El Centro de Estudiantes

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Approach to Learning » The Cohort Model

The Cohort Model

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