adaptation to the concepts and processes. Timely assessment, evaluation, and feedback of the student's behavior is essential to determining personal growth.

I. SELF          Back To Top

  • Personal Responsibility is the student's ability to understand that they are responsible for the choices that they make and must accept the consequences of their behavior.
  • Self as Learner involves the student discovering and understanding personal learning styles in order to maximize their learning potential. This would include using appropriate study skills and support systems.
  • Identity is defining self as separate from others.  It involves identifying and reflecting on values, beliefs, emotions, strengths, weaknesses, purpose, needs, and interests as a holistic being.
  • Ethical Decision-making is the process of making responsible choices regarding personal and group behaviors.  It involves the ability to weigh the pros and cons of options, recognize potential consequences, evaluate the effectiveness of the choice, and make necessary changes.

II. COMMUNITY          Back To Top

  • Relationships involve creating, maintaining, and ending connections with others in a healthy manner.  This includes the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of modalities and contexts.
  • Appreciation of Differences involves an examination of personal assumptions and misconceptions regarding others.  Recognizing, understanding, and appreciating differences in others will enable students to view the world from multiple perspectives.
  • Community Membership involves the student developing a sense of belonging, including finding one's place in the community.  This includes recognizing how groups function, and behaving according to group standards when and as appropriate.

III. SELF CARE:          Back To Top

  • Personal Wellness is the ability to recognize and understand personal needs (i.e. physical, emotional, social, spiritual, mental), and to do what is necessary to maintain optimal well being. This includes understanding personal stressors and how to utilize interventions.
  • Positive Risk-taking is the ability to distinguish between a hazardous situation that may adversely affect the well-being of a person, and situations which promote innovation, creativity, and growth.  Positive risk-taking requires the courage to venture into learning experiences that may produce uncertain results.
  • Time Management is the process of planning and carrying out one's activities in relation to available time, priority of tasks to be performed, and prearranged deadlines.
  • Goal-Setting and Planning is the process of establishing realistic and achievable objectives based on individual needs, interests, values, and beliefs.  It involves developing and implementing action steps to achieve the desired results, monitoring progress towards goals, and making necessary changes.

Learning Standards          Back To Top

Students living and learning in IMSA's residential environment will:

A. Identify, understand, and accept the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a diverse community;
B. Make reasoned decisions which reflect ethical standards, and act in accordance with those decisions;
C. Develop an understanding of the interdependent aspects of self, including who they are, what they want, and how they react to others and their environment;
D. Establish and commit to a personal wellness lifestyle in the development of the whole self.

Citation Format
IMSA Residential Life Learning Standards are cross-referenced using the following citation format:

  • IMSA's Standards of Significant Learning [SSL-V.A]
  • Council for the Advancement of Standards Housing and Residential Life Programs [CASHRL-2.5]
  • Association of College and University Housing Officers-International Standards for College and University Student Housing [ACUHO-1-A&B]
  • Illinois Applications of Learning [ILAoL-2]
  • McRel Compendium Standards for Life Skills [MCSLS-1.6]
  • McRel Compendium Standards for Behavior Studies [MCSBS-1]
  • McRel Compendium Standards for Health [MCSH04]
  • New Standards Framework for Applied Learning [NSFAL-3]
  • American School Counselors Association [ASCA-III.B]

A. Students living and learning in IMSA's residential environment will identify, understand, and accept the rights and responsibilities of belonging to a diverse community by [SSL-V.A]:
A.1 working well with diverse individuals and in diverse situations [MCSLS 4.3]
A.2 understanding that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior [MCSBS-1]
A.3 identifying unexamined cultural, historical, and personal assumptions and misconceptions which affect their interactions with others [SSL-II.A]
A.4 determining their personal values, beliefs, needs, and interests in order to forge connections with themselves and others and to deepen the meaning of their lives.  [SSL-1B; MCSLS-3.2]
A.5 developing an appreciation for new ideas, cultural differences, and life-styles. [ACUHOI-A6]
A.6 appreciating cultural and esthetic differences.  [CASHRL-2.5H]

B. Students living and learning in IMSA's residential environment will make reasoned decisions which reflect ethical standards and act in accordance with those decisions by [SSL-V.B]:
B.1 analyzing, forming and/or clarifying their own values.  [CASHRL-2.5D; ACUHOI-A3]
B.2 identifying areas of dissonance between their personal values and those of the community.  [SSL-5B]
B.3 developing a sense of respect for self, others and property, and a sense of fairness. [ACUHOI-A5]
B.4 learning and applying decision-making techniques [MCSLS-.3.6; ASCA-3B]
B.5 making decisions that are congruent with their values and beliefs.

C. Students living and learning in IMSA's residential environment will develop an understanding of the interdependent aspects of self, including who they are, what they want, and how they react to others and their environment by:
C.1 contributing to the overall effort of a group [MCSLS-4.1, NSFAL-4, 5]
C.2 working independently and interdependently.  [CASHRL-2.5I]
C.3 identifying, developing, and/or confirming one's own sense of identity.  [ACUHOI-A11]
C.4 living cooperatively with others.  [ACUHOI-A1, A2]
C.5  using conflict resolution techniques [MCSLS-4.2]
C.6  displaying effective interpersonal communication skills [MCSLS-4.4, ILAoL-2]
C.7  performing accurate self-appraisal [MCSLS 2.2, ILAoL-4]
C.8  managing and directing one's own learning [NSFAL-8]
C.9  demonstrating leadership skills [MCSLS-4.5]

D. Students will establish and commit to a wellness lifestyle in the development of the whole self by [SSL-V.C]:
D.1 recognizing the holistic nature of wellness [ILAoL-5;MCSBS-3]
D.2  setting and managing goals [MCSLS-2.1]
D.3  engaging in a personally satisfying and effective style of living [CASHRL-2.5G]
D.4  maintaining mental and emotional health [MCSH-4]
D.5  understanding aspects of substance use and abuse [MCSH-9]
D.6  maintaining and promoting self-care [MCSH-7]
D.7  developing physical fitness [CASHRL-2.5E]

References          Back To Top

American School Counselors Association (1997). National Standards for School Counselors.
Astin, A.W. and Scherrei, R.A. (1999). Maximizing Leadership Effectiveness. New York: Basic Books.
Chickering, A and Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Evans, N., and Forney, D. and Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Gardner, H. (1983).  Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. New York: Basic Books.
Gilligan, C., Ward, J.V. and McLean-Taylor, J. (1990).  Mapping the Moral Domain. Havard University Press.
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (1994).  Standards of Significant Learning.  Aurora,IL: IMSA
Illinois State Board of Education (1997).  Illinois Learning Standards. Springfield, IL:ISBE
Kegan, R. (1989).  The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development.  Harvard University Press.
Kendall,  J.S. and Marzano, R.J. (1997). Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education.  2nd Ed. Aurora, CO: McRel
Kohlberg, L. (1981). The Meaning and Measurement of Moral Development. Clark University Press.
Lazear, D.  (1991). Seven Ways of Teaching.  Paletine, IL: Skylight Publishing.
Maslow, A. and Lowry, R. (1998). Towards a Psychology of Being, 3rd Edition.   Wiley, John & Sons, Inc..
New Standards Project. (1994). The New Standards Framework for Applied Learning.  Discussion Draft.  Washington,  D.C.: Author.
Perry, W. (1998). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College years: A Scheme.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc..
Sue, D. and Sue, D. (1990). Counseling the Culturally Different: Theory and Practice.  Wiley, John & Sons, Inc..
Winston, R. and Anchors, S. and Associates (1993). Student Housing and Residential Living.  San Francisco: Josey-Bass.