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Language Arts

The purpose of the English Language Arts curriculum is to teach students the language abilities they need to communicate effectively as individuals and as contributing members of society. It is a spiraling curriculum in the sense that many of the same skills develop over time.

Students at any grade level continue to develop skills in the three language strands of oral language, written language, and media/technology use.

The specific expectations for what students study at different grade levels vary. All students read and write and use technology, but the expectations about what they read and write and how they use media are different.

Likewise, at all grades students study some common content:
  • language of the discipline (plot, theme, setting, etc.);
  • language conventions (sentence structure, mechanics, spelling and punctuation, etc.); and
  • different genre (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama).


The Charterhouse course of study is organized in five strands: Number and Operations, Measurement, Geometry, Data Analysis and Probability, and Algebra. The objectives for each goal progress in complexity at each grade level. It is the framework upon which classroom instruction and assessment should be planned. The curriculum describes the mathematical concepts, skills, operations, and relationships that all students should learn and understand.

Students in the Extended School Year program have remedial math in the computer lab.

Social Studies

Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote effective citizenry. Within the program, social studies provide coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as economics, history, geography, anthropology, archaeology, law, philosophy, political science, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and the natural sciences.


The science curricula are SOL/IEP based for students in grades 5-12 and integrated across disciplines. It is developmentally appropriate while challenging students to think critically and solve problems. Our goal is to provide students with tools to help them:

Learn multiple ways of developing meaningful knowledge
  • Solve problems logically and creatively
  • Find or determine answers to questions derived from everyday experiences.
  • Describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena.
  • Engage in non-technical conversation about the validity of conclusions.
  • Pose explanations based on evidence derived from one's own work.

The science program integrates all of the various disciplines to develop independence and self-confidence. We recognize pre-adolescent and adolescent students are constantly growing and changing. As a result, we have designed individual lessons that address the Virginia Standards and multiple intelligences allowing our students to work at their own level. Technology is a vital part of our science curriculum. Our science lab is equipped with a Smart Board interactive teaching tool that allows the teacher to present material in new and creative ways.

Art Education

The art program at Charterhouse School is designed to encourage students to learn and to express themselves using a variety of media and techniques in an open studio setting. The students work on a range of projects with one on one teacher assistance. Some of the areas they are encouraged to explore are ceramics, sculpture, jewelry making, watercolor, acrylic painting, graphite and pastel drawing, fabric art, and printmaking. The art room offers a potter’s wheel, a kiln, and an iMac computer featuring Adobe and Corel graphic programs. Students exhibit a great deal of confidence, growth in their skill level, and pride in their creations. Many students find that art is an effective coping skill as they deal with some of the problems and frustrations that they face in their daily lives. Art class at Charterhouse School gives students a supportive place to explore, to think, to learn, and to grow.


The music program centers on two goals: developing students’ music appreciation as well as giving them the opportunity to express their creativity through music performance.

In music appreciation, students learn about music from different eras and cultures exploring why people of a certain era liked the music that they did. Students learn what to listen for and to appreciate different types of music.

We have a variety of musical instruments and equipment (keyboards, microphones, guitars, drums, etc.) to give all students the opportunity to play and perform with an instrument. Students perform at the yearly talent show (Coffeehouse) as well as quarterly commencements. The classroom also includes a digital recording studio (Chimination Studios) for those students who wish to produce and record their original compositions.

Physical Education and Health

The health and physical education program focuses on learning a variety of skills that enhance a student's quality of life leading to healthy and active lifelong behaviors. The course encourages health-promoting behaviors among youth through a variety of activities, such volleyball, basketball, flag football, soccer, and swimming. Youth are encouraged to support their peers and also challenge themselves as individuals during various team-building and recreational games.

Topics covered in health classes include various health topics (social, emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health), making responsible decisions, and healthy eating/nutrition.

Since 2008, students have been given the opportunity to participate in the Monument Avenue 10k race (walk/run) in Richmond. Students learn to set short-term and long-term goals through this activity while participating youth and staff train together for two months prior to the event.

Charterhouse School participates in the RASSL League (Richmond Alternative School Sports League) in soccer, basketball, and softball.

Computer/Technology Skills

The course identifies the essential knowledge and skills that all students need to be active, lifelong learners in a technology intensive environment. Technology is undergoing rapid change, and new and improved technological advances appear almost daily. The curriculum is designed to form the foundation for continuous learning and to be applicable to ever-changing innovations.

Each classroom has four or five networked workstations with Internet access. Students use these workstations to complete a wide variety of assignments given by classroom teachers throughout the year, such as writing an English paper using Microsoft Word, designing a rocket and testing its flight for a science assignment online at a NASA interactive website, or doing research for a history project.

We subscribe to Discovery Education’s United Streaming which features instructional videos in many subjects. Currently, our science teachers use United Streaming videos to deliver science instruction to classroom desktops. These videos are aligned with the Virginia science SOLs.

Students receive technology instruction twice a week in the computer lab instruction in Microsoft Office products, including MS Word, Excel, Access, Publisher and PowerPoint. Other topics include movie-making using Windows Movie Maker, learning programming basics using Alice to create 3D graphic animation, developing keyboarding skills, photo editing, making web pages, and career-related projects.

Career and Technical Education

The culinary arts program prepares students for entry-level jobs and emphasizes occupational skills for workers in the food service and hospitality Industry. Units of study include safety and sanitation, basic cooking methods and techniques, introduction to baking, short order cookery, meat and vegetable cookery and beverage preparation in operating a simulated restaurant and catering service. Experience is gained through both lab and classroom activities. Personal growth and skill development opportunities also are provided through business and community relations.

The cosmetology program prepares students for the Virginia Board for Cosmetology Licensing Examination. Students learn to shampoo, style, set, permanent wave, chemically relax and color/treat hair. In addition, students learn to consult, advise, and create personalized service, such as manicures, facials, and makeup for clients. During the second year, students demonstrate learned skills by operating a school-sponsored beauty salon or by working at professional salons in the area.

To be eligible to take the Virginia Board for Cosmetology Licensing Examination, students must earn 6 credits and pass classes with a grade of 75% or higher for each course component, work 480 hours or more in an approved salon and have all competencies completed.

Social Skills/Independent Living Skills

The program focuses on helping students develop greater awareness and understanding of perspectives different from their own as a means for improving conversation skills, developing relationships with peers, interacting cooperatively, handling conflict and developing self regulation.

Service Learning

Service learning is a powerful teaching and learning methodology. When tied to classroom curriculum, service learning integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.


Charterhouse School – Intensive Treatment Program

Charterhouse School offers year-round education for students in the Child & Family Healing Center using a one-room schoolhouse approach. Students who live together go to school together. The core subjects are taught in the homeroom; at Charterhouse School the students stay in the same room, while the teachers move. For other classes, such as art, music, and PE, the students move as a group to the specialized classrooms.