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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.

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.

 Parent Involvement: 

  • 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.

Environmental Sustainability:

  • 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.

Social Responsibility:

  • 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.

Multi-Age Approach: 

  • 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.