As an alternative high school in Philadelphia, El Centro de Estudiantes operates differently than other neighborhood high schools. Instead of grades, El Centro move students through its academic program via a cohort model that begins with an introduction to the school (Gateway) and concludes with graduating "seniors" (401). All students begin in Gateway regardless of age or credit accumulation.
Below is a summary of the Cohort Model:
Focus on identity and interest exploration. Students receive an overview of the el Centro model, norms, and expectations to graduate; complete a thoroughly researched interest-based project for presentation to their peers; complete a "Who am I" project aimed at identifying interests and passions; participate in weekly "leaving to learn" trips; and complete an "Experience Portfolio" for use in internship preparation.
Focus on experience and community connections. Students participate in Serving Learning Actions; develop Legacy Project vision and prototype for completion in 401; participate in regular service learning trips; complete informational interviews; and "shadow" an employee in a field of interest.
Focus on self-determination and networking. Students complete skills assessments; research and prototype their Legacy Projects; participate in Real World Learning through research experiences; attend post-secondary education visits; and begin their internships.
Focus on personal legacy and next steps. Students complete and present their Legacy Projects; complete post-secondary portfolios; and continue their internships.
Students enroll in September, January, or March, and graduate in December, March, or June. To learn more about enrollment, click here