The Robert J. Lister Academy (RJLA) was developed in 1992 as part of the Portsmouth School District's commitment to excellence in education. The Robert J. Lister Academy is an innovative public high school program designed for students who have been unable to succeed in more traditional settings. RJLA provides each student with a child specific education tailored to their individual academic, social, behavioral, and therapeutic needs. RJLA also prepares students for their vocational and post-secondary school goals through unique programs and partnerships.
The Robert J. Lister Academy is a self-contained school comprised of 27-30 students from the Seacoast Area. The school is purposefully located off the premises of the larger Portsmouth High School (PHS) campus, but maintains the ability to access the resources located within the traditional high school, such as vocational programs, music programs, languages and athletics. This intra-school collaboration provides flexibility with individualizing a student's educational needs, and the setting in which it occurs, on a continuum of support and structure. The student's needs determine the structure and design of their program and the school structure is allowed to fluctuate to accommodate the student's needs. Learning blocks are typically 50 minutes with the exception of the college class or integrated curriculum blocks which are then scheduled a double block of time.
Most students at the Robert J. Lister Academy have been identified as adolescents at risk due to behavioral, emotional or learning challenges. RJLA offers a small setting for students to confront the issues effecting their education such as: personal/family, substance abuse, trauma, conflict resolution, social skills, and communication. There is a full-time faculty of 5 masters level teachers all certified and highly qualified in their content areas and/or special education. There is also a full-time guidance counselor and two paraprofessional staff for additional student support. A variety of instructional practices are utilized to address the range of learning styles present in our student body. We also utilize part-time adjunct faculty with specific skill sets that allow students to integrate and demonstrate their mastery of skills and concepts within the curriculum, using project-based practices.
Graduation requirements are determined by the school district in which the student resides and/or the school responsible for granting the diploma.