There's a new charter school in town. It's opening next semester
Here's the website,LARCHMONT CHARTER SCHOOL
I really like this :
The mission of Larchmont Charter School is to provide an experience-centered, inquiry-based learning environment that enables each student to meet the academic challenges of secondary school as well as the social, emotional, and physical challenges of life in and beyond the school walls
Our vision is a parent-initiated neighborhood school that is creative, diverse, academically challenging and emotionally nurturing. Ours will be a school that embraces and celebrates the diversity of languages and cultures in our urban environment while retaining the close-knit feel of a neighborhood school. We hope to relieve overcrowding and offer families an alternative choice within LAUSD.
Larchmont Charter's educational program is being designed to:
• serve the whole child and foster a lifelong commitment to intellectual exploration, individual growth, and social responsibility;
• embrace, celebrate and benefit from the diversity of our community and promote family, school, and community partnerships;
• respect, support and empower teachers by providing time for reflection, collaboration and action research focused on student learning.
Larchmont Charter will strive to have the essential combination of a research-based, innovative curriculum, parent involvement in school governance and excellent test scores. It will emphasize constructivism in student learning. This form of pedagogy has been supported by research for more than 60 years and has been used in successful schools across the country:
Open Magnet Charter School
Calhoun (in NY)
Dalton (in NY)
BB&N - Buckingham, Browne & Nichols (in MA)
Those of us who have seen the learning in action have found it to be incredibly inspiring.
Larchmont Charter's educational philosophy will be progressive, hands-on and experience-based. Children, particularly in the lower grades, will use concrete manipulatives and experiential learning. Our philosophy draws on the work of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and Lev Vygotsky. Students will receive differentiated instruction in response to their different interests and strengths. Our main vision involves a process navigated by aligning students' curiosities and questions with academic standards while children learn through the medium of their own experiences.
Community and Family Participation: The participation of families and the surrounding community is critical in meeting the needs of the whole child.
Parent/Child Workshops: Larchmont Charter teachers and parents will hold free, informal meetings in locations throughout the community (i.e., churches, homes, community centers) in order to help educate parents. The meetings will introduce parents to concepts such as �balanced literacy,� and give parents an awareness of the skills that will ease their child's path to literacy.
For parents of school-aged children, we will offer workshops to demonstrate activities that parents and children can do together to improve learning. For example, one workshop series will focus on �dialogic reading,� where the parent does not simply read while the child listens but instead asks the child increasingly complex questions. Another workshop will discuss parents' ideas for games with children that develop phonological awareness (i.e., rhyming games, word games, songs that develop children's sensitivity to the sounds that make up words).
As children move through the school, they too will participate in workshops designed to engage them actively as tutors of their younger peers.
Parent Education: Consistent with our mission to establish a �community of learners,� we will offer parent-taught workshops for other parents in the Larchmont Charter community on such varied topics as financial literacy, mathematics, technology, carpentry, cooking, crafts, and mechanics. Additionally, we intend to form partnerships with organizations such as Even Start and Parents as Teachers in order to support parents in developing their own literacy skills, completing their GED or graduate school work, learning English, and other subjects of interest to parents.
Family Advisory Committee: As a parent-initiated and founded school, we believe strongly in the role of parents in decision-making for our school. All parents of children enrolled in Larchmont Charter will be members of the school's Family Advisory Committee (FAC). At least one elected member of the FAC will represent the group on the Board of Directors, in addition to the Founding Parents who initially will serve on the Board. Parent representatives will be involved in school decisions ranging from budgeting, to staff recruitment and hiring, to curriculum.