High School

Churchill High School

The Churchill High School is an amazing close-knit community of educators, parents, support staff, and most importantly, learners. The mission of the Churchill School is to nurture and empower students with language-based learning disabilities to become active learners who take responsibility for their own learning, develop their interests and special talents, and become effective self-advocates.

Our students inspire us with their passion, determination, and creativity. It is our goal to inspire them as well. We are proud to be members of this school community who are dedicated to these goals.

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Jason Wallin

    Jason Wallin 

    High School Principal

High School Curriculum

List of 13 frequently asked questions.

  • Student Life

    In the high school, the students learn in a small classroom setting with caring, competent teachers, who have expertise in both their content area and learning disabilities. In addition to providing the New York State Regents Curriculum, our instruction takes into account the multiple learning styles of our students. Our teachers also make themselves available during and after school to ensure that our students are given both the support and challenges they need to be successful.
    There are over 140 students in the high school, and each makes unique contributions to our school community.  Some participate in our very active student government and our after school clubs and groups such as, Prism (formerly Gay Straight Alliance), WAGE (Women and Girls Empowerment) Club, S.O.C. (Students of Color Affinity Group), an Adoption Affinity Group, Girls on the Run, Girls Learn and Green Team. Others find a place to express their talents on the playing fields and courts through the many organized sports teams we have, or they contribute to the community through their work in our music, art, and theater programs. All of our students contribute to the world outside of our school as well by participating in our Service Learning program. Our goal is to not only make our students lifelong learners, but also people who strive to make the world a better place.
  • Technology Program

    The High School technology program is designed to help students learn to learn technology. Rather than teaching specific apps or hardware, we teach students to adapt to new technologies and be able to apply what they know to new software and hardware they’ve never used. We provide students with Apple MacBooks or Chromebooks and a variety of apps to facilitate their work as well as enhance their knowledge of technology.

    Our assistive technology program encourages students to integrate technology into their workflow to increase their independence. Whether students need speech to text software, text to speech, or something else, we help students identify assistive tech that really works, work with students to learn and integrate the technology into their process, and evaluate their progress. When students leave Churchill they know what tech they need in order to be successful.

    Woven throughout our mental health and technology courses are lessons dedicated to diital citizenship, cultivating young adults who have appropriate and healthy behaviors and attitudes regarding technology use.

    Additionally, the creative studies program offers an expanding number of courses in computers and technology including web design, programming, a survey of topics in computers and technology as well as studies in technology and society.
  • Mental Health Support Services

    The mental health clinicians provide direct services to all students in many ways throughout the day. Weekly, structured “Health and Human Relations” (HHR) groups, social skills sessions for younger students, support and affinity groups in each division, and “drop-in” visits all provide Churchill students with a safe space to explore a range of feelings or problem-solve about tricky situations and help them make good choices. The psychologists and social workers provide ongoing consultation with school staff to support the students in the classroom. With a focus on prevention, we continually introduce additional strategies that offer students and teachers relief from the stress that builds up during a typical day. Churchill parents are our partners in fostering the growth and development of our young charges. To this end, the Mental Health Support Services team offers events and resources for our parents. Monthly Parent Support groups or Parent Forums are held for each division. We provide information, articles, suggestions, and referrals as needed. Helpful “tips” are provided on the Churchill website, in weekly “Mental Health Mondays” videos and in newsletters. 

    Ludovica Brigatti, PhD, High School Psychologist  
  • Speech & Language

    Churchill’s high school students receive speech/language therapy through a push-in model. Delivery of service is primarily conducted in the classroom two times weekly during English and Writing Lab periods, utilizing academic curriculum materials.  In this way, language based skills such as vocabulary development, increasing sentence complexity and writing expository and persuasive essays, can be targeted in a way that is most relevant to academic success. At the same time, clinicians have close contact with teachers to develop methods and strategies that focus on the individual student’s language needs.  As a result, students spend more time directly practicing and applying language strategies in the classroom. They see their growth both in terms of improved quality of completed assignments and in better grades.
    Initially, new students are screened; if indicated they undergo a more comprehensive speech/language evaluation.  Decisions for inclusion in therapy are based on the results of assessments, observations of the students in the classroom and teacher/parent reports.  Parents may contact their child’s therapist with any questions or concerns.
  • English Program

    The High School English Department focuses on developing higher-order thinking, analytical skills, and written communication through a close examination of diverse perspectives from world literature. Students read a variety of works including plays, poems, short stories, novels, and non-fiction selections that are a mix of classic and contemporary literature. We highlight classic themes in literature in addition to modern topics related to social justice.
    Teachers promote critical analysis through guided discussions, Socratic-style seminar classes, and close reading. These activities help develop students’ independence, reading comprehension skills, and their ability to use textual evidence to support their opinions and claims.

    The English Department also focuses on developing writing skills to prepare our students for life after Churchill. All English classes set aside a class period each week during which our high school speech and language specialists are in the class to help with writing development. Our team of language therapists push-in to provide additional support during this class. English writing assignments include analytical essays, creative writing, Regents preparation essays, persuasive essays, and college essay practice and guidance. The English department also collaborates with the History department for a writing lab period. Lab focuses on writing skills through current student writing (also supported by the speech and language therapists). Writing lab periods can include direct grammar instruction, writing conferences, goal-setting, and revision or continuation of English/History writing.
    We differentiate and scaffold at every level of instruction and assessment. This includes providing audio recordings of books, chapter summaries and guided notes for our readings. Teaming with the speech and language department, we also provide extensive outlines, graphic organizers, brainstorming activities, and one-on-one writing assistance.
    The ninth-grade English curriculum is designed to continue sharpening students’ reading and writing skills. At its foundation is multiple works of literature that represent different genres and cultures. These works include Monster by Walter Dean Myers, The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Through thoughtful discussions and shorter written assignments, we examine themes, character development, literary devices, and vocabulary. At the conclusion of every book, students write a 4-5 paragraph literary analysis essay that demonstrates their awareness of audience and purpose.

    In tenth grade, students work to develop their voices as writers and critical thinkers. Through a range of genres and texts, students examine themes of power and oppression and the individual in society, making connections between works of literature, their experiences, and the world around them. Texts include Antigone by Sophocles, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. We also take a critical look at the justice system with the Serial podcast. Lastly, students make interdisciplinary connections using Salvaged Pages, a collection of diaries written by teenagers during the Holocaust, and Loung Ung's memoir First They Killed My Father, culminating with a semester-long written memoir project and presentation. 

    Eleventh grade English uses a variety of classic and contemporary texts to explore the promise and limits of the American Dream. We focus on how authors tell stories as well as what each tells us about the American experience. Texts include Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, August Wilson's Fences, Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.

    As twelfth-grade students prepare to move beyond high school and the Churchill community, we study and discuss works to examine the concept of identity and one's place in society. Early in the year, the written work focuses on introspection and we spend time writing college application essays or personal stories. Later in the year, we focus more on critical analysis in essay writing. During the year we read and discuss all or parts of Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, M Butterfly by Henry David Hwang, Becoming by Michelle Obama, The Stranger by Albert Camus, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh.
  • Visual Arts Program

    The high school art program is designed with the student in mind creating an atelier style environment making the high school art room the students' studio. Typically our students very creative visually.  The high school program builds on the students' earlier experiences in art.  Freshman and sophomore students' art class assignments alternate between skill-based projects and problem-solving projects.  The skill-based projects help to build the student's arsenal of skills to address the problem-solving assignments that speak to their higher-order thinking.  Juniors and seniors while continuing to build skills are asked to work towards finding their own voice in visual arts.  Assignments are individualized to each student's interests and passions in visual arts.  Art history and criticism are introduced to students through regular dialogue and working critiques daily although sometimes both are addressed more formally.  Many of our students create work for the development of portfolios for application to colleges and art schools.  Our students have been accepted to some of the most competitive art programs in the country.
  • Social Studies Program

    High School Social Studies at Churchill strives to create an engaging and energetic learning environment. Students take four years of social studies at the Churchill School, following the state requirements of two years of Global Studies and Geography followed by U.S. History, Civics, and Economics.

    As Churchill’s Mission values working collaboratively with students, lessons are flexible and student-centered.  Classes are often organized around group activities like station work, gallery walks, creative writing, art/media projects, challenges, and games. In this way, we build on students’ strengths to meet the standard curriculum. As students progress they are exposed to more traditional lectures in efforts to prepare for the college experience.  

    In order to address students’ learning disabilities, accommodations and resources are provided to scaffold learning (i.e. notes, outlines, graphic organizers, repetition, a metacognitive approach). Pacing is adjusted for students and teachers incorporate audio-visuals to address multiple learning styles. Students utilize computers to take notes but are encouraged to try a variety of techniques and choose what works best for them. Students use traditional Cornell method, mapping and outlining, brain frames (graphic organizers). Students also share digital documents and some take handwritten notes in order to engage in class lectures.  

    The Social Studies department works closely with English and our Speech and Language Specialists to build students writing abilities. Regents formats of thematic essays and document-based essays are taken into account, but the skills of providing evidence and analysis are the main focus. This is also stressed when writing research papers. Responsible sourcing and digital literacy play a key role in research as students spend time analyzing appropriateness, credibility, and bias. As students advance through our program we focus on using academic databases. All of our writing is supported with graphic organizers, self-questioning techniques and building off T-BEAR for structure. In addition, the social studies department uses Evernote one form of digital support.

    The high school Social Studies department works to build a safe space where students can engage with the material and express their voices around historical/cultural/political topics. Teachers encourage students to think critically about social studies by examining history through multiple lenses and perspective including geographic, gender, race, sexual orientation, language, family structure, ability/disability, religion, and class. In all curricula, an emphasis is placed on connecting history to currents events, with the goal that our students become informed and engaged global citizens.
  • Service Learning Program

    Service-learning is community service with intentional learning being the primary goal coupled with the service. It’s a teaching and learning opportunity that integrates meaningful community service with purposeful instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. The program empowers students to cultivate real-life skills by researching areas of need, providing reflections on their service experiences, and recognizing their accomplishments with end-of-the-year demonstrations.
    Students are required to be involved with an organization or participate in a community-focused event each quarter for quarters 1 2, 3, and 4 (totaling at least 4 events each school year). Service Learning encourages students to be consistently involved with their community throughout the school year.
    The program started a new system for logging in events. Students will verify their events by logging them onto Helper Helper. Helper Helper is an iPhone and Android app, as well as a website that tracks and validates student participation. The app also allows Churchill to post-event opportunities where students can register for various experiences.
    At Churchill, we have many options for community service such as the art mentoring program, reading initiative, Bideawee Animal Shelter, Model UN Club, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, student council, and International Student Learning (a non-profit organization). There are also many opportunities in the neighborhood offering community service experiences.

    Churchill Service Learning Website

  • Math Program

    The high school mathematics program is designed to serve all of our students. The teachers always strive to ensure that each student learns despite his or her prior mathematical knowledge, feelings about themselves as mathematics learners, or learning disability. In short, our philosophy is simple yet profound: “All of our students can learn mathematics. As teachers, it is our responsibility to ensure that they learn.” This philosophy shapes all our instruction and all of our interactions with our students.
    We have found that our students learn best in small groups where they are provided with effective direct instruction that is accompanied by teacher modeling, numerous examples, extensive practice, discussion, group activities, games, projects, and by using manipulatives and technology to enhance their underlying understanding of mathematical concepts. In addition, we aim to have students generalize what they learn and apply their knowledge to solve a variety of problems.
    Our high school math teachers use a variety of resources for our Common Core Algebra I, Common Core Geometry, Algebra II & Trigonometry, and Calculus courses. Our students benefit from a program that strikes a proper balance between theory and practical application. This has enabled them to develop not just their procedural fluency, but perhaps more importantly, their problem-solving skills. 
  • Physical Education & Athletics

    The Churchill School High School Physical Education program provides students the opportunity to learn and develop a variety of skills in a safe, developmentally appropriate, and success-based environment, in order to appreciate physical activity and its lifelong benefits.
    All high school students are given a choice as to how they would like to earn their physical education credits.  We offer a number of team and individual sports in the gymnasium throughout the year to enhance sport-specific skills, work on game strategy, team play, and leadership.

    Another option would be to work out on our cardio machines in the cardio studio.  Here a student may set their own fitness goals and work to achieve them.

    A third option would be to work out in our weight room under the guidance of our fitness trainer.  Students set goals and work with the instructor on those goals to improve strength, flexibility, and agility.  This not only improves the physical being but works to develop discipline and training in how to use the training equipment appropriately.
    Students may move in between the cardio studio and gym sports with each unit but if they would like to weight train a longer commitment is necessary.  Both the weight room and cardio studio are also available after school for those that would like to workout outside of their normal physical education classes.
  • Science Program

    In the Churchill High School, we present the material in ways that allow our students to access challenging material with a balance between support and independence based on student learning disabilities. We aim for our instruction to be student-centered with a focus on building independence along with content-based instruction. We assess our students in a variety of ways including hands-on summative projects, written lab reports, analysis-based lab questions, verbal presentations, quizzes, and tests. Each year, students revisit and delve deeper into a different science content area. Below are the descriptions of each area of science explored by the students during their 4 years in the Churchill High School.

    9th grade students focus on Earth Science. We start the year by exploring astronomy and how planet Earth, our solar system, and the universe formed. We have the opportunity to meet the NYC Amateur Astronomy Association and get the opportunity to study pace during the day! The ninth-graders also study weather and climate change and learn how to talk just like a weather person. They also partake in many hands-on lab experiments and learn how physical features are formed on planet earth by seeing it in the classroom.

    The 10th grade Biology (Living Environment) curriculum is based on the parameters set by New York State for the Regents exam, however, we tailor the teaching styles and additional material to our students' needs at Churchill. This Biology course explores the study of life and living organisms including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, identification, and taxonomy. Students will discover the world of biology through hands-on experiences, demonstrations, lectures, discussions, projects, and laboratory investigations. This Biology course covers a wide range of topics from cells and cell processes, to human regulation and body systems, to evolution, ecosystems, and human impact on the environment. Hands-on activities are a significant part of each unit, and we seek engaging topics that connect with student interests such as new types of biotechnology and recent, relevant research studies. Quizzes and tests are based on Regents questions with either altered answer choices and language to meet the readiness of the students or actual Regents questions. They are chosen thoughtfully to cover a broad range of question styles and content topics within the unit that they are testing.

    11th Grade Chemistry is known as the “central science” because of the vital role it plays in our everyday lives, as well as how it connects all of the physical sciences together. Over the course of the year, students will explore the world of chemistry and its applications through hands-on laboratory experiments, guided notes, and independent projects. Students will spend time honing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills by focusing on application rather than the simple memorization of facts. Students will engage in a wide variety of experiments ranging from the famous "flame test" which explores the unique colors of flame that different elements produce, to a titration experiment that involves neutralizing an acid with a base. Students will also engage in various projects such as an in-depth exploration of an element of their choosing, careers in STEM, and even explore some of the ingredients found in junk food.

    12th Grade Advanced Principles in Natural Science is an introductory college science course that covers a variety of subjects such as biology, genetics, zoology, botany, environmental science, and more. Students will develop their scientific reading and writing skills by analyzing scientific data from research articles, interpreting data from their individual experiments, and performing inquiry-based lab experiments. Students will be able to graduate from the course with scientific tools to navigate through an entry-level science college course.
  • Honors Challenge

    Students who are seeking an additional academic challenge are invited to register for the Honors Challenge program. The program’s focus is to provide students with additional opportunities to engage in more critical thinking through readings, discussions, writing assignments, and a variety of other opportunities. The Honors Challenge program is academically rigorous; it offers both depth of content knowledge and skill development. All students can apply to participate in the Honors Challenge program. Students who participate in the Honors Challenge program have some coursework replaced with more challenging work and some additional work may be added as well. At the same time, students spend more time on their existing classwork because deeper learning demands more; as a result, students are expected to produce work that is at a high academic level and that will be graded according to honors standards.
  • Performing Arts Program

    The Churchill Performing Arts Department is committed to celebrating the uniqueness of each of our students through the exploration of the arts across all divisions, K-12. 
    As a multi-divisional department, we strive to create a collaborative environment for our students; where individual ideas are valued, and hard work and commitment result in an unparalleled sense of accomplishment and an even greater appreciation of the performing arts. 
    We encourage our students to learn from those who are different from ourselves by exposing them to stories, histories and music that enrich their understanding of the world around them. 
    Our curriculum scaffolds learning from elementary school through high school. In Elementary School we lay foundations of rhythm, melody, harmony, dance, coordination and foster student creativity. In Middle School, we dig deeper into developing musicianship and performing capabilities. In High School we offer rigorous courses in which students can develop necessary skills to pursue performing arts as a career.
    Each Division presents numerous productions over the course of each year, including dramatic plays, musicals, band concerts, showcases and small group music concerts. The courses offered are:
    High School
    Beginning and Advanced Acting Techniques for Performance
    Musical Theater for Performance
    Public Speaking
    Dramatic Literature
    Beginning and Advanced Techniques for Music Performance
    Piano Studies
    Beginning and Advanced Studies In Music Theory
    Electronic Music Composition and Production
    For more information on Churchill’s Performing Arts Department, please, feel free to reach out to the Department Chair, Aaron Fisher, ext 3401, who can answer your questions and connect you to the necessary faculty.