Under new leadership and completely redesigned for School Year 2018-19, Community Public Charter School (“Community Middle”) offers Albemarle families a middle years option that aims to foster creativity and intellectual curiosity through art and design, experiential learning, mastery, and student choice. As a lab school, CPCS designs and pilots evidence-based approaches to student-centered learning for possible scale to the five ACPS comprehensive middle schools. Admission to CPCS is open to any Albemarle resident on a lottery basis and students leave our school prepared for any academic high school pathway or program they choose to pursue.
The mission of the Community Public Charter School is to provide an innovative learning environment, using the arts, to help children in grades six through eight balance individual strengths and developmental needs to develop the whole child intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially. With Choice Theory as our philosophical base, we strive to help students gain more responsibility for their social-emotional lives and in their academics.
Our Interdisciplinary Approach
Projects, Passion, and Problems as Organizers ~ A student’s daily experience is constructed around engagement with authentic problems, creation of projects, and the pursuit of personal interests. This replaces the organization of students into single subject areas. Students will have consistent learning opportunities across the curriculum: to construct knowledge and understanding through responses to authentic problems; to create projects that demonstrate higher order thinking and knowledge acquisition; to pursue personal interests by making real choices in project forms and media, even when those choices might lie beyond pre-determined expectations.
Literacy and Numeracy Development ~ Students will spend time every day developing their reading and numeracy skills. This looks like daily opportunity to read a book of interest or develop reading skills using research based practices. It may also be daily opportunity to develop numeracy through investigations or skill practice.
Impacting our Community
Community Action ~ As a whole school community, students come together weekly to take part in group activities, participate in community service, or make decisions regarding their student experience in a democratic fashion. We prepare our students with a level of social awareness that will prepare them to be informed citizens with the drive to take action.
Each Fall and Spring students will have an opportunity for a week long, deep-dive into a specific, high-interest area. These experiences are typically held off campus and in partnership with local community organizations. Examples of immersion experiences include: cultural immersions, National Park exploration, community theater production, musical performances, forensic science investigation, urban biking, and public art installations.
Weekly 1:1 Goal Setting ~ Each student meets with their mentor to develop and check progress towards their goals. These check-ins typically last about ten minutes and ensure that every student has an advocate at the school who is tasked with monitoring and supporting their goals.
How we Assess Together
Traditional grading practices fail to describe a student’s academic, social/emotional, and skill development in any meaningful way. Teachers work with students to establish measures of competency and report growth and mastery on a comprehensive set of standards.
We believe that through our p-based instructional design, experiential learning opportunities, and arts infusion that our students will be successful by any measure. Described below you will find what we assess and how we do it.
What we assess.
ACPS Lifelong Learning Competencies ~ Lifelong learning places emphasis on results. To develop the skills and habits associated with lifelong learning, students must: learn beyond the simple recall of facts; understand the connections to and implications of what they learn; retain what they learn; and be able to apply what they learn in new contexts.
Social and Emotional Learning Competencies ~ Adopted from the CASEL framework, as described by CASEL: Social and emotional learning (SEL) enhances students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges. Like many similar frameworks, CASEL’s integrated framework promotes intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competence. There are five core competencies that can be taught in many ways across many settings.
Virginia Standards of Learning ~ As described by the Virginia Department of Education: The Standards of Learning (SOL) describe the commonwealth's expectations for student learning and achievement in grades K-12 in English, mathematics, science, history/social science, technology, the fine arts, foreign language, health and physical education, and driver education.
How we assess.
Competency based reporting ~ We believe that traditional grades do not represent the type of learning our students are experiencing. Our teachers report progress on three areas: ACPS Liflelong Learning Competencies, Social/Emotional Competencies, and Academic Competencies.
Digital portfolios ~ All students create a portfolio upon entry into 6th grade that will capture their learning process during their middle school years. During their 8th grade years students will create a product portfolio, self-selecting their best work and most powerful reflections to present to peers and adults upon graduation.
Student-led conferences ~ Students prepare twice a year to present their learning progress to their parent/guardians. They will share artifacts of learning, reflections on their progress, and progress on their academic and career goals.
Formative assessments ~ Teachers frequently assess students to check for understanding and concept development. These assessments are used to inform our instructional design decisions and provide feedback to students on their progress towards relevant competencies.
Performance based assessments ~ Each grade level participates in one performance task every year that is designed to measure competence on Lifelong Learning Competencies. Additionally our instructional design model uses a variety on-going performance based assessments that is embedded within the learning process.
Standards of Learning assessments ~ Our students participate in all required Standards of Learning assessments as well as locally developed assessments designed to meet Virginia requirements for measuring student competence in the Standards of Learning.
Day in the Life 18-19
Four days per week
- P-Based Experiences
- Lunch & Recess
- P-Based Experiences
- Active Time / Electives
**Additional Literacy, Numeracy, and Goal work scheduled throughout the day/week, as needed.**
One day per week
- Community Action
- Lunch & Recess
- P-Based Experiences
- Active Time/Electives
Four weeks per year
- Full-Day Immersion Experience