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City on a Hill
CONTACT:58 circuit street
Roxbury, MA 02119
DESCRIPTION:City On A Hill opened in the fall of 1995, as the first public charter high school in Massachusetts founded, designed, and managed, by teachers. Now it has over 140 students from all over Boston, selected by lottery without regard to previous academic performance; 73% are children of color; 20% are first-generation Americans; over 50% qualify for free or reduced lunch; more than half come to CH reading below grade level.
The ideal is simple: an urban public high school where students work hard. All students read Homer and Shakespeare, write essays, speak in public, use computers, analyze historical documents, converse in a second language, swim, and complete 2-3 hours of homework per night. To ensure public accountability, students' work is evaluated at year-end by citizen juries. Civility governs: students and faculty customarily shake hands out of mutual respect; students apologize publicly at weekly Town Meetings for breaking rules. Students are issued school shirts, and are not allowed hats, beepers, or walkmen.
Early returns are impressive; CH significantly outperforms Boston Public School standardized test averages, and has attracted national and international attention in the profession and the press. There have been 200 applications for every teaching position, and the student waiting list has more than doubled.
CH could not exist without philanthropy. Clearly this is an experiment worthy of your support as well.
(1997: CULTURE: Education: Formal: Schools)
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