, first launched in May of 2008, is an innovative program that integrates Spanish language instruction, cultural immersion, and community service learning for all eligible Prospect Hill Academy Juniors. Junior Journey encompasses a three week stay in Antigua, Guatemala. The program combines four hours of daily one-on-one Spanish language instruction with cultural immersion through homestays with local families and service learning in an environment where each student can have a long-lasting and reciprocal impact on the people they serve.
Exhibitions of Student Work
In addition to traditional measures of academic achievement, at least once per academic year, all Prospect Hill Academy Middle and Upper School students are required to present and defend their work publicly for the benefit of an external audience (parents/guardians, community members, outside educators, etc.). The goal of these exhibition evenings is threefold: (1) to equip PHA students with the confidence and skills to demonstrate their knowledge to a wider audience; (2) to emphasize that real-life learning transcends the walls of school; and (3) to prepare students for the challenges of college and the real world.
Prospect Hill Academy believes that all students should graduate from high school with functional fluency in at least one language other than English. Considering the demands and opportunities of the 21st Century global economy, all Prospect Hill Academy students—from Kindergarten through Grade 12—are therefore obliged to take and pass Spanish each year throughout their time at the school, culminating with an oral proficiency assessment as a requirement for graduation. In the early grades, the instructional focus is on exposure through song, sound, and play, and as students progress, they learn to read, write, speak, and listen through increasingly complex challenges. All throughout, a heavy emphasis is placed on the fundamental interplay between language and culture.
Collaborative Inquiry is Prospect Hill Academy’s core professional development model embedded in the belief that powerful learning occurs when teams of educators intentionally collaborate to evaluate the effectiveness of their classroom instruction. The Collaborative Inquiry cycle begins with the determination of critical skill objectives and the setting of measurable goals for student achievement. From there, teachers incorporate research-based Best Practices into their instructional plans and assessment designs. They then implement the instructional and assessment plans, grade and analyze assessment results to identify gaps in achievement, interpret results to determine potential causes of these gaps, and finally adjust instruction and/or revise curriculum to ensure that all students achieve mastery of the essential skills. This cycle is iterative and ongoing with the goal of sustained, systematic, and demonstrable progress over time.
Collaborative Inquiry Showcase
In the spirit of disseminating Best Practices and sharing knowledge within our professional community, teams of Prospect Hill Academy teachers who can clearly demonstrate the successful impact of one or more particular instructional strategies are encouraged to present their work to colleagues at our annual Collaborative Inquiry Showcase. Building on the belief that teachers possess the knowledge, skill, and expertise to positively impact student achievement, the Showcase serves as an important occasion for teachers to learn from one another, to be recognized publicly for their successes, and to disseminate strategies that are known to enhance the lives and learning of all students.
Teacher Leadership Academy
The mission of the Prospect Hill Academy Teacher Leadership Academy (PHA-TLA) is to empower K-12 teacher-leaders with the capacity to guide and support their colleagues to improve their professional practice in service of student learning at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School. Given that Prospect Hill Academy (a) employs a significant percentage of novice teachers; (b) frequently bestows formal leadership upon teachers who may never have assumed such roles before; (c) is unapologetically committed to ongoing improvement in service of student learning; (d) operates from a Theory of Action fundamentally grounded in ongoing adult collaboration, PHA-TLA was established as a forum to guide and support the growth and development teacher-leaders so that they, in turn, can effectively guide and support the growth and development of the colleagues with whom they work.