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Our Educational Design

"You have to set the bar high.  If you don't give students high expectations, they won't meet them."

- Professor Richard Marsico, Director, New York Law School Justice Action Center


  • A rigorous curriculum aligned to the Common Core Career and College Readiness Standards

  • Four years of ELA, math, social studies, and science

  • An opportunity to take Spanish or law-related courses

  • The use of law and social justice issues to create an interesting and exciting learning environment that engages and empowers students

  • Mentoring, faculty advising, parental involvement, quality instruction, tutoring, and extensive staff training

  • Mandatory summer bridge program for rising ninth and focusing on writing and communication, literacy, oral and written advocacy, academic skill-building, and time management

  • Opportunities to earn college credit through Advanced Placement courses and enrollment in  college courses at Bronx Community College (College Now)

  • Real-world experience through internships and community service projects, allowing students to connect to the curriculum and develop interests in potential career paths

  • Access to numerous individualized supports for students in need of special education, remediation, or ESL services

  • A goal that 100 percent of graduates will obtain Regents Diplomas and be admitted to college

  • Formal affiliations with New York Law School and the College of Mount Saint Vincent

Academic Overview

Academic Overview

The Charter High School for Law and Social Justice will provide its students with a rigorous educational program and appropriate support services in order to promote high achievement.  The school will create a positive learning environment that stresses academic and social success. Our philosophy will ensure that our students meet and surpass New York State academic achievement standards and graduate prepared for success in college, graduate school, and careers.


The School’s design is based on our belief that all students learn best in an environment that includes high expectations, skilled teachers, an engaging curriculum, data-driven teaching, and adequate supports and interventions. The School will focus on developing the crucial skills of critical thinking and analysis, problem-solving, literacy, effective communication, and collaboration.  Students will achieve content mastery through classroom instruction, simulation exercises, and real-world experiences. The School’s curriculum will be aligned to the Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards and will use law and social justice issues as a framework to help students acquire the essential skills and knowledge needed to achieve academic success. Students will follow a rigorous curriculum that will include four years of ELA, math, social studies, and science. Additionally, students must complete at least one year of Spanish, after which they will have the option of continuing with Spanish or replacing Spanish with law-related courses. All students will also be required to complete a  course sequence in law and social justice, a community service project, and a law office internship. Students will learn by doing not only during field placements but also in the classroom through problem-based learning which will place students in different simulated roles. These experiences, as well as the School’s comprehensive curriculum, will ensure that students develop the knowledge and skills needed to be college and career-ready.


Key Design and Elements

1. A Comprehensive High School
Curriculum that engages students and
empowers them through the study of law
and justice including a Law and
Justice Curriculum sequence,
integration of Law and Social Justice
themes in core content areas, law and
social justice related community
service projects and law-related
2. Summer Bridge
3. Advisory

4. Restorative Approaches to Behavior
5. Early College Experiences including
College Now and AP Courses

Law and Social Justice Theme

The School will incorporate a law and social justice theme into all aspects of its curriculum, as well as after-school clubs and activities. Students will learn about the relationship between law and social justice and will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experiences through social justice community service projects and law office internships. The theme will promote skills such as literacy, writing, oral communication, and critical thinking and will introduce students to skills in trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, and debate. All students will complete a curriculum in law and social justice that will introduce students to the concept of social justice, the relationship between law and social justice movements, and the role students can play using the law as a positive force for social change. The sequence will include courses in civics and civic institutions, the history of law and social justice movements in the United States, and constitutional law. Beginning in tenth grade, students will have the option to take law-related electives in sociology, political science, and government and politics. Additionally, under the direction of a social studies teacher, students will complete a social justice community service project in eleventh grade and a law office internship in twelfth grade. The theme will offer students a different way of looking at the core curriculum, introduce them to big-picture concepts, and empower and inspire them to create positive social changes in society. 

Accelerated Learning Academy

Eighty percent of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. depend upon mastery of mathematics and scientific knowledge and skills. Hone these skills in our new Accelerated Learning Academy! The WEB Du Bois Scholars Institute has created the Accelerated Learning Academy (ALA) to bring welcome and much-needed diversity to STEM studies and industries, especially for others who are underrepresented in these fields yet have a long history of achievement. The ALA provides an opportunity for high-achieving, forward-thinking 10th and 11th graders—students who will evolve into our next generation of engineers, software developers, mathematicians, architects, doctors, and physicists—to explore STEM in new and exciting ways.

College Now

Get a jump start in your college journey with College Now!

College Now is a collaborative program between the City University of New York (CUNY) and the New York City Department of Education (DOE). It is a FREE transition program for qualified NYC public high school students.

Through College Now, students have the opportunity to experience the richness of our campus by having access to our facilities and participating in academic, social and cultural events. Interaction with BCC faculty and students gives College Now students authentic college experience, ease the transition from high school to college and prepares students for a successful academic career.

Law and Social Justice Theme
Accelerated Learning Academy
College Now

English Language Learners Services

The School will comply with all applicable laws and regulations to ensure that language barriers do not preclude a student from equal participation in instructional programs or extracurricular activities. All students who score below “proficient” on the Language Assessment Battery-Revised will be identified as English language learners and will be eligible for services. English language proficiency will be assessed annually and students will continue to receive services until they are able to achieve a score of proficient on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test. English language supports will be integrated into the classroom and content area teachers will use Sheltered Instruction methods and practices to adapt the delivery of lessons to accommodate students with varied levels of English language proficiency. Strategies will include the use of clear and direct instructions, targeting vocabulary development, using visuals and demonstrations, and integrating listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills into each lesson. If needed, the English as a Second Language (“ESL”) teacher will provide push-in services for students. Additionally, students that require more extensive support will be able to receive small group ESL instruction.

Rigorous Curriculum

The School will offer a high-quality, comprehensive high school curriculum designed to help children reach their full potential. The curriculum will be aligned to the New York State Common Core College and Career Readiness Standards.  All students will take four years of ELA, math, social studies, and science. After completing one mandatory year of Spanish, students may choose to continue with Spanish or take law-related courses.  All students will also be required to take a four-year course sequence in law and social justice, complete a social justice community project, and a law office internship. The regular school day will begin at 8:50 AM and end at 4:00 PM. During junior year, all students will participate in an SAT preparation course and in senior year, students will complete a college readiness course. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to take AP courses and courses for credit at Bronx Community College as part of College Now.

Special Education Services

In accordance with all federal laws and regulations, the School will provide students with disabilities a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Students with disabilities will have access to and will participate in the general education curriculum. The School will encourage students to participate fully in both curricular and extracurricular activities while providing them with ample supports. The School will provide at least one Integrated Co-Teaching (“ICT”) class section per subject, per grade. Additionally, Special Education Teacher Support Services (“SETSS”) will be offered to provide supplemental instruction and assistance. Students will be placed in ICT classrooms according to their needs, and will be able to receive SETSS directly and indirectly in the classroom or in a small group setting. Special education services at the School will be flexible so that students with disabilities have access to a wide range of services and the School is able to provide a high-quality education to students with a broad range of disabilities. Services, supports, and learning will be precisely tailored to each student’s unique needs.

ELL Services
Rigorous Curriculum
Special Education Services
STEM Gifted Program
Summer Bridge Programs
Thematic Units of Study

STEM Gifted Programs

The U.S. still has the strongest scientific and technological enterprise and the best research universities in the world. However, numerous business and government leaders are voicing concern that we are in danger of losing our economic advantage if we fail to recommit ourselves to increasing the pipeline of U.S. talent into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This pipeline of talent must begin with early educational experiences and opportunities. Evidence suggests that not only are K-12 students in the United States falling behind their peers internationally in measures of math and science performance, but the current teacher workforce in the U.S. is not trained to provide a demanding math and science curriculum. As a result, U.S. students are not filling the seats in our nation's post-secondary science and math programs. Our country needs qualified U.S. employees to fill crucial national security, innovative science, and leading technology jobs. Supporting gifted and talented students with appropriate services in every school district would bring promising results in increased college attendance in math and science, resulting in a direct pipeline of talent for the future.

Summer Bridge Program

All rising ninth students will participate in a summer bridge program. The program will introduce students to the School's culture, environment, and expectations and will focus on skill-building in order to prepare students for the rigorous upcoming school year. Instruction and activities will support academic, social, and emotional development and will assist students in their transition to high school, in developing positive peer and adult relationships, and in building interest in college and career pathways. Based on initial assessment data, teachers will focus supplemental instruction to provide remediation or enrichment according to student need.  Programming will focus on enhancing academic skills such as literacy, critical thinking and analysis, mathematical competency, and effective oral and written communication. Furthermore, each student, with the assistance of teachers and guidance counselors, will begin to develop his or her Individual Learning Plan. Through an exploration of law and social justice issues, students will develop vital research and writing skills and engage in debate, role play, and moot court activities. Students will participate in field trips to the College of Mount Saint Vincent and New York Law School to gain early exposure to college life and careers in law and to begin to foster a "college-going" culture. Additionally, rising twelfth-grade students will attend a college preparatory bridge program on the campus of the College of Mount Saint Vincent or through College Now at Bronx Community College, The program will offer a college readiness curriculum as well as career and college planning.


Thematic Units of Study

Teachers will employ the principles of Understanding by Design to develop thematic units of study. This design framework will facilitate an integrated curriculum whereby social studies and ELA teachers design thematic units that will help students see the connections among ideas, ensure the development of college-level skills and provide students with opportunities to examine issues related to law and social justice. This approach will require students to examine various perspectives while exploring the social and historical contexts of an issue or problem.

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