Design Principles - Columbia Heights Educational Campus

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The middle school program at CHEC is rooted in the principles of inquiry, creativity, and sound habits of work and mind. Inquiry and creativity is support throughout the science and social studies programming allows students to explore and make sense of natural and social phenomena. Students explore life, physical, and earth sciences and also ancient, world, and U.S. histories. They develop the mathematical and language skills to explain these phenomena to each other, their families, communities and world. Studies in both the performing and visual arts provide a second lens through which students can ask questions and generate hypotheses as they make sense of the world. The development of sound habits of work and mind is carried throughout the physical education curriculum where students learn about their own physical development. The middle years are filled with promise for all students.


In order to make sure each student receives personal attention, CHEC has been divided  into five Small Learning Communities (SLC’s).   The goal of these SLCs 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.  SLCs also have themes and chants to build their sense of belonging to their SLC.


The Lower Division consists of the 6th/7th and 8th grade Small Learning Communities (SLC).  During their time in the lower division, students must meet rigorous content and performance standards in all courses.  Completion of the lower division standards verifies that the student has acquired knowledge and skills for high school and early college. Upon meeting the standards in the 8th Grade, and presenting their portfolios to community members, students exit the Lower Division and continue their education in the Upper Division.
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