As a charter school, we have a responsibility to ensure our own students are successful but also to be an agent of change in urban public education. Charter schools were first conceived in the early 1990s as “education laboratories” that, freed from the bureaucracy of district control and the constraints of union contracts, could experiment and, ultimately, find better ways to operate and drive student learning. The goal was to take these better ways and adapt them system-wide; the goal remains the same today.
There are now 5,000 charter schools serving almost a million students across the country. A subset of these are high performing urban schools like Neighborhood House. Collectively, these schools are dramatically impacting the national conversation about the potential for reform and improvement across the public school system. At Neighborhood House, we are proud to be at the forefront of this effort.
We demonstrate our leadership through partnerships with organizations working in schools and by working directly with other schools.
Recent Successful Partnerships
Research indicates that social emotional health is the best predictor of a child’s future achievement; better than any other single factor—including IQ and technical skills combined. NHCS has formed an innovative and unique partnership with PEAR, the Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency, to help tailor our curriculum to provide the right kinds of support to our students.
NHCS is a true partner with PEAR, acting as pioneers in developing and formulating ground-breaking, model programming for improving social emotional learning. PEAR and NHCS have worked together to build a model that involves both classroom teachers and students themselves in the assessment of social emotional needs and resiliencies–and trains teachers to create environments for social emotional learning that are incorporated into the classroom.
City Year is a nonprofit organization that engages diverse young people (“corps members”) ages 17-24 in a year of full-time service as tutors, mentors and role models in urban schools across the country. From 2010 to 2012, a three year initiative with City Year co-developed and tested nationally replicable academic support practices focused on math, literacy and homework completion. Based upon the positive results of that pilot, the first of its kind in the United States, the new practices developed at Neighborhood House have been rolled out to every state and city where City Year operates impacting over 25,000 students. Read more about the City Year-NHCS pilot: Download the Case Study (PDF).
In 2010, NHCS was asked by the Boston Public Schools to partner with the Harbor Pilot Middle School. The Harbor, located near NHCS in Dorchester, had been designated as “Turnaround School” because of its significant underperformance over multiple years. NHCS worked with the Harbor to improve its academic results by sharing and adapting practices, systems and structures that have proven successful at NHCS. This partnership between a district school and a charter school, the first in Boston, has yielded promising results: with our help, the Harbor has met or exceeded the improvement benchmarks set by the Boston Public Schools.