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Charter Schools 101

School Mission

Charter schools seek to fulfill specific missions, which were identified by the original school founders.  Through The Compass School charter, we are defined as a multi-age learning community which fosters a passion for learning in all students so they can reach their full potential.  The school utilizes a project-based curriculum integrating academic disciplines, emphasizing social responsibility and environmental sustainability.  We do this work in small classroom settings to prepare each graduate to be a responsible citizen in the global community.

Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE)

The Compass School is a public charter school authorized by the Rhode Island Department of Education.  Charters operate in 5 year windows, at which point the school seeks renewal of the charter from RIDE through an application process.  Renewal of a school’s charter is not guaranteed; schools must demonstrate that the program is an academic success, that the school is providing conditions for success, and that the school is a viable organization.  To learn more about RIDE’s role in charter schools, visit their website: http://www.ride.ri.gov/StudentsFamilies/RIPublicSchools/CharterSchools.aspx

Funding

Charter schools are public schools; we are funded by tax revenue from the towns in which our students reside.  In addition to this funding, we also receive federal grant monies, just like traditional district schools.

Common Core State Standards (CCSS)

Compass teachers collaborate to design multidisciplinary projects that integrate the Common Core State Standards.  While the Common Core State Standards are the same across all of the schools in all participating states, the way that Compass teaches these standards is unique.  Students are involved in hands-on projects, working collaboratively with their peers, and are able to see the application of these standards in a real world setting.  To learn more about Common Core State Standards, visit the CCSS website: http://www.corestandards.org/

The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) Testing

All schools that receive state and federal funding are required to participate in state testing.  Given that charter schools accept these funds, they are also included in this mandate.  Rhode Island has chosen PARCC as the current test; NECAP was the name of the previous assessment tool.  The PARCC test is design to assess students’ mastery of the Common Core State Standards, the foundation of Compass School learning.  To learn more about the PARCC test, visit the website: http://www.parcconline.org/about

Understanding Charter Schools

There is a lot to learn about the regulations and characteristics of charter schools.  While the websites listed here are helpful, families may have further questions.  The Compass School staff, particularly its director, Brandee Lapisky, would be happy to discuss this topic with you.  Please reach out via email at director@compassschool.org or by phone at (401) 788-8322.