Welcome to the Charis Center! And Congratulations on making one of the most important decisions in your student’s life.  It is a pleasure to welcome your family to ours. 

Charis Center is positioned to offer quality education for students entering grades 7th through 12th, and we are committed to opening the door to all students seeking an innovative and individualized  education. 


The Charis programs are designed to meet the needs of students who have experienced difficulties navigating the academic constraints and social pressures of more traditional school settings. This includes programs for those with IEPs or 504s, gifted, or home schooled students as well as those students who may be disenfranchised.  Charis Center provides each student with curricula and activities that are best suited to their individual learning profiles, interests, and academic goals. Through time, patience, trust and consistency students are provided a safe space to build relationships that will assist them in making positive choices along their journey into adulthood.


Charis Center offers an education program with a full slate of classes in core subjects as well as art, dance, drama, and music. Our instruction for members in grades 7th-12th is grounded in the philosophy of peace, diversity, justice and sustainability. We offer both computer mediated and face-to-face instruction in all subjects, including world languages & cultures,  language arts, social studies/history/geography, science, math, peace studies, and physical education/health. There is also the option of programs study in  the visual and performing arts., entrprenuership, and computer languages/programming.  New for the 2018-19 year is the addition of special topics offered every Friday  by professionals from the community.



I want to thank you for considering Charis Center for your son or daughter. I pride myself on creating an innovative learning community and I am excited to be working with each and every student.

First, What does it mean to be part of the Universal Life Community? Essentially, as a Universal Life Ministry we welcome the principles of all people regardless of their religious belief  and practices, and accept them in an inclusive manner. We value the universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine, and recognize the importance of maintaining and open heart and mind, embracing the the individual, no matter his or her spiritual background. 

Second, why was Charis Center formed? Our founder, emma hadley, was a career educator, having taught both high school and college level classes in four states over a period of 28 years. Dr. Hadley became disillusioned with the direction public schools were taking, especially with students who were prone to "falling through the cracks." She was also disillusioned with the increase in school violence -bullying, fighting, large class sizes, and  teaching to the test. Moreover,  she was disillusioned with the loss of the individual learner in the process. School administrators talk about "differentiated learning," but you can not teach to the individual in a class size of 30 or more. 

Charis Center is grounded in the belief that if we provide students with a learning environment created specifically for the individual, and develop this curricula around the concepts of peace, justice, diversity and sustainability,  every student will have the opportunity to thrive as  a learner and grow into adults of good character. The Charis Center pedagogy is truly focused on the "whole student. 

Third, who develops the curricula? Charis Center uses curriculua that has been proven successful in a variety of learning contexts. We use both Saxon or Key to Math programs that provide an  integrated and connected approach leading to  deep, long-term mastery of the content and skills. The science curricula is based on a variety of resources, including the Annenburg Project led by a world wide team of scientists. Language arts, social science, and humanities courses are developed by Dr. Hadley and cover a variety of genres and topics. Many of the courses are created based on the needs and interests of the students, but cover the fundamental skills for analysis, critical thinking, research, and writing. Physical educatiois divided into four sessions to include biking, yoga, hiking and Zumba(R), dance, or other areas of interest to the student.


As an integrated arts program every class may include some art component in addition to the visual and performing arts classes in the weekly rotation of classes. New classes are added every year. . 

Student Responsibilities

  1. More than any other responsibility, students must be willing to participate in their education. At Charis we work endlessly to ensure every student is appropriately "matched" to the right courses, at the right level, to create a positive learning experience. It is essential that every student approaches his/her course work with a positive attitude, an inquisitive mind, and an acceptable work ethic. 

  2. Students are responsible for supplying pencils, pens, writing paper, and 5 pocket folders for their personal use. In addition we ask that each student contribute a pack of manila file folders; And as we enter into allergy/flu season, tissues, paper towels, and hand sanitizer are also appreciated. Other materials may be required as the year progresses.

  3. Lunch/Snacks. Students are permitted to snack during their instructional time. We also take a full hour break for lunch. Please provide your student with ample food to see him/her through a lengthy day. We ask that you not send money to purchase food/beverages except on special occasions (i.e.: fieldtrips).

  4. Field Trips. We try to plan regular trips to DC and around our communities. It is helpful if each student has a Smartcard to use for the metro system. A schedule of proposed field trips will be provided each session.

  5. Dance Attire. Students taking a dance class are required to have a black leotard and black tights and appropriate dance shoes.

  6. Service Days. I whole heartily believe that giving forward and giving back to our community is an essential core value. Within our calendar are scheduled days when we will work on a service project. This may be working in a soup kitchen, reading to seniors, or planning activities with children. If you have contacts or suggestions for services we can provide, please contact me.

Finally, What makes Charis Center different? What is unique to Charis Center learning is the individualized instruction based on each student's learning style, interests, challenges, strengths, and goals. Every student has an individualized learning plan (ILP) created in dialogue with parents, student and Dr. Hadley. The coursework will be self-directed, computer mediated or instructor led in small groups. 

You will see from the calendar our schedule does not exactly match the PGCPS calendar. Charis Center is designed as a 12-month program, and the year is divided into five (5) sessions (we have coordinated the winter spring break around PGCPS). As such, this means we will have 245 instructional days per year. Students will be immersed in core academics, special topics, and arts enrichment. Some classes are scheduled twice per week and others once per week; Classes meet in 8, 16, 32 week cycles. In order to accomplish all our goals and meet our benchmarks the school day operates from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday from September through June, and from 10am-3pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for five weeks in July and August. 

We take two, 2(3)-week breaks during the summer months. 

Registration Form

About our Payment Schedule

Tuition payments are due by the 15th of each month during the regular school year (Sept-June). Payments for a single class is due in full at the time of registration. A 25% deposit for 2 or more classes is due at registration with the balance payable in two equal installments. Full time registrations require a fee of $200, and tuition is paid in installments of $550 per month over a 12 month period. Summer tution is due on the first day of class.