The Compass School is a public K-8th grade charter school and in accordance with our charter, enrollment is through a lottery which is open to all RI residents.
The Compass School was founded in 2002 by a group of parents who desired an environment where their children would be challenged to become problem solvers, critical thinkers, and life long learners. We offer children a continuous, multiyear educational experience. An integrated, project based curriculum provides the foundation to develop each individual as a cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and reflective being.
Our strength is gathered through reciprocal relationships among all members of the learning community. Students graduate knowing they are members of a global community, having developed an awareness of and practiced their personal, social and ecological responsibility.
Overview of The Compass School in Kingston, RI
What Makes Compass Special?
Constructivist and Project Based Teaching Approach:
- Curriculum relies on primary sources of data and manipulative materials. Themes provide a reference for students so they can see relevance in their learning. Students do a great deal of primary and secondary research and learn to apply skills.
- Teachers interact closely with their students. Assessment of learning is interwoven with teaching and occurs through teacher observation and through student self evaluation.
- Students learn to accept responsibility for their assignments and learn to present quality work. Authentic assessment allows students the opportunity to share their work with teachers/students/parents.
- Involving parents in every facet of the school is important to the success of The Compass School and our students.
- Goal setting conferences are held early in the school year for each student, parent, and teacher.
- In March student led conferences allow a review of these goals as well as the opportunity for students to discuss their progress.
- Each year the learning committee presents events that allow parents to become familiar with school philosophy.
- This involves presentations on multi age learning, the overall philosophy of the school, Peaceful Parenting, and environmental sustainability.
- Parents have many opportunities to volunteer and be part of the educational process.
- Every year there are many functions: classroom sharing events, potluck dinners, environmental hikes, Paw Sox games, ice cream socials, etc.
- There is high involvement because parents feel welcome in the school.
- An Eco Fair is held on a Saturday every spring and is a major event.
- A focus on meeting people’s needs today and tomorrow while conserving the Earth’s life support systems is core to what makes Compass special.
- Practical applications where all students participate in composting and recycling is one example.
- An organic school garden is maintained by students and parents.
- All curriculum incorporates the ideals of environmental sustainability through various creative themes.
- Approach by teachers when working with students emphasizes problem solving and teaching students to accept responsibility for their behavior.
- Students learn to solve issues through effective communication.
- Compass realizes that fostering positive behaviors and relationships enables students to enjoy school.
- Practices such as daily class meetings allow students and teachers to develop these relationships.
- Training in Responsive Classroom and Choice Theory provides teachers with the philosophy and techniques needed.
- Students learn and develop in multi-age classes.
- Multi-age education allows for flexible groupings of students and provides opportunities to focus on individual abilities and skill levels.
- When teachers spend more than one year with a child, they are better able to understand a child’s needs and learning preferences.
- Success in multi-age classroom settings requires smaller teacher/student ratios and highly qualified teaching assistants to provide support.
Governance and Site Management:
- The Compass School relies on shared decision making.
- Parents/students/teachers/administrators have input into school decisions and are important stakeholders.
- School Council is comprised of nine members possessing a wide range of experiences valuable to the operation of the school.
- Members include parents, teachers and members of the community.
- A new website and active computer list serve are the foundation for effective two-way communication.