Families​ ​in​ ​Colorado​ ​Springs​ ​looking​ ​for​ ​school​ ​choice​ ​for​ ​their​ ​children​ ​may​ ​soon​ ​have​ ​another​ ​option when​ ​Spacious​ ​Skies​ ​Charter​ ​School​ ​receives​ ​approval​ ​from​ ​District​ ​11.​ ​An​ ​approved​ ​contract​ ​will​ ​enable us​ ​to​ ​open​​ ​our​ ​doors​ ​serving​ ​an​ ​ethnically​ ​and​ ​socioeconomically​ ​​diverse​ ​student​ ​population​​ ​in​ ​the​ ​fall of​ ​2018.​ ​​We​ ​will​​ ​initially​ ​​serve​ ​226​ ​students​ ​in​ ​grades​ ​​K-3,​ ​increasing​ ​a​ ​grade​ ​level​ ​every​ ​year​ ​until​ ​they reach​ ​8th​ ​grade.

We​ ​have​ ​four​ ​“design​ ​principles”,​ ​or​ ​differentiators,​ ​setting​ ​us​ ​apart​ ​from​ ​nearby​ ​schools​ ​in​ ​District​ ​11:

  • With​ ​an​ ​​enduring​ ​reverence​ ​for​ ​children​ ​and​ ​childhood​,​ ​the​ ​younger​ ​years​ ​of​ ​a​ ​student’s​ ​life are​ ​​ ​recognized​ ​as​ ​a​ ​stage​ ​in​ ​development,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​believe​ ​it​ ​should​ ​not​ ​be​ ​rushed.
  • Steadfast​ ​respect​ ​for​ ​parents​ ​as​ ​educational​ ​partners​​ ​in​ ​which​ ​families​ ​are​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the school​ ​in​ ​meaningful​ ​ways​ ​to​ ​enhance​ ​students’​ ​educational​ ​experiences​ ​and​ ​ensure​ ​their success.
  • Profound​ ​trust​ ​in​ ​teachers​ ​as​ ​professionals​​ ​which​ ​enables​ ​teachers​ ​to​ ​work​ ​collaboratively​ ​and purposefully​ ​toward​ ​increased​ ​student​ ​learning​ ​and​ ​school​ ​improvement.​ ​Teachers​ ​are​ ​leaders of​ ​improved​ ​instruction​ ​and​ ​designers​ ​of​ ​curriculum​ ​and​ ​lessons.
  • Their​​ ​deep​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​how​ ​children​ ​learn​​ ​ensures​ ​our​ ​ongoing​ ​dedication​ ​to​ ​the​​ ​​study​ ​of child​ ​development,​ ​instructional​ ​practices,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​subject​ ​matter​ ​content.

We​ ​​offer​ ​a​ ​project-based​ ​learning​ ​(PBL)​ ​program​ ​providing​ ​students​ ​a​ ​quality​ ​education​ ​with​ ​‘joyful​ ​and challenging​ ​learning​ ​experiences​ ​in​ ​a​ ​safe​ ​and​ ​caring​ ​environment’.​ ​​Project​ ​based​ ​learning​ ​is​ ​shown​ ​to be​ ​an​ ​effective​ ​method​ ​for​ ​a​ ​diverse​ ​student​ ​population​ ​as​ ​teachers​ ​work​ ​to​ ​establish​ ​learning​ ​goals based​ ​on​ ​an​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​their​ ​strengths​ ​and​ ​areas​ ​for​ ​growth.​ ​​The​ ​PBL​ ​model​ ​allows​ ​for​ ​deeper learning,​ ​development​ ​of​ ​problem-solving​ ​skills​ ​and​ ​community​ ​partnerships​ ​with​ ​local​ ​organizations​ ​to bring​ ​in​ ​professionals​ ​like​ ​artists​ ​and​ ​scientists​ ​and​ ​to​ ​support​ ​things​ ​like​ ​weather-related​ ​projects.

As​ ​a​ ​child-centered​ ​school​ ​with​ ​a​ ​broad-based​ ​curriculum,​ ​we​ ​use​ ​the​ ​PBL​ ​model​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​our​ ​students real-world​ ​learning​ ​experiences.​ ​Students​ ​engage​ ​in​ ​relevant​ ​lessons​ ​as​ ​they​ ​enhance​ ​their​ ​emotional, physical,​ ​social​ ​and​ ​intellectual​ ​capacities.​ ​Key​ ​to​ ​the​ ​PBL​ ​model​ ​is​ ​empowering​ ​teachers​ ​with​ ​the​ ​ability to​ ​create​ ​curriculum​ ​and​ ​collaborate​ ​to​ ​enable​ ​students​ ​to​ ​g​ain​ ​knowledge​ ​and​ ​skills​ ​by​ ​working​ ​for​ ​an extended​ ​period​ ​of​ ​time​ ​to​ ​investigate​ ​and​ ​respond​ ​to​ ​an​ ​engaging​ ​and​ ​complex​ ​question,​ ​problem,​ ​or challenge.​ ​With​ ​PBL​ ​students​ ​work​ ​collaboratively,​ ​using​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​tools​ ​and​ ​technologies​ ​to​ ​actively construct​ ​knowledge​ ​as​ ​they​ ​investigate​ ​possible​ ​answers​ ​to​ ​a​ ​real-world​ ​questions/problems.​ ​Students are​ ​motivated​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​because​ ​the​ ​work​ ​is​ ​relevant.​ ​​With​ ​a​ ​clear​ ​understanding​ ​of​ ​students​ ​–​ ​who​ ​they are,​ ​what​ ​they​ ​are​ ​interested​ ​in,​ ​what​ ​motivates​ ​them​ ​–​ ​teachers​ ​will​ ​create​ ​conditions​ ​to​ ​empower students​ ​to​ ​unleash​ ​their​ ​full​ ​potential.

Our​ ​founders​ ​have​ ​backgrounds​ ​in​ ​education​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​​ ​the​ ​criminal​ ​justice​ ​system​ ​working​ ​with​ ​at-risk youth.​ ​“We​ ​really​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​create​ ​a​ ​school​ ​to​ ​help​ ​dismantle​ ​the​ ​school-to-prison​ ​pipeline​ ​and​ ​close the​ ​achievement​ ​gap,”​ ​said​ ​our​ ​founder​ ​Evelyn​ ​Cortez-Ford.​ ​“We​ ​would​ ​like​ ​75%​ ​of​ ​our​ ​student​ ​base​ ​to come​ ​from​ ​low-income​ ​families​ ​who​ ​qualify​ ​for​ ​the​ ​free​ ​and​ ​reduced​ ​lunch​ ​program.”

We​ ​are​ ​collecting​ ​‘expression​ ​of​ ​interest’​ ​forms​ ​to​ ​show​ ​support​ ​for​ ​our​ ​program​ ​and​ ​keep​ ​interested families​ ​updated​ ​with​ ​the​ ​latest​ ​news.​ ​Interested​ ​families​ ​may​ ​submit​ ​a​ ​non-binding​ ​‘expression​ ​of interest’​ ​form​ ​on​ ​the​ ​our​ ​website ​at https://spaciousskies.org/expression-of-interest/.