Frequently Asked Questions
The Chapman Farm School is an independent, inclusive school for middle and high school students. The curriculum is grounded in a social and emotional perspective that leads to academic achievement. The school focuses on offering a dynamic education that is designed to address the unique strengths, interests, and learning styles of a neurodiverse student population. The Chapman Farm School is recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
WHEN DID THE SCHOOL OPEN?
The Chapman Farm School welcomed our first seven students in grades 6-8 in September 2014. In the fall of 2017, twenty four students were enrolled in grades 6-10.
WHERE IS THE SCHOOL LOCATED?
Chapman Farm School is located in the heart of Boston’s South Shore. Our school is located in Norwell, and we have regular visits to Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, and other farms on the South Shore.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SCHOOL’S KEY CHARACTERISTICS?
- An energetic, nurturing, and understanding environment with purposely-planned small classes.
- A faculty and staff that understands and thrives on working with a bright, diverse group of learning styles.
- A strong emphasis on social and emotional growth and development.
- An focus on working from a place of student competency and interest.
- Direct teaching in collaborative group work.
- A school culture that values a sense of pride and community.
- A school community that values and bridges multiple approaches to education and maintains a positive, collaborative relationship with local public and independent schools.
WHAT DO SOME OF THESE CHARACTERISTICS LOOK LIKE?
Purposely Planned Small Classes- We believe that students develop a firm foundation when they have an opportunity to learn at a reasonable pace, discuss concepts in depth with their teachers and classmates, and have the flexibility to evolve lessons naturally. This is much more likely with a target class size of 8 or fewer students.
A Bright, Diverse Group of Learning Styles- We view varied learning styles, or “neurodiversity” as an asset. Rather than focusing on what students CAN’T do, we look at varied learning style as an enriching gift. Some brains are gifted in science but struggle in written language while others have incredible math skills but need to be supported in social communication. These differences in strengths, or “superpowers” as we often call them, make for a more interesting learning community.
A Strong Emphasis on Social and Emotional Learning- We believe that academic skills are wobbly without a firm foundation in social and emotional understanding. We also recognize social and emotional as legitimate areas of intelligence which some students come by naturally and some need direct instruction in. We feel very strongly that social and emotional understanding is a critical skill set for students entering the 21st century economy.
Working from Student Competencies and Interests
People are more inclined to work hard and explore deeply when guided by their areas of interest. We believe in strengthening students’ natural areas of competency in preparation for a world that demands specialization.
WHAT IS THE TUITION?
We are committed to keeping the cost to families as reasonable as possible. We set our tuition at a rate that makes The Chapman Farm School affordable compared to specialized therapeutic schools and established independent schools.
Tuition and fees for 2017-18 is $17,000. As a start up school, we are not yet able to offer financial aid, but certainly plan to do so in the future.
ARE FAMILIES ABLE TO APPEAL TO THEIR SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO PAY TUITION?
The Chapman Farm School, while actively inclusive to students with varied social-cognitive profiles, is not established as a special needs school, and therefore, is not designated as a Chapter 766 institution.
DOES THE CHAPMAN FARM SCHOOL PROVIDE AND FOLLOW IEPS?
While we are not a special education school, we do read all testing reports and IEPs submitted with admissions applications. These documents are used to create an individual learning approach for each student that builds on their unique strengths.
Our curriculum is carefully designed and actively evolved to meet the needs of students with varied learning styles. This approach, coupled with small group and individualized instruction, allow us to help each student make steady academic progress which is documented through portfolio assessment.
IS THE SCHOOL ACCREDITED?
We are currently seeking accreditation through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. This is a multi-year process, and we are eligible to start the process in the fall of 2017. Per Massachusetts state law, the school curriculum is approved by the Norwell school committee.
ARE THERE BE SPORTS TEAMS?
We have a curling team, the Frozen Llamas, that both learns and has friendly competitions at Broomstones in Wayland.
WHAT IS THE PROFILE OF A TYPICAL CHAPMAN FARM STUDENT?
We value diversity in thinking, background, personality, and interests. We seek students who will contribute to and benefit from a social education curriculum, have a strong interest and aptitude for learning, and bring a curious nature to our community-focused learning environment.
CAN I MAKE A GIFT TO THE SCHOOL?
We would love if you did! We are a 501(c)3 organization, and will happily give you a tax receipt.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Please feel free to contact Donna Furtado at firstname.lastname@example.org.