Positive Outcomes Charter School
A state Board of Education chartered school for motivated students in grades 7-12 who have underachieved in traditional settings (positiveoutcomes.org)
Delaware’s oldest existing charter, Positive Outcomes aims to empower and inspire motivated, at-risk students to pursue their passions and take charge of their learning.
The student body is tough to categorize: It has teens with social anxiety and high functioning Asperger’s Syndrome, but not severe behavior problems or developmental delays.
“We work with kids who have not tasted success for a variety of reasons,” says principal Steve Norman. “They taste it here, and it’s great. You can feel and see it when students go from not wanting to go to [their former] school to wanting to come here every day.”
Supported by six partner organizations, the school has teachers with special education certification and small class sizes. The curriculum revolves around active practices like an internship program, Learning Through Interests, mentoring, and project-based work. The model includes four core expectations—that students become self-reliant, lifelong learners, contribute to their communities and act with integrity. The goal is to produce graduates that succeed in college, career and life, Norman says.
At each of the school’s three charter reauthorizations, it garnered commendations from the DOE was well as waivers from achievement standards because of its service commitment to a challenging population, according to the school’s Web site.
The school, which serves all three counties, is under academic review because it has failed to meet school-wide performance standards under the federal No Child Left Behind. A report is expected in 2013.
Did you know: When labeled a failure by media following placement in The Partnership Zone for school improvement, commitment surged throughout the Positive Outcomes community. Teachers, administration and parents embraced it as an opportunity for bold change, epitomizing the school’s name.