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The Ten Common Principles
BDEA's competency-based curriculum upholds the Ten Common Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools:
- Learning to use one's mind well
- Less is more, depth over coverage
- Goals apply to all students
- Student-as-worker, teacher-as-coach
- Demonstration of mastery
- A tone of decency and trust
- Commitment to the entire school
- Resources dedicated to teaching and learning
- Democracy and equity
(For more information, please visit the Coalition of Essential Schools' website at www.essentialschools.org)
Using these principles as guides, BDEA focuses on one essential question per school year, and uses profound inquiry, careful reflection, andrelevent connections accross disciplines to gain knowledge and understanding along with academic skills. This year, the essential question is: How do the systems that make up our world affect they way we live?
Habits of Mind
Along with the Ten Common Principles, BDEA integrates 6 Habits of Mind that serve as methods of academic inquiry, as well as habits of academic and non-academic interaction. By incorporating the Habits of Mind into their behavior, students learn to expand their frames of reference, create connections, and see possibilities in all aspects of their lives. The Habits of Mind are:
For a more detailed description of the Habits of Mind, please visit our Habits of Mind Lecture Series page.
Three Steps to Graduation
Every BDEA student must complete three steps before receiving a high school diploma: Passing the MCAS exam, demonstrating competency in all core subjects, and completing and presenting a capstone project.
MCAS Exam: Some students enter BDEA already having taken the exam, passing one or both subjects. For students who have either not taken the exam, or have taken it and failed, BDEA offers intensive literacy and numeracy preperation, so that students may take the exam in May, or the retest in November. For more information on the MCAS exam, please visit the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website at www.doe.mass.edu/mcas
BDEA Benchmarks: BDEA carefully crafts its benchmarks to match with state frameworks, answering the question "What should a high school graduate know and be able to do?". BDEA's curriculum is rigorous, and students may only earn benchmarks after demonstrating full competency based on a variety of qualitative and quantitative assessments. Benchmarks are designed to place students on an equal level with all other high schools, as well as preparing them for the higher education and/or the workplace. For more information on the MA State Frameworks, please visit www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html
Capstone Project: The capstone project combines research componant with a written project. Many students choose to add an artistic componant as well, filming a documentary, or incorporating a musical or visual art piece. Capstone projects also include a portfolio of student work describing their path through BDEA. Students work hard researching and developing their topics and portfolios, and must present them to a panel comprised of BDEA faculty, staff, board members, parents, and community members. Presentations are judged based on student knowledge of subject material, ability to communicate clearly and effectively, and new conclusions, connections, and relfections that have occured as a result of the project. If you are interested in being on a capstone panel, please contact the Advancement Office at 617-635-6789 ext. 214.