Our School is organized into Small Learning Communities (SLCs) based upon our students' learning needs. There are 7 Small Learning Communities.
Each SLC has between 75 and 210 students in it. Our SLCs each have a team of teachers who meet twice a week to discuss student support, student achievement, and SLC programming. Each SLC has an Administrative Leader and an Assistant Administrative Leader who can serve as the point-person for parents/guardian if they want to discuss a student's achievement across classrooms.
Please Note: The 9th grade and 10th grade SLCs loop, so that students have the same teachers and administrators for the first 2 years of high school.
SKILL: 9th Grade SLC
Welcome to the 9th Grade!
In 9th Grade, students studying Math (Geometry), English Language Arts, Writing, Science (Engineering), American History, and an Elective subject.
9th Graders choose their Electives, which are one semester long. The choices are Forensic Science, JROTC, Visual Arts, Dance, Physical Education, and BUILD Entrepreneurship.
9th Graders have the same teachers for their first two years at CHS. Teachers, administrators, and guidance counselor loop up to 10th grade with their students. This establishes a stable, intimate environment where students know the adults they can turn to when they need support and guidance at the beginning of their high school careers.
9th Grade is an important time for students. They start asking more questions, delving deeper into familiar content, working with more challenging new content, and developing their lives and senses of self inside and outside of school. As a school, we understand this and provide all the resources we can so that students are prepared for their futures.
CASE: 10th Grade SLC
Upper School Academy: 11th and 12th Grade
Student with Disabilities
Charlestown High School provides a wide range of special education services to students who are identified with a disability and have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Students diagnosed with varying degrees of mild to moderate learning disabilities, attentional issues, language deficits, social-emotional needs and health disabilities are generally assigned to either a resource room class or receive services in an inclusion setting or in a substantially separate setting to address their individual needs. In all models, these services are provided by teachers who hold licensure in special education or, in the inclusion model, the class may be team/co-taught by a general education teacher and a special education teacher.
Students diagnosed with mild learning disabilities receive support in the Resource Room setting, with smaller math and English Language Arts classes designed for similar learning needs as stated in the students' IEPs. These students work within their Small Learning Community (SLC) and participate in all SLC programming. Unique opportunities--such as working with Actors' Shakespeare Project--avail themselves. These students use the MBTA to commute to school.
Occupational Skills Development Center (OSDC)
Students diagnosed with a cognitive/intellectual disability, Down’s Syndrome, a moderate to severe language disorder, health disabilities, visual impairment, motor impairment, autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome are serviced in one of our substantially separate classroom settings with a group of peers who require similar instructional support. Students in these programs follow their own individualized schedule based upon the recommendations of the IEP members, as outlined in the IEP document. These students often receive door-to-door transportation and require a longer school year--as part of the BPS Extended Year Program.
Students often receive additional itinerant services based upon their IEP. These services are in speech and language therapy, counseling, occupational, and physical therapy, adaptive physical education, mobility training and support from our vision specialist. The number of students assigned to these classrooms is smaller than in our resource and inclusion settings. All our special education teachers are appropriately licensed.
Multi-handicapped Program (MH) & Autistic Programs
The students in our Autistic and Multi-handicapped Programs participate once weekly in the Café. Students in these classes learn as instructors reinforce appropriate work behaviors through more traditional class work, role playing interviews and other job-related situations. As students master school-related skills, they transition to an out-of-school work experience through BPS’ School to Career Project STRIVE. In these settings students have an opportunity to work in metropolitan Boston vocational worksites and receive a modest stipend for their participation. Each class embeds community related experiences and safety skills outside the school by taking trips to the local stores, downtown Boston, the post office and library. On other trips students practice their real-life skills using public transportation. Through the Project STRIVE Program students are travel trained when the IEP team determines they are ready and the student has parent/guardian approval.
Shelter English Immersion (SEI)
To graduate students who can COMPLETE in academically and professionally rigorous settings beyond high school, REGARDLESS of their prior academic performance.
What is DP?
Diploma Plus is a Small Learning Community within Charlestown High School, where students can find the support they need, meet success, and get back on track.
Diploma Plus began in 2009, when Charlestown teachers decided something needed to be done about the high drop-out rate and failure to engage students who were academically off-track.
Who is DP for?
Diploma Plus is for high-school students who are 16 years old or older, who are 2 years over age for their grade level, and who have few credits.
Diploma Plus re-engages students who have not found success in the past. These students have often attended different schools around Boston and experienced the same dismal situation of falling further and further behind.
Diploma Plus invigorates these students with social justice and restorative justice practices, with unique, competency-based curriculum, and with smaller class sizes and more student support.
What Distinguishes DP?
D.P. uses a competency-based grading system that meets students where they are. This system is rigorous and individualized.
D.P. is a college-readiness program. Students are prepared for their futures, instead of being pushed through, left behind, or ignored.
D.P. engages students with restorative justice practices, especially the restorative justice circle, that go beyond the traditional classroom approach.
D.P. is a community-oriented program where students, staff, outside organizations, and teachers unite.
History of Diploma Plus
In the 2008-2009 school year, Charlestown teachers and administrators knew something serious had to be done. Too many students were experiencing chronic failure in their regular ed. classrooms. The headmaster at the time, Dr. Margaret Bledsoe, decided to explore alternative options.
Three representatives from CHS began visiting alternative ed. schools to see what was being done elsewhere. They went to a Diploma Plus school in Brooklyn and were impressed by what they saw. Kati Delahanty was one of the teachers on this visit. She says, “If you walked into the school, you wouldn’t know these were students who had been off-track for so long. They were just students learning.”
With funding from a Gates grant and a partnership with the national Diploma Plus organization, D.P. started at CHS the next school year. It’s the only school-within-a-school D.P. program in the country. “And every year we’re getting better,” Delehanty says. This will be Diploma Plus’s fourth year here. The need is as great as ever.