The Charles School Mission: The mission of the school is to prepare students for life-long learning, commitment to community and informed citizenship by immersing them in real-world, active learning as well as rigorous academics. Significant to its purpose is to make higher education affordable, accessible and attractive for a broad diversity of Ohio’s high school students. As well, the school works to provide successful college preparation and experience to high school students who may have faced obstacles in the past, along with an arc to higher education for students who might not have considered college an option.

The Charles School Vision: The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University is a five-year program offering students a high school diploma and up to 62 hours of college credit tuition free. Students who may have faced obstacles in the past, and students who might not have considered college, have teachers and advisors who smooth the transition to college. This school is a significant partnership initiative of The Graham School and Ohio Dominican University with both entities fully committed to the success of its students as well as the many opportunities to bring our communities together for productive learning opportunities. -Quoted from The Charles School’s website

Now that the cut and paste job is over… The cornerstone of our work that I believe moves people is the notion that is fundamental to our mission; we seek to prepare students who have traditionally been under served for college-level success.  People I talk to are moved by the idea that all of our students must take and pass at least 3 college courses in order to graduate from our school.  They are shocked that we have such high expectations for our students.  They are usually equally surprised to hear that our students can earn up to 62 credit hours at the university.

We keep this vision alive with our school in that it is the laser-like focus for our work.  We have a single-track mind for the vision of the school.  Everything we talk to our students about is related to college success.  It frames everything we do from discipline, to advising, to registration/enrollment.  This makes talking to the students about matters normally as trivial as talking in class a much more fruitful discussion.  With this focus the conversation  is not about whether or not the talking in class is distracting, but whether or not this behavior will serve the students well when they are in their college courses.

As a leader, I am tasked with helping keep the pre-college portion of our school in order.  This truly means that I am keeping the 9th and 10th grade program on target for preparing students for their first semester at the university (which can begin in the fall of their junior year).  This means that I am monitoring students grades, talking to teachers about what can help them to keep expectations high, and making sure that we are challenging all of our students appropriately.  I do not work alone, however.  There are three other deans who have responsibilities in student behavior, counseling, and college advising.  We co-lead the school and practice distributive leadership with our teachers.

The results of our work?  Well, check the next post (TCS@ODU Busting Out) which I am actively writing.