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Inquiry: A Case Study of Charter Development

A case study detailing the development of the Inquiry Charter program formed at a Philadelphia comprehensive high school. This school, located in a low-income neighborhood, was one of three selected for intensive restructuring during the initial years of a foundation grant. In the fall of 1988, as part of this restructuring, three teachers began to recruit core subject teachers and eventually created this writing-intensive, academically rigorous, and project-oriented program called the Inquiry Charter. This report examines the evolution of Inquiry Charter as a teaching and learning community through the ‘essential questions’ that the program develops each year. The author finds that the Charter had a significant positive impact on the students involved, resulting in higher attendance and pass rates, but fractionalization from the rest of the school became a problem for the program.