A Charter School, District School, and Parochial School Collaborate

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

In this Kappan article, Diana Lam describes how her Boston charter school is partnering with a parochial school and a regular Boston public school, each sharing its strengths. The partnership focuses on five areas:

  • Designing project-based Expeditionary Learning curriculum units and implementing effective classroom practices aligned with Common Core;
  • Using interim assessment data and student work to refine instruction and reteach concepts that students failed to master (Achievement Network is helping the schools with assessment design and coaching teacher teams);
  • Implementing arts programs, including joint musical performances (the charter school is implementing the El Sistema orchestral music program);
  • Implementing programs in social-emotional learning being used by the parochial school;
  • Focusing on effective practices for English language learners pioneered by the district school.

“Every school has something to learn and something to teach,” concludes Lam. “There is nothing fundamentally different about the students or teachers at a public school, private school, or charter school… Real reform occurs when teachers convene, trade ideas, implement and refine them in their classrooms, and become sounding boards and resources for one another… When teachers can reach through the political haze of school competition, students and communities benefit.”


“Charter, Private, and Public Schools Work Together in Boston” by Diana Lam in Phi Delta Kappan, February 2014 (Vol. 95, #5, p. 35-39),; Lam can be reached at

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