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Project Spotlight: Highlander Charter School

Updated: Apr 17, 2019

Students of our Design and Research team, under the supervision of Professor Robert Dermody, have been working on a project with the Highlander Charter School located in Providence, Rhode Island. The team of students working on the project are helping the Highlander Charter School to design a green rooftop area for recreation and teaching on their urban campus building that is accessible to students, teachers and families. The Highlander Charter School was the first independent public charter school in Rhode Island and was named in honor of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, which served as a powerful advocate in the civil rights movement during the 1950’s and 60’s.

The lower school is located in a historic mill building in one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in Providence -- the building was renovated as a state of the art education center in 2007. Since opening, Highlander has increased its enrollment to 592 students (632 at full enrollment) in grades Pre-K through 12. The school provides a personalized education for students that engages their interests and experiences. Highlander is represented as a responsive school, which means that they believe in having high standards; as well as, they believe that conduct is key when helping their students meet high academic expectations.

The team of students from CPC’s Design and Research team that are involved in this project have been working on creating a green roof space for the Highlander Charter School. The idea is to have spaces where students from grades K through 5 can go learn about vegetation, as well as, have an open space for relaxation and recreational use. This new design can also improve the local air quality and provide insulation for the interior of the building. The school roof is designed to have an outdoor classroom space, as well as a play area for physical education. Thus far, the team has created three different ideas for the design, under the direction of their faculty adviser. The final presentations of this project will take place later this month.

written by: Hanae Wada

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