Mission & History

Our Mission
Using innovative education practices as a catalyst for social change Highlander Charter School is working to ensure that all children have the educational opportunities and support they need to achieve their full potential.

Our Vision
We design and provide research-based, quality educational services.  We strive to make these accessible to all learners, as well as, to their teachers and families.

Our Values
Highlander Charter School works to further the causes of accessibility, empowerment and excellence in education.


Our History

Named in honor of the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, which served as a powerful advocate in the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 60s, Highlander Charter School is the first independent public charter school in Rhode Island. We are located in an historic mill building in one of the poorest sections of Providence that was renovated as a state of the art arts and education center in 2007.

Since opening, Highlander has increased enrollment to its current 632 students (at full enrollment) in grades pre-k through 12. The school provides personalized education that engages students and is relevant to their interests and experiences. Highlander is a responsive school — which means that we believe that having high standards and conduct are key to helping students meet high academic expectations. To that end, there are certain practices and rituals that we have adopted to create the kind of learning community where everyone is valued.

Highlander believes that as a charter school it is responsible to share best practices with the greater community and received one of only 7 federal Charter Exemplary Grants to bring our literacy work to East Providence elementary schools. Highlander is recognized as the state leader in Blended Learning, a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction.

Highlander has demonstrated the ability to close the achievement gap for minorities and students with special needs and was recently named a leading school by the RI Department of Education.

For our time, we believe that equity in education is the central civil rights issue of the 21st century and that it is our responsibility to serve as a catalyst for social change and, just as our namesake, to work for a just society.