Mission: The mission of blackstone academy charter school is to build a strong community of learners and leaders. Our small educational environment helps foster independent inquiry, teamwork, and communication. Our students develop the skills to solve problems and use their voices in ways that lead to success in the academic, social, and professional arenas. They demonstrate their achievements through a process of discovery, presentation, and reflection. Community involvement and community improvement are key themes at bacs. In addition to classes, our portfolio system structures the progression of their learning by having students study themselves and their relationships to others, move forward with an exploration of the local community, and ultimately integrate an understanding of the wider world as students become responsible, motivated, life-long learners.
Programs: Blackstone academy charter school inc. Includes a free public secondary charter high school and related support services for students from the cities of providence, pawtucket, and central falls, ri. The school is authorized and evaluated by the rhode island department of education (ride). During fy '14, the school was named a "commended" school by the ri department of education for the third year in a row. This distinction occurred because of state assessment scores being at or above state average despite the fact that 80% of the students attending qualify for free/reduced lunch. The commended status also took into consideration the nearly non-existent drop-out rate and high graduation rate. It should be noted that blackstone academy was the only open lottery urban high school in the state to earn the distinction for three years in a row. College acceptances for the class of 2014 included a record number of very competitive colleges including amherst college, brown university, wellesley college, brandeis university, boston college, mount holyoke college, hampshire college and clark university to name a few. The high amount of merit scholarships awarded to this class made it possible for 10/36 students to attend competitive private colleges. Nearly all members of the graduating class were first in their family to attend college. The spirit educational program supports students from blackstone academy and surrounding school districts (providence, pawtucket and central falls, rhode island). The six week summer program engaged 115 students while the twice per month saturday academy and college visit program hosted at least 160 participants throughout the year. Student had a choice of twenty different college visits throughout the school year. This thirty year old program had a summer attendance rate of more than 90% of students all of whom were there on a voluntary basis. The students engaged in project-based learning activities in the community and completed substantial service learning projects. After completing pre/post math and writing assessments, 35% showed significant gains in math and 32% showed significant gains in writing. More than 80% of the students reported that spirit helped them to feel better about themselves, form positive relationships with adults and return to school with a positive outlook on learning. Boston university professor scott seider chose blackstone academy as one of seven schools in the northern united states to study as part of a five year research project. Blackstone was initially chosen because of the successful student academic outcomes and because there is early evidence that the school's focus on civic engagement and school culture is positively affecting these outcomes. Additionally, a boston university sociology phd. Candidate is focusing her research on the effects of blackstone's school culture on the positive cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes of special needs students.
I've been involved with this public charter high school for over five years. I did a small consulting project at the school as was so impressed with the incredible work that they are doing with primarily low-income kids from the communities of Pawtucket and Central Falls, RI that I asked to join the board of directors when my project ended. This year, the school was rated Commendable -- the top rating given by the Rhode Island Department of Education. Beyond the extraordinary dedication of all of the staff at the school, I'm impressed with this model where education includes development of the whole student. All of our students are involved with community improvement projects where they not only learn authentically, but also have the opportunity to become leaders and learn real grit. Many charters that serve high school want their kids starting in elementary or middle school so that by the time they are taking high school tests they score high marks. We take kids in 9th grade and they make great progress. And they stay -- we want our kids to graduate, even if it takes 5 years. Our 4 year graduation rate is 90%., which is phenomenal for an urban high school. And most of our graduates are going off to four year colleges. Come visit. BACS is one of a kind!