When students play at their own level, they all win.

We use a core curriculum that’s aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning, but that’s only half the story. We take the time to ascertain where students are academically and set appropriate targets for their achievement that bolster foundational skills. We also provide the personal support students need to continuously up their game thanks to our low teacher to student ratio (1:8-9) and low behavior specialist to student ratio (also 1:8-9).

Language Arts

Our Language Arts curriculum teaches students the language abilities they need to communicate effectively as individuals and as contributing members of society. Students at any grade level develop skills in various SOL language strands including: oral language, written language, reading, research and media/technology use, but the specific expectations for what students study at different grade levels vary.


The Charterhouse course of study in mathematics is organized in five strands: number and operations, measurement, geometry, data analysis and probability, and algebra. The objectives for each student are based on individual assessment and grade level SOLs. We have developed a framework upon which classroom instruction and assessment are planned. Our curriculum lays out the mathematical concepts, skills, operations, and relationships that all students should learn and understand.

Social Studies

Charterhouse sees social studies as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote effective citizenry. Our social studies program integrates such disciplines as economics, history, geography, anthropology, archaeology, law, philosophy, political science, religion, and sociology. It also ties into what they are learning in humanities, mathematics, and the natural sciences.


The science curriculum is SOL/IEP-based for students in grades 1-12 and integrated across disciplines. It is developmentally appropriate and challenges students to think critically and solve problems. 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.

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, fabric art, and printmaking. Art class at Charterhouse School gives students a supportive place to explore, think, learn and grow. Many students find that art is an effective coping skill as they deal with some of the problems and frustrations they face in their daily lives.


Our music program develops students’ music appreciation and gives them the opportunity to express their creativity through performance. We give all students the opportunity to play and perform with an instrument. Students perform at the yearly talent show and coffeehouse as well as other special events. The classroom has a digital recording studio 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 and encourage healthy and active lifelong behaviors. Activities include volleyball, basketball, flag football, soccer, and swimming. Our PE coaches also have access to our on-campus ropes course for integrating team building and problem solving with physical education. In addition, we cover social, emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health topics that include making responsible decisions, and healthy eating/nutrition.

Computer/Technology Skills

This program teaches the essential knowledge and skills that all students need to be active, lifelong learners in a technology-intensive environment. With new and improved technologies appearing almost daily, the curriculum is designed to form the foundation for continuous learning and adaptability. Students receive technology instruction twice a week in the mobile computer lab. Instructional topics include using internet resources, creating documents, using spreadsheets, developing presentations, image editing and some basic coding. Every classroom has four or five networked workstations and access to a set of iPads with internet access that students use to complete a wide variety of assignments given by classroom teachers.

Culinary Arts Program

Our 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, and students have the opportunity to obtain their ServSafe food service industry certification. Personal growth and skill development opportunities also are provided through business and community relations.

Cosmetology Program

Charterhouse offers coursework to prepare 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.

Horticulture Program

Through this program, Charterhouse provides our students classroom instruction and hands-on experience managing gardens and greenhouses. In addition to the vocational benefit of horticulture, our students also find great therapeutic value in working with plants and the earth. Students learn to grow a variety of plants, vegetables, and flowers in our on-campus greenhouse, raised flowerbeds, and Dream Garden. Our students gain real world experience designing and arranging centerpieces and bouquets for special events and for sale. The vegetables raised are used in our culinary arts program in which students learn to prepare fresh, healthy meals. Students also gain valuable business experience coordinating the sale of perennials raised in the greenhouse through our annual spring plant sale.

Video production

Our video production program is geared toward teaching students how to shoot, edit, and produce for TV and digital media. Students work with our Media Specialist, Technology Teacher, and interns from VCU’s Mass Media program to write and produce various documentaries and other videos in our media center, Studio UMFS.

College Support

Courage to Succeed is our college program for students with neurological differences, including high functioning autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, and traumatic brain injury. The program seeks to help students learn skills that will help them earn a college degree, work in their chosen field, and live a productive, independent, and happy life. Three days a week students work towards their Associates Degrees by attending courses at a local community college. On other days, students work with their social coaches and peer group on study skills, experiential social skills activities, and self advocacy. The program uses social and academic supports to assist participating students. Social, communication, academic, leisure and personal living skills are assessed and developed through a planned approach.