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About AHAS


Mission Statement

Our goal is to provide equity and opportunity to all children who face systemic roadblocks to education.

Why is the program titled AHAS?

Our charge is to provide opportunities for children to feel At Home At School: that is, we seek to provide comfortable and secure learning environments that promote active learning for all children.


Dr. Susan Finley, Associate Professor of Education at Washington State University Vancouver is the Founding Director of AHAS. The AHAS curriculum design introduced by Susan Finley is based in the concepts of empowerment and democratic education and utilizes hands-on and arts-integrated learning approaches in all of its programs. The AHAS umbrella of programs began in 2002 with the AHAS Summer Program and the project to offer tutoring in shelters. Teachers in AHAS programs are guided by the educational theories of critical pedagogy conceptualized in the works of Paulo Freire.

AHAS has three primary goals:

  1. To assist K-8 students who are homeless or otherwise underserved succeed in school–e.g., to identify and surpass systemic barriers for students who live in transitional and other subsidized low-income housing, qualify for free and reduced lunch, or are in foster care, chronically ill, English language learners, have an incarcerated parent, low school attendance, tec. AHAS also provides opportunities for service learning and experiences of diversity of instructional methods to all students.
  2. To provide community-based teacher education provided in fulfillment of WSU Vancouver’s charge of preparing new teachers to work in an increasingly diverse society.
  3. To develop ongoing research about teaching and learning in both primary populations: K-8 and teacher education students.

AHAS is the site of community-based field inquiry education preparing new teachers to work in an increasingly diverse society.

AHAS in the news

Vancouver Voice: Volume 3, Issue 12, May 7, 2009; page 9.

Cheers: To Washington State University Vancouver professor Susan Finley and her advanced-degree students who run the At Home At School program. The Columbian: July 21, 2007;  Page C6, Article ID: MERLIN_1805054.

Summer School and so much more. The Columbian: July 16, 2007; Page A1, Article ID: MERLIN_1793497.

Popsicle stick bridges make for sweet project. The Columbian: August 1, 2006; Page A1, Article ID: 2006213005.


AHAS is a project of Washington State University Vancouver.

The AHAS Website was designed WSU Vancouver – Digital Technology & Culture program students:
Laura Franklin, Andrew Uhacz, Teresa Willard, Kelsey Payne, Kara Gribskov, Mallisa Rainey
Logo designed by Madeleine Finley. Website redesigned by Taylor Koering.