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.
- 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.