The Whole Life Charter School is a proposed new charter high school in Cheltenham, accepting students from neighboring districts, including Philadelphia. This charter school was underwritten by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a thoughtful space for learning alternatives. WLCS will be constructed with the guiding principles ofBig Picture Learning and geared toward students with learning differences.
This free public school will offer: a small school, small class sizes, student choice, student-initiated learning, learning by doing, strong and daily student advisory, intense project work, cooperative learning, and teaching the whole student. The school day will begin later (consistent with research on adolescent sleep needs), and have a very different structure from traditional high school schedules, with longer blocks of time and more integration of subjects (rather than typical 45 minute periods for each discrete subject). There will also be time spent each day honing skills for standardized tests, community meetings, and exercising.
I attended an informational meeting for interested families. The team for WLCS is very committed and hopeful for a September 2010 or January 2011 opening. They have three options for possible locations and will select once the charter is approved. Cheltenham residents will have first priority for the school, but any remaining slots may be filled with students in neighboring districts. The WLCS team anticipates plenty out-of-district slots for students.