OVERVIEW OF LEARNING
The CHS model supports student success and ensures equity and innovation. All students will leave CHS with a postsecondary plan informed by the intentional exposure and experiences from an interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, participation in group projects, and active involvement in the real world through internship experiences. CHS families will be able to conceptualize what postsecondary life looks like over the course of four years at our school. Seniors will have formulated an informed collaborative plan for next steps in terms of either continued learning or career opportunities as engaged citizens.
Student success will be measured and documented using agreed-upon skills, knowledge blocks, and habits of mind. Their progress will be communicated to multiple stakeholders using a transcript format developed by Mastery Transcript Consortium (https://mastery.org/)
Initial exposure to career and college opportunities will occur through partnership with community organizations and professionals in the field as well as college trips in the first two years. Authentic experiences through structured internships for a deeper interaction within fields of interest in the second half of the high school career will allow students to develop self determined goals.
WE DO THINGS A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY HERE
CHS aims not to simulate or mimic learning and experiments, but rather to provide learners with opportunities for genuine, authentic learning and application of their studies. Our curriculum is group project-based, engaging students of various abilities in work that is meaningful to them, developing 21st-century skills and knowledge in real-life settings and applications. This includes expert seminars, fieldwork, community service, internships, experimentation, and deep connections to outside experts. Our students learn Math, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts in interdisciplinary classes.
This is a class of 15 students that meets every morning. This is where student teams learn the skills and content they need for their project work. The Mentor Teacher is their guide throughout the year. Teachers will get to know the groups well, give students personalized attention and support, and mentor them through their learning and 21st-century skills-building journeys.
This is the time of day when students’ mixed ability groups dive into their project work, putting to use what they’ve learned in the Learning Lab, under the guidance of their support teachers. Work Lab is exactly what it sounds like: It’s work time to advance and make progress on project learning in a supportive and professional environment. Support Teachers work in collaboration with the Mentor Teachers to create formative assessments and craft critical feedback that will help learners set both individual and team goals.
This is student time to learn about and pursue individual or group passions and interests through our elective courses that are entirely programmed based on student interest. Learners take classes in things like the arts, engineering, coding or prepare for their next steps in advanced math courses. The offerings change regularly.
Wellness Lab is about learning about and managing learners’ physical health and activity. Students earn gym and health credits in the evolving Wellness Lab offerings such as yoga, mindfulness, running, tai-chi, dance or sports.
During Seminar Weeks, we bring in visiting experts to teach mini-courses on relevant topics connected to project work opening the window for post secondary study and career possibilities.
Field work is where we utilize the amazing and rich environment of New York City as our classroom. Why just learn about the Hudson River inside the walls of a classroom when students can go and experience it? Upperclassmen have opportunities for independent field work alongside professionals and internships during this time.
We are addressing the inequity that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three strands of innovation reflected in our school design. Student voice will be at the forefront of designing, governing and operating our school. A project-based curriculum will provide meaningful learning opportunities while developing 21st-century skills. Finally, social-emotional growth will be promoted through an extensive Advisory program, restorative justice, and counseling.
Student voice in influencing design, governance, and operation of school:
Embracing divergent thinkers, we are dedicated to amplifying student voice and placing their innovative ideas at the forefront of designing, governing and operating our school. The leadership model will reflect the collaborative nature of the school itself and serve as a model of collaboration to students. From early on in the design process, students have served as planning and thought partners. Through the planning year and after opening, students will hold leadership positions along with select teachers, parents, and community members. Student perspective will inform curriculum, programming, and implementation of the robust advisory system.
Interdisciplinary Project-Based Curriculum
The recent pivot to remote learning has shown that schools struggle to meet IEP goals and more broadly the needs of diverse learners, and specifically special education students. CHS intends to provide the necessary mandated supports within a group setting ensuring that individual and group goals can be met. Students will get what they need when they need it through CHS’ flexibility of schedule, use of space, and interdisciplinary approach to an antiracist co-constructed curriculum.
The CHS approach is grounded in the belief that young people learn and grow best in supportive, academically challenging environments that provide them the opportunities to participate in purposefully constructed, engaging learning experiences. Productive struggle, guided by student choice and with appropriate support, will be at the forefront of our school. Pairing social and emotional development with academic tasks through rigorous group projects, internships, and authentic learning experiences will support Black, Latinx, ELLs, and special education students in learning and growing. Student strengths, needs, and voice will shape the instruction, governance, and iterative development of the school.
Our innovation lies in the amplification of student voice in our school design and governance. Student voice has been the missing component for far too long. Creating a community where instruction is delivered in an untracked setting through interdisciplinary group projects will set our school apart from the crush of outside political forces intentionally stratifying and segregating schools based on state or national exams.