FOUR RIVERS CHARTER PUBLIC SCHOOL
Credentialing Portfolio
 
Welcome to the credentialing portfolio of the small but mighty Four Rivers Charter Public School!
WHO WE ARE  

Four Rivers Charter Public School opened in 2003 in Greenfield, MA, with 68 students in grades seven and eight. We have grown to serve 217 students in grades 7-12, and are in our fourteenth year of operation. From the very beginning, we envisioned our students experiencing their learning as inextricably linked to the world beyond the walls of our classrooms. We wanted them to engage in answering authentic questions about real-world issues, to do fieldwork, consult with experts and create useful products of lasting value. We also envisioned a school community where adults and students committed to the same values and code of conduct: to do our work with quality and craftsmanship; to treat one another with respect; to meet our responsibilities, expect the best of one another, and approach our interactions with compassion and integrity. Our school founders discovered Expeditionary Learning and chose to affiliate, seeing in EL an organization that supported all the things we wanted to manifest in our school.

Four Rivers is not typical of the newest generation of EL schools. We are tiny, rural, and have never been anything other than an EL school. We don’t have a turn-around story or a pre-and-post narrative; what we have to share is the evolution from day one, when classes were held in a tent and students and teachers worked together to assemble tables, chairs and benches while the paint dried in our new building, to a faculty of 25, three buildings and the steady development of traditions, community and EL practices.

 
OUR MISSION  

Four Rivers Charter Public School is dedicated to educating young people for lives of learning and service.

'The school offers a rigorous college preparatory program aligned with the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks and an emphasis on character development for moral and social responsibility. Three central themes -– nature, technology and community -- guide teaching and learning at the school, engaging students and teachers in a fundamental question of our times: How do we find the healthy, sustainable interrelationship of the natural world, technology in its many forms, and the human community? The school works closely with parents and seeks both to serve and to learn from the many resources of Franklin County.

 
OUR TEACHERS:  

  • Make academic goals and objectives clear through the use of learning targets and help students track their progress through assessment-for-learning practices;

  • Design and deliver effective lessons using the workshop model and the best practices of active pedagogy;

  • Design and carry out interdisciplinary expeditions that connect student learning to real-world situations and issues and culminate in shared learning and high quality work that serve an
    authentic purpose;

  • Meet the needs of diverse learners through differentiated instruction and the building of close relationships with each student;

  • Help students do work that is of high quality and that exhibits craftsmanship through the use of models, rubrics, the practice of revision, and setting high expectations;

  • Help students develop positive habits of work and learning by building a classroom culture that encourages stretching, trying new things, taking responsibility for deadlines, collaboration and teamwork.

  • Work continually to improve their own practice, while also contributing to overall improvement efforts of the whole school.


 
 
OUR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM IS BASED ON FOUR COMMITMENTS:  

Expecting the best

Four Rivers expects high levels of achievement in academic learning, effort, and teamwork. We challenge students to dig deeper and work harder than most have done before. With talented and enthusiastic teachers, our program seeks to prepare every student for college. Teachers work with small classes to develop challenging projects, through which students learn essential knowledge, skills, and values. They teach with clear, high standards for each course, opportunities for revision to meet the standards, and the conviction that every student can and wants to strive for his or her best.


Learning by doing

At Four Rivers, learning is active, not passive. Meaningful, engaging projects are central to our curriculum. Students do original research and fieldwork, often involving experts in the community. Expeditions and shorter investigations promote responsibility and collaboration; they speak to diverse learning styles, reveal new strengths, and deepen understanding. Typically, learning expeditions culminate with the students producing work—a report, a publication, a performance—that has a real purpose and a real audience.


Exploring big questions

The school’s themes of nature, technology and community engage teachers and students in basic questions that promote active learning and bring them in touch with our area and our times. What does the natural world have to teach us? What does technology, and the creative power of invention behind it, offer us? How can they work together in a way that is sustainable?


Building character and community

At Four Rivers, the development of character and community are as important as academic achievement. All of us are called on to think and act for the common good. Through crew and our curriculum, we guide each student’s quest for the strength of character and insight to make healthy choices and set positive goals. We encourage student leadership and initiative in helping one another, strengthening our school, and serving the community. We emphasize six character virtues – respect, responsibility, compassion, courage, perseverance and integrity - and we also have a clear code of conduct, with no tolerance for behavior that is unsafe or hurtful to an individual or the school community.

 
SCHOOL WIDE LEARNING TARGETS  

These are the skills, habits, and understandings we want all of our graduates to develop in their years at our school.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES ARE INVESTIGATORS

  • They can use questions to help shape research.

  • They can actively seek out, synthesize and apply new information.

  • They can investigate a topic through a variety of sources, ideas and viewpoints.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES ARE CRITICAL THINKERS

  • They can extract ideas from a variety of learning experiences (reading, group work, lecture, discussion, hands-on activities) and synthesize them into a new understanding of a topic.

  • They can independently understand, assess, synthesize and use information from different sources.

  • They can develop a comprehensive understanding of a text, an experiment, a concept or  idea by looking at its parts or components.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES ARE CREATIVE THINKERS

  • They can demonstrate respect and appreciation for new perspectives with an open mind and a willingness to adapt their thinking.

  • They can learn and apply a variety of means of creative expression to share ideas and information.

  • They can use expressive and focused language in their communication that engages a specific audience.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES ARE PROBLEM-SOLVERS

  • They can design and test solutions to problems.

  • They can collaborate effectively with peers as necessary to solve problems and complete tasks.

  • They can find multiple ways to solve a problem and can analyze the effects of different solutions.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES ARE COMMUNICATORS

  • They can craft well-organized, articulate, compelling, and focused writing appropriate for a defined purpose and audience.

  • They can organize and share knowledge and ideas on a topic through speaking and writing.

  • They can explain or demonstrate understanding of something that they learn, using appropriate tools, materials or language.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES WORK WITH CRAFTSMANSHIP AND QUALITY

  • They can craft, refine and polish a piece of work until it is of meeting quality.

  • They can use feedback on their work to identify areas of strength and weakness and to take action toward improving themselves (as a student, community member or individual).

  • They can complete work with consistent care for organization, detail, and accuracy.

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES DEVELOP IDEAS ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY

  • They can explain the concept of sustainability.  

  • They can generate ideas, original designs and possibly products that address the Four Rivers Essential Question -- How do we find the healthy, sustainable interrelationship of the natural world, technology in its many forms, and the human community?

FOUR RIVERS GRADUATES DEVELOP STRONG CHARACTER

  • They take responsibility for completing work on time and with good faith effort.

  • They recognize their role in a community and actively try to help to move the whole group forward.

  • They know how to persevere through something that they struggle with.

  • They have the courage to try new things or to tackle work that has been difficult for me; they are willing to stretch beyond their comfort zone.

  • They have academic integrity; and they do their equal share in group work.

  • They respect the opinions of others, even when they disagree.

 
PERFORMANCE BENCHMARKS 2016-17

 

MASTERY OF KNOWLEDGE and SKILLS

CHARACTER

HIGH QUALITY WORK

2016-17 Performance Benchmarks

  • MCAS

  • 80% students meet all learning targets in each of their classes.

  • 80% green for each of their classes and overall in the Academic Status document

  • School Climate Survey results:

    • 95% students agree that students are held to high academic standards (3 yr average of 93%)

    • 95% students agree that most teachers post learning targets (3 yr average of 93%)

  • Protocol for sampling portfolio (partner school)

  • Passage presentations/SLC.  Teacher grades and audience feedback.


 

HOWLs grades o 70% earning Mt or above (current schoolwide average at 63%)

Crew grades o 95% earning Mt or above for CHARACTER AND COMMUNITY (current schoolwide average at 93%)

  • 95% for SERVICE (current schoolwide average at 89%)

School Climate Survey results:   

  • 95% agree that behavior expectations are clear (3 yr average of 90%)

  • 75% students agree that the school helps students grow as people (3 yr average of 66)

  • 80% students agree that they do most of their homework on time and with good faith effort (3 yr average of 74%)

  • 80% students agree that Students respect differences and allow individuals to be individuals (3 yr average of 74%)  

  • 80% teachers agree that all teachers help uphold school wide expectations (3 yr average of 77%)

  • 90% teachers agree that all teachers help uphold school wide expectations (3 yr average of 84%)

  • 95% teachers agree that all teachers help uphold school wide expectations (3 yr average of 92%)

  • 95% teachers agree that all teachers help uphold school wide expectations (3 yr average of 94%)

HQWP

Teacher assessment of expedition/projects in terms of authenticity, complexity, craftsmanship.  Some kind of rating scale

Expedition QWP

School Climate Survey results:

  • 97% students agree that students are expected to do high quality work (3 yr average of 95)

  • 90% students agree that most teachers show models to understand expectations for quality work (3 yr average of

85) o 95% agree that most teachers give them useful feedback to revise and strengthen their work (3 yr average of 91)

  • 85% agree that they feel proud of the work or products they create to demonstrate their learning (3 yr average of 82)

 

CHARTER RENEWAL SITE VISIT REPORT: FOUR RIVERS MEETING IT'S MISSION  
Below is a link to a  report from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Charter School office, delivered to Four Rivers June 1, 2017, following a charter renewal inspection. The inspectors interviewed board members, parents, teachers and school leaders, and spent time in classrooms, looking for evidence that the school is faithful to its mission and program goals. FOUR RIVERS CHARTER RENEWAL INSPECTION REPORT

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WHO WE SERVE  

Four Rivers is located in Franklin County, in the northwestern area of Massachusetts. Our student body mirrors the population of the county in its racial and ethnic diversity. Our students are predominantly white, and more likely to be from poor, low-income or lower-middle class families. Only 34% of adults in Franklin County have earned a college degree, and many of our students come from families in which no adult has completed college.

NOTE: In Massachusetts, Charter Schools are considered school districts of one school. This means Four Rivers is both a school and a district; thus, the information for school and district will be the same.

ENROLLMENT DATA
(from the Massachusetts Department of Education School and District profiles)


 

Enrollment by Race/Ethnicity (2016-17)
Race % of School % of District % of State

African American

0.5

0.5

8.9

Asian

2.7

2.7

6.7

Hispanic

7.3

7.3

19.4

Native American

0.0

0.0

0.2

White

85.0

85.0

61.3

Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander

0.0

0.0

0.1

Multi-Race, Non-Hispanic

4.5

4.5

3.4

 
 
Enrollment by Gender (2016-17)
  School District State

Male

104

104

488,985

Female

116

116

464,716

Total

220

220

953,748

 
 
SELECTED POPULATIONS 2016-17

Title

% of School

% of District

% of State

First Language not English

2.7

2.7

20.1

English Language Learner

0.5

0.5

9.5

Students With Disabilities

14.5

14.5

17.4

High Needs

40.0

40.0

45.2

Economically Disadvantaged

29.5

29.5

30.2

 

PLANS AFTER GRADUATION (2015-16)

Plan

% of School

% of District

% of State

4-Year Private College

45

45

30

4-Year Public College

23

23

30

2-Year Private College

0

0

1

2-Year Public College

26

26

20

Other Post-Secondary

3

3

2

Work

3

3

8

Military

0

0

2

Other

0

0

1

Unknown

0

0

6

 
 
 

DROP-OUT RATES (2015-16)

Student Group

# Enrolled Grades 09 through 12 (Asc)

# Dropout All Grades

% Dropout All Grades

% Dropout Grade 09

% Dropout Grade 10

% Dropout Grade 11

% Dropout Grade 12

African American/Black

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asian

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hispanic or Latino

8

0

0.0

 

 

 

 

Multi-race, non-Hispanic or Latino

8

0

0.0

 

 

 

 

Students with disabilities

23

0

0.0

0.0

 

 

0.0

Economically Disadvantaged

37

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

High Needs

55

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Male

65

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Female

79

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

White

124

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

All Students

144

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

 

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EXPEDITIONARY LEARNING DATA  
-- LINK TO EL DATA PROFILE
IMPLEMENTATION

 

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Total Implementation Review Score

97

100

99

102

99

 
 
EL PRACTICES IN USE
Feedback from the School Climate Survey indicates generally that students, parents, and teachers feel they see EL practices at work in the school:

% who agree or strongly agree


2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Most teachers post learning targets

Students

88

95

92

95

97

Most teachers show models

Students

78

89

88

85

87

Most teachers give feedback to revise work

Students

89

94

95

93

91

I can be myself in this school

Students

74

86

81

81

86

I care about what I'm learning

Students

69

85

78

84

80

Skills/knowledge I'm learning matter beyond the classroom

Students

65

88

70

72

81

Students are held to high academic standards

Students

89

99

89

90

84

Parents

90

95

87

90

94

Teachers

82

82

72

89

89

Students are expected to produce high quality work

Students

95

97

95

92

90

Parents

95

96

96

93

94

Teachers

88

88

86

94

94

Every student is known well by at least 1 adult

Students

74

87

81

82

82

Parents

96

96

81

91

99

Teachers

100

100

86

95

95

The school creates a positive social and emotional environment

Students

69

89

79

84

82

Parents

97

90

87

93

89

Teachers

100

100

95

100

100

 

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