HS Design Principles - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

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Because each student at BMHS is entitled to achieve high academic and social/emotional outcomes, CHEC's entire administration, faculty and staff are 100% committed to following these design principles:

  • Developing Students that are Ready for college:  Everything at BMHS is characterized by the pervasive, transparent, and consistent understanding that the school exists for the purpose of preparing all students for college and work. We will maintain a common set of high standards for every student to thrive.

  • Requiring Powerful Teaching and Learning: BMHS is characterized by the presence of commonly held standards for high quality instructional practice. All our teachers design instruction that ensures the development of critical thinking, application, and problem solving skills often neglected in traditional settings.

  • Personalization: We understand that knowing students well is an essential condition of helping them achieve academically and our administrators, faculty and staff capitalize on knowledge of the students in order to improve student learning.

  • Professionalism: Every adult at CHEC has responsibility to the shared vision of ensuring the success of our students. This is evident in the collaborative, creative, and leadership roles of all adult staff in the high school.  We strive to take responsibility for the success of every student, hold ourselves accountable to our colleagues, and are reflective about our assigned roles.

  • Purposeful Design: CHEC's High School design principals are meant to create the conditions that ensure the other four design principles: ready for college, powerful teaching and learning, personalization, and professionalism. Our organization of time, space, and the allocation of resources ensures that these best practices become common practice.


In order to make sure that each student receives personal attention, CHEC has been divided up into five  Small Learning Communities.  The goal of these Small Learning Communities is to provide clear focus, strong student teacher relationships, and attention to the needs of students at different points in their middle and high school careers. Each SLC has its own floor in the building, along with its own administrator, counselor, teachers, and support staff.  

The goal of Small Learning Communities is to address student needs in numerous ways:
  • personalize the physical environment by clustering student transitions to limited areas
  • centralize the teachers and staff that serve the small learning community
  • ensure that each student is well known by at least one caring adult
  • individualize learning to optimize student strengths and assets
  • expedite intervention to respond to student needs and areas of improvement

SLCs meet weekly to review goals, a plan of action and evidence of results in helping students reach high standards.  SLCs also have themes and chants to build their sense of belonging to their SLC.


The Upper House is composed of the Ninth Grade SLC, the 10th Grade SLC, the Math, Science, Business (MSB) SLC and the Multilingual, Communications, and the Arts (MCA) SLC. The Math, Science and Business SLC has 11th and 12th grade students,  and provides them with a strong academic background and the knowledge and skills needed to follow the pathways leading to professional or technical careers in hospitality, engineering, computer networking and programming, carpentry or construction, and health sciences.  The Multilingual Communications and the Arts SLC provides pathways leading to professional or technical careers in cosmetology, language and interpretation, fine arts, music, law and protective services. This year, MCA will continue its program in Child Care Development.

Classroom learning is enriched with authentic portfolio projects, career fairs, “briefcases,” job shadows, mentoring and practical work-based experiences. Students must complete a job shadow and 80 hours of internship before their senior year. The curriculum is aligned with DCPS academic standards, industry standards, and workplace skills.  The goal is for students to take Early College courses, AP courses, and acquire the foundational skills and certifications needed to support postsecondary or other continued study and employment opportunities.  To reinforce classroom instruction, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of co-curricular activities in their school, community and with the schools’ AMIGOS/partners.
ACE Mentoring Program
Akin Gum Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Arent Fox LLP
Bancroft Foundation
British Council
Camp Horizons
Catalogue for Philanthropy
CityBridge Foundation
Collaborative Solutions for Communities
Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center
D.C. College Access Program (DC-CAP)
D.C. Department of Health and Human Services
D.C. Office of Early Childhoon Education
D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education
D.C. Public Schools
Denihan Hospitality Group
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Department the Treasury
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Embassy of France
Embassy of Italy
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates
Gala Hispanic Theatre
George Washington University
Global Kids
Flamboyan Foundation

Hilton Worldwide
Hotel Association of Washington, D.C.
Howard University
Inter-American Development Bank
Justice Grants Administration
The Kennedy Center
LaSalle Hotel Properties
Lois and Richard England Family Foundation
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
Richard E. and Nancy P. Marriott Foundation
University of Maryland – College Park
Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs
Montgomery College
National Symphony Orchestra
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Rotary Club of Washington, DC
Residence Inn Marriott
SER-Jobs for Progress
State Farm
University of the District of Columbia
Urban Alliance
Wilderness Leadership and Learning
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