Codman Academy Charter Public School Partnership

Codman Academy opened its doors as a high school in 2001 as the product of innovation and collaboration between founders Meg Campbell, Bill Walczak, and George Brackett. In 2013, Codman undertook an ambitious project to expand to include grades K1-8; after more than doubling both our staff and student body, we now serve 345 students across grades K1-12 and 336 alumni of all ages. Codman’s vision is to educate the whole student: mind, body, and character. Using the city and world as our classroom, we have built a school community rich in rigorous academics and daily experiences of discovery.

Codman places a high premium on student retention and supporting students through high school graduation and into higher education and careers. 100% of Codman graduates have been accepted to college since our founding. 100% of students complete an internship before they graduate high school – a requirement that encourages students to explore potential career paths, supports students to follow their passions, and establishes a strong network for post-graduate success.

Being located in an area that is traditionally underserved, Codman places a high premium on fostering a passion for social justice. Social justice is an integral part of every aspect of Codman Academy, from our academic curriculum to our restorative justice disciplinary system. Codman students and graduates demonstrate both an awareness of social justice issues and a commitment to give back to the community through the development of critical consciousness and the ability to recognize, name, and take action against systems of oppression and racism that are present in almost every facet of our society.

Students at Codman Academy demonstrate a commitment to social justice and interest in giving back to the community in a variety of ways. In the Upper School, Humanities classes afford students the opportunity to explore differing concepts of justice, learn about resistance movements in and out of the United States, and critically examine common versions of history. Math and science classes also explore issues related to social justice including the study of climate change and sustainable living, the physics of traffic flow as it relates to pedestrian safety, and ethical dilemmas stemming from advances in biology. As part of Codman’s founding partnership with the Huntington Theatre Company, all 9th and 10th grade students perform an annual showcase for the community. The 10th grade writes and performs their own production, based on the texts read in Humanities class that explore a number of social justice issues. The production focuses on power, freedom, and equality struggles in 19th century America, which are the basis for original scenes written by students. The 9th grade portion is focused on themes of justice and injustice, specifically as it relates to the end of Apartheid in South Africa and the ramifications of oppressive systems.

Theatre is proven to strengthen a variety of core academic skills, including writing, reading, and public speaking. At Codman, we strive to give our students access to the same resources and opportunities that a student from an affluent neighborhood might experience, such as theatre and the arts. Through Codman’s partnerships across the city, students are exposed to unique opportunities across an array of disciplines. The Huntington Theatre Company - a founding partner - hosts Codman students every Friday as a part of an innovative partnership that improves students' reading comprehension, literacy, critical reading and thinking, vocabulary, and public speaking skills.

In addition to our Huntington Saturday enrichment course, the Huntington Theatre Company is woven throughout our classroom curriculum. Each year, our 10th Grade Humanities teacher connects recent social justice issues to historical social justice cases in a year-long course that culminates in a Showcase Performance at the Huntington Theatre. The 10th graders are split into four groups, each with a different theme; either power, culture, equality, or freedom. In relation to their theme, students must prepare two scenes for the Showcase, one from a historic event in U.S. history and one from a modern social justice issue. For example, students prepared a scene on Harriet Tubman’s escape to the North and a segment about the symbolic escape for

freedom in the Black Lives Matter movement. The Showcase is a pivotal point of growth for Codman students in both their academic and social justice journey. As a public event, it requires long hours of preparation at school and the theatre, bringing families, activists, and the Codman community together.

At Codman, we believe in supporting students to lead their own learning, so it is especially important that our teachers provide clear, specific learning targets for our students, to ensure the classroom content stays its course. For example, our 10th Grade Humanities Teacher focuses on three major themes: identifying the historical trajectory of oppression in U.S. history, analyzing how current resistance movements are informed by historical resistance movements, and explaining examples of how oppression in early American history impacts people today. For a U.S. history course, these overarching learning goals will be used as a guide of the showcase curriculum for the year. We are so grateful for The Huntington Theatre Company for being a part of such a unique partnership that brings learning to life.

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