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 gain 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/.