high school holidays

Charette High School

Urban Planning / Historic Preservation High School

For Providence, RI

Providence's Community Charter High School.

The school’s home is located at 335 Westminster Street, across from the historic Grace Church and the Kinsley Building. The school is located on the second floor of an Art Deco building, at the corner of Snow and Westminster Streets, which also houses the RI Secretary of State’s Archives. We are located a short walk from Kennedy Plaza and other RIPTA bus stops.

Charette High School does not discriminate in the enrollment of students, employment of faculty and staff or use of volunteers for programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity or disability.

For the love of Providence Charette High School

Something exciting is happening in Providence, Rhode Island. In September of 2018 a small, safe, and supportive charter high school will open its doors to 84 students in the 9th and 10th grade. Enrolling only from Providence, Charette High School was born from a love of the city. The themes of urban planning and historic preservation will be a vehicle to understand how Providence’s future will be shaped while its past respected.

Charette is a four-year high school which will use the Summit Curricular model in its college prep program. Our themes of Urban Planning and Historic Preservation are the way in which Charette students engage the community and learn to become participants in civic affairs and problem solvers and critical thinkers. Charette is not a school specifically designed for students who want to become architects or planners. We’d like it if that passion was fostered by Charette, but we’re realistic. Any student who wants a four-year college prep high school experience in a dynamic environment will love Charette. The theme of urban planning and historic preservation will get our students into the community all the time and they’ll be working on cool projects as a regular part of their school day and experience!

About our School

Mission Statement:

Charette exists to inspire students:

Core Purpose:

Providence has been referred to as the “Design Capital” and, as such, serves as a perfect location for Charette with its theme of urban planning. As long as people have a propensity to adapt and reshape their environments, urban planning and historic preservation will remain a self-perpetuating theme. Charette will connect students to the future and past while challenging them in the present. The creation of a citizenry aware of the complexities of effective communication and collaboration, design-thinking and planning is as critical to our country’s survival in the 21st Century (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2017) as the creation of an educated and literate citizenry was to our country’s success as a World Leader and democracy in the 20th Century. Currently, urban planning concerns, such as the I195 tract, the IN Bank Building (aka Superman), the Rhodemap Plan, the future of Providence’s Waterfront, new mass transit systems and spaces, port expansion, preserving open space, increasing capacity of ground water runoff containment and crumbling infrastructure and neighborhood revitalization are all issues which need smart answers, and smarter citizens, to help solve them.

Charette’s Guiding Principles:

Program Highlights:

An Overview of the School’s Educational Program: Charette is a small high school which serves Providence students through a blended learning program and a thematic focus on Urban Planning and Preservation Arts. The Summit Learning Program, which includes access to the Summit Learning Platform, a comprehensive curriculum, in-person professional development and ongoing support will be used within the school’s blocked schedule to support core content academics and theme-based mission. Project-based and community-based learning are a priority with weekly opportunities for field work. The school’s core content teachers are supported by the position of Community Partnerships Coordinator who has experience in either urban planning or preservation arts/architecture.

A Description of the Unique Features and Mission Specific Focus: Real-world examples of Urban Planning and Historic Preservation will be worked on in charette, a collaborative problem-solving session. Theme integration will be the responsibility of a blended educator corps certified subject area teachers and support staff working with designers, community organizers, planners, and architects.

Governance and Management: The Board of Trustees will operate as a school board while employing the structure of a non-profit board. The nine-member board will be comprised of two parents, a DaVinci Center representative, five members from the educational or non-profit sectors, and one professional planner or architect. School administration will outsource finance and benefits operations to professionals to guard against internal fraud or error. The board will operate in accordance to its by-laws and state and federal regulations.

Teaching, Support, and Supervision: Core content teachers will work in teams with a class-size of twenty-one. Teachers will be supported by an educational staff who are Planners and architects and supervision will be performed by certified and trained administrator in the latest version of EPSS through RIDEMap.

Organizational Plan and Relationships with Organizations: Charette is a self-operating public charter school with 501c3 status and with no Essential Partner. Universities, businesses, and other non-profit organizations, focused on shared missions and student learning, have expressed, through dialogue and letters of support, their commitment to strong partnerships.

Ultimate Hopes of Charette: Through engaged learning surrounding land use and historic preservation, Charette students will become empowered to enhance their community, culturally and economically, now and in the future.

Summit Learning Experience

At Charette High School

In keeping with our mission, a major goal at Charette is to promote student self-directed learning. In its broadest meaning, the most common definition of self-directed learning describes a process in which “individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in [assessing] their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes” (Knowles, 1975).

Charette High School is thrilled to become a member of the Summit Learning Community with on-going support from New England Basecamp in our effort to accomplish this goal. We have provided valuable links to Summit Learning below for a detailed information, but Summit Learning describes what students, teachers, parents and school leaders will experience in Charette’s self-directed learning model.

Students, the reason for Charette’s being, you are empowered to become self-directed learners—you set goals for you learning, reflect on your progress and build habits and mindsets to help you succeed in college, career and life with mentorship from your teachers. You will participate in learning experiences within the community. As a focus of the school you will participate in activities that focus on urban planning and historical preservation examining your world and designing ways to make it better. In these efforts, you will be supported by your teachers, school leaders, and parents/guardians to achieve your goals. You will

For more information, we strongly encourage you to visit these sites!


Dr. Robert Pilkington is a thirty-three-year veteran of public education and specializes in charter school organizational design and operation. Beginning as a per-diem substitute is 1985, and currently serving as a Superintendent, Rob taught English in the Providence School Department where he also served as a longtime executive board member of the Providence Teachers Union, AFT Local 958. Opening the first charter school in RI in 1997, which still stands as the only district to charter conversion in the state, has led to other opportunities including founding the RI League of Charter Schools in 2001, the turnaround of an arts school with a revoked charter in 2005, the founding RI’s first Middle College with a nursing focus in 2010 and Village Green Virtual, RI’s only bricks and mortar virtual school in 2012. Currently, Rob has been green lighted by the RI Department of Education to open his fifth charter school. The new school with an Urban Planning and Historic Preservation theme is slated to open in September of 2018. Schools under Rob’s leadership have a long history of leading RI in growth across all assessments and grades as well as cross-state comparisons.

Kathy Vespia, Ed.D. serves as Executive Director. She has a passion for community-led innovation and design thinking. She has created community living options for children, pioneered a local arts center, and designed educational programs aboard one of RI’s premiere tall ships. As Chair of the Education program as Salve Regina University, Dr. Vespia spearheaded the introduction of technology and induction coaching to promote teaching and learning. As a former psychologist at the MET high school, she witnessed the power of self-directed, personalized experiential learning. Leveraging this experience, she designed a new successful alternative secondary program in Attleboro, MA. Born and educated in Providence, she is committed to the future of our city and, especially, to the youth of Charette, who will shape it for generations to come.

Our Building

Standing at 335 Westminster Street, along with the “Superman Building” and the Kresge Department Store, is one of Providence’s last remaining Art Deco buildings. Built in 1925, 335 Westminster Street currently houses the RI Secretary of State’s Archives on the first floor and Charette Charter School on the second floor. Our school facility will be completely contained within the second floor of the building. Our Westminster Street entrance opens into a grand foyer with a large terrazzo tile staircase. The 8,000 square facility will accommodate a reception and waiting center, administrative office, and conference room, six classrooms, nurse’s office, computer assisted design lab and café for breakfast and lunch. The school facility is fully handicapped accessible, has up-to-date fire control and security systems and will undergo a complete cosmetic renovation in the summer of 2018. Of course, all the technology and furniture will be brand new.

Charette High School FAQ

Since the school is located in Providence, do you have to live in Providence to attend?
Yes, the school is located in Providence and open only to Providence families.

How do you enroll?
First, you have to complete our electronic version of the RIDE application. It’s very easy and automatic. However, like all other RI Charter Schools we will have a lottery if there are more applicants than seats available. The school is looking for 84 students in year one. The school cannot grow to more than 168 students.

Is there tuition to attend?
No, Charette High School is a tuition free public school open to any high school student in Rhode Island.

Is a Charter School a public school?
Yes, we meet every indicator of “public.” The school is tuition free, offering a free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs, open to everyone by applying to a blind lottery, welcoming of all students, hiring only certified teachers, accountable to the State, assessed by SAT, receiving Federal Funds, funded by state and local dollars, and responsible to the students, families, and taxpayers.

What kind of school experience will Charette give its students?

Charette is a four-year high school which will use the Summit Curricular model in its college prep program. Our themes of Urban Planning and Historic Preservation are the way in which Charette students engage the community and learn to become participants in civic affairs and problem solvers and critical thinkers. Charette is not a school specifically designed for students who want to become architects or planners. We’d like it if that passion was fostered by Charette, but we’re realistic. Any student who wants a four-year college prep high school experience in a small, safe, and supportive environment would love Charette. The theme of urban planning and historic preservation will get our students into the community all the time working on cool projects as part of their school day and experience!

Can I play sports?
Yes, because we will be members of the Interscholastic League student-athletes can play sports for the city school they would have attended or where the PPSD places them.

What type of student should apply to attend the school?
Any student who is lives in Providence and is entering grade 9 and 10 in 2018/2019 should apply.

Is transportation offered?
Yes, to families that are in need, the school will buy a RIPTA monthly bus pass. However, at a cost of $70.00 per month we ask that only families who truly need a pass request one. Also, please know that “need” is not caused by “distance to school” alone. We know there are many factors which create the need for a bus pass but please just ask for one if the pass is really needed. Schools and families working together to find solutions can assist in protecting the school’s budget.

Are there uniforms?
Yes, there is a uniform policy which is both kid and parent friendly. The shirt is a button-down oxford shirt or a short or long sleeve polo. There will be sweater options as well. Students should have a uniform work jacket and work boots/shoes for work in the field (high top or low top Timberlands for instance). A tan bottom (khaki color) will complete the uniform. Every student and family should know that the uniform should be worn neatly and with respect shown to the school and its citizens. The logo must be visible. Wearing a coat or hat inside during the school day is not allowed. The school will supply each student with a hard hat for use in the field.

What types of courses will a student take?
The school’s College Prep program of study aligns with the RI Department of Education’s graduation requirements. There is a total of 26 credits that can be earned, and portfolio and capstone credits are included in the total of 26. Charette is a Summit School by design.

Will there be Parents Organizations or other type of night activities?
Yes, but due to our central downtown location and a lack of parking, night activities take an extra level of commitment from families.

Will it be a “full High School” experience?

While Charette is a small school by design, we intend to a variety of activities, clubs, and events. It is hard to say right now what clubs will emerge, however, the school is going to be a vibrant community and extra-curricular activities, dances, night events and trips will all be part of being a Charette student.

If you have a general question email Dr. Pilkington and Dr. Vespia: apply@newcharterPVD.org

Enrollment Applications

First Name
Last Name
Apt, Suite, Bldg. (optional)
Zip Code
Date of Birth:
Grade Applying For:

Grade Currently In:

School Currently Attending
First Name:
Last Name:
Relationship to Child:
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Applicant Information
Does the above applicant have a brother or sister currently enrolled in the school?
If yes, please provide the brother or sister's name:
Is another brother or sister also applying on a separate form?
If yes, please provide the brother or sister's name:
I affirm that the information contained in this application is, to my knowledge, completely true:
I agree that my child’s school records may be used for studies on the effectiveness of public charter schools. If the studies are publicized, only group data, not student level data, will be reported. Sensitive student information will remain confidential
Where did you hear about us?
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