CHAD engages and educates Philadelphia students through the power of design thinking and an introduction to creative career opportunities.

School Profile

CHAD is a four year, tuition-free, public independent school:

  • 585 students — grades nine through twelve
  • Founded by American Institute of Architects, Philadelphia Chapter
  • Located a half-block from Independence Hall in historic Center City
  • Graduation requirements that exceed state standards

Our Philosophy


CHAD teachers strive to create dynamic, student-centered classrooms in which democratic principles thrive. Our fluid curriculum is authentic: it reflects the real world, responds to our students’ interests and lives, and prepares them to be active, life-long learners. Our teaching is shaped by varied and valid assessments. We ask students to transform problems into possibilities. Assessments are used to inform student self-reflection and teacher instruction. Through differentiated instruction, each child is both nurtured and challenged to continually reach for and expand his or her own potential. We enrich students’ intellectual growth through process and skill-oriented learning. Students are asked to be accountable for the quality and integrity of their academic endeavors. We demand active participation, clear expression, sophisticated thinking, and high-level work from the members of our community.


CHAD emphasizes the use of the design process across the curriculum as a vehicle for creative and analytical thinking. CHAD’s program provides students with the opportunity to understand the design process through creative and disciplined exploration. Important to this process are studio activities that involve structured investigation, self-reflection, critique, aesthetics, historical context, and multiculturalism. CHAD builds the confidence needed to explore problems, take risks, and turn challenges into numerous possibilities. Students learn to design in response to both the user and the environment.


CHAD’s community of learners engages in relationships that further personal and intellectual growth. This process of growing and learning is rooted in individual self-discovery, cooperation, and mutual respect. CHAD students share ideas and sharpen their skills under the guidance of a creative and dedicated faculty. Students engage one another and their teachers in a conversation that is the essence of learning. One of the hallmarks of a CHAD education is the teachers’ commitment to the personal growth of each student. At CHAD, each student has the personal support of an advisory teacher who monitors that student’s progress and offers guidance in developing a rewarding academic identity. Knowing students as individuals, teachers encourage them to reflect, develop skills, take risks, and follow a passion. CHAD affirms the importance of the student-teacher-parent relationship. Students, teachers, and parents work together to create an exchange between school and home, laying a path of united support for the student’s journey of self-discovery.


CHAD emphasizes a student’s active commitment to a personal educational process. Students are asked to explore, discover, and use their voices. The responsive nature of our instructors and curriculum facilitates student development of identity and self-confidence. Curiosity guides students as they navigate through classroom curriculum, deepening their skills and sense of self. Invested in their learning, students produce work that reflects their sense of integrity and gives power to their voice. Students share and celebrate their successes with the school community. Encouraged to view their achievements with both pride and humility, CHAD students are asked to reflect on and use their achievements for further growth. In an atmosphere of high expectations and general support, students develop a rigorous work ethic that is commensurate with the strength of their voice. Our practices place CHAD students in a position to go forward as independent, responsible, and self-directed learners.


The Charter High School for Architecture + Design is a learning community committed to an innovative program integrating the design process with the mastery of a strong liberal arts education. The school offers each student the opportunity for success and the preparation for life-long learning and responsible citizenship. CHAD is a thoughtful academic environment that engenders love of learning, intellectual curiosity, and new ways of seeing, and prepares students for higher education.

CHAD Stories

Terrance Harden, Class of 2010

Join us at our Open House


Maritime Physics - Workshop on the Water

Juniors: It's College Awareness Night!

Exhibit by the Environmental Design Majors

SpringFest17 is Coming!

Champagne Breakfast

Lord Norman Foster gives Kahn Lecture

Parent Portal

Parent Portal Home

Health Office

Summer Programs

Title I School-Parent Compact
Parent Involvement Policy for Title I

Title I Right to Know Letter

Title I - Intro

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