Monday, November 4, 2013

High School Updates: Thoughts from BVP High School Designer Jonathan Santos Silva

A rigorous high school experience is the bridge between a great middle school and true college and career success. That is why we are working with national and international educators, successful school founders, and your child(ren)’s teachers to design a truly world-class Blackstone Valley Prep High School. As we engage in this work, I am sure that you have many questions about the high school and how it will look, sound, and feel. 

Included below are thoughts on several school topics about which you may be wondering. It is by no means exhaustive, but hopefully it will answer some of your big questions. I also hope to gather your thoughts to make sure that we understand your needs. Please take the time to fill out this short survey by November 8th, so we can design a truly world-class high school. All in for Day 1!

Please click here for the survey in English.
Please click here for the survey in Spanish.

Academics: The curriculum at BVP High School is being aligned to the Common Core standards and designed to prepare students for success in college and careers. Teachers will employ a variety of instructional strategies including Socratic seminars, extended research projects, and design thinking to develop students’ abilities to think critically, work collaboratively, and solve real-world problems. We will offer Advanced Placement and pre-AP courses.

Activities/Athletics: BVP High School will encourage scholars to pursue academic, athletic, artistic, and personal growth so that they will experience success in colleges and universities. We will field teams with the RI Interscholastic League and, when that is not possible due to our scale, we are exploring the logistics of partnering with home-districts. We are also exploring exciting and engaging activities such as chess, debate, mock trial, and journalism. 

Behavior System/Culture: Our culture will be founded upon the PRIDE values, maintaining high academic and behavioral expectations while giving students opportunities to take risks and learn from mistakes in a supportive environment. The disciplinary program at BVP High School will incorporate a faculty-advised, student-led disciplinary board and evolve from the Middle School’s merit/demerit system to prepare students for the real world.

Dress: The high school will continue the BVP tradition of scholar uniforms and gradually release students into a professional dress code as juniors or seniors. In creating the dress code, we will be mindful of age-appropriateness and affordability. 

Grading: The grading system will blend the instructional benefits of a standards-based approach with a traditional format (letter grades and GPA) that is easily understood and commonly utilized by colleges and universities for admissions decisions.

Length of Day: We are creating a schedule that will allow for academic time to be followed by clubs and athletics, all within the school day. Our initial plan is for the academic day to last from 8am-2:45pm. From 2:45-4:45pm, every scholar is expected to participate in one of the following activities: interscholastic athletics, school-sponsored activities, faculty office hours (tutoring), online coursework, or early release for a school-approved outside activity (internship, job, etc.). 

Technology: BVP High School will leverage instructional technology to personalize aspects of the curriculum and supplement classroom learning experiences. We will adopt a 1:1 device model, meaning every scholar will have a laptop (subject to fundraising).

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