Next Wave Junior High School and Full Circle High School are Somerville's alternative, moderate special needs schools. Both are designed to meet the special academic, social, emotional, and behavioural needs of troubled adolescents, who for many reasons have experienced failure in the traditional mainstream settings. By combining the clinical concept of a therapeutic community with the educational concepts of individualized and specialized integrated learning experiences, Full Circle/Next Wave has been able to effect academic, social, and personal successes for many students in a cost effective, community based program in Somerville.
Full Circle accepts 64 students between the ages of 15 and 21 and Next Wave accepts 40 students between the ages of 12 and 16 The program has academic, therapeutic, and structured student governance components. Students work with materials designed for their own levels, proceeding at their own pace and developing strong personal relationships that foster participation in the school as a democratic community. The school seeks to break patterns of failure, rejection, and isolation that characterizes many of our student's lives. We provide students with the necessary academic and social skills to complete high school and to continue their education or successfully find work.
Students are awarded a Full Circle diploma upon completion of all course and credit requirements. Full Circle offers a standard (although adapted and individualized) high school curriculum that includes math, language arts, science, and social studies in addition to electives. Credits are awarded on the basis of attendance, academic performance, and participation in a comprehensive program of required curricula, student government activities, a work/study program, and counselling groups. The Full Circle diploma is a concrete goal, a reward the students can work towards which signifies the successful completion of a high school program.
Full Circle/Next Wave is committed to the idea of an integrated teaching and counselling environment. Counselling is an important part of the program and incorporated into the daily schedule. Every student is assigned to a counselling group, which meets biweekly. An emphasis is placed on conflict resolution through a verbal, rather than physical, expression of emotions. At all times the school stresses two basic values: the first is that Full Circle/Next Wave must be a safe place for everyone and the second is that every member of the school community must be treated with respect. Parent involvement is also crucial to students' success at Full Circle/Next Wave