Introducing the Fuse Architect Schools – Central High School

August 14, 2015

ILS blog


Central High School (Central) is the second school from the Providence Public School District selected for the Fuse Architect program. Central High School is actively working to become a more student-centered and student-directed school. Central’s Fuse Architect design team believes that “anytime, anywhere learning” is an important part of building an educational model that works for the twenty-first century. Yet historically, the design team recognizes Central has had a tradition of adhering to curriculum standards that have not allowed for students to take this type of ownership over their learning. As the Fuse Architect design team at Central envisions more personalized learning environments for students, they understand that their team and their school must grow and adapt in order to be truly student-centered. School population information for the 2016-17 school year is shared in the table below.

# of students % of Free and Reduced Lunch % of English as a Second Language % of Special Education Services
1000+ 92% 31% 15%

In its initial application for the Fuse Architect project, Central’s team wanted to push their thinking on what it means to be student-centered and what that could look like at Central High School. Specifically, the team’s goal was to increase academic discourse and authentic discussions led by students in order to increase students’ engagement, and therefore, increase student achievement. To achieve this goal, the team proposed to authentically implement higher order questioning and classroom discussion, thereby increasing the rigor and academic discourse in the classroom.

At the district level, Providence Public Schools has developed a five-year teaching and learning plan in partnership with its central office and school-based staff, families, students, and community partners. A lynchpin to the plan was the district’s movement towards more self-directed, personalized learning for all students. In order to obtain this goal, the district is working through defined steps for personalized learning including scaling up 1:1 computing, piloting ed tech software and learning management systems that support personalized learning, and accessing opportunities that increase student choice and voice in the classroom.

At the end of Phase 1, the design team settled on a plan that will “engage a holistic community made up of teachers, students, and parents to create an academy where participants can learn, grow, and fail forward together in a collaborative, comfortable, educational environment in order to promote a sense of belonging, civic capacity, engaged citizenship, leadership, college readiness, student agency, student ownership of learning, sustainability, and fun.” The structure of the academy has district approval for a 1:1 computer program, a redesigned classroom model with no bells, and a daily student-driven project period. The driving idea behind these changes will promote more student support, help reduce stress, and increase student engagement.

To facilitate their implementation plans, Central partnered with Youth in Action, who will spearhead developing student-driven projects and join in culture-building exercises at the school. Additionally, the design team chose to purchase McGraw Hill’s Learning Management System Engrade as their central hub for communication around teaching and learning. Vice Principal Betsy Furtado emphasized, “We here at Central are so excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will provide for our students.”

To learn more about the Fuse Architect project, updates, and partnerships, see all blogs in this series!

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