Creating partnerships between schools and local community organizations isn’t something we just talk about at Spacious Skies. We have and continue to take action to fulfill our vision of creating true partnerships with area businesses and nonprofits to bring family services and enhance educational opportunities to our students.
“With approximately 75% of our student population on the state’s free and reduced lunch program some of our families are displaced and lack resources for basic things like dental care let alone having cultural opportunities to experience the work of artists and poets,” said Spacious Skies founder Evelyn Cortez-Ford. “The organic and strategic partnerships we’re building will not only positively impact our students but their families as well.”
For example, during an informational meeting about our school, we noticed that a family completing an “expression of interest” form for their child left the address section empty. When asked about this the mother shared that the family was recently homeless. We immediately reached out to one of our partners, Blackbird Outreach, and the family was able to find a home that day. Blackbird Outreach is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need access the systems and services to help them get back on their feet.
“We are here to not only educate our students but to act as a support system for their families,” Cortez-Ford said. “We have partnerships with several organizations in our community like Aspen Pointe, which offers mental health support, and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR) which is focused on arts and culture. This is important because not all students are able to get this type of exposure on their own so it’s important that we fill this gap. ”
With a focus on the whole child, we are committed to providing our students with opportunities to explore the arts. While art and music will be integrated into lessons, projects, and units, a partnership with COPPeR will help our students make meaningful connections with practicing artists and local arts organization from across the Colorado Springs community.
“We are pleased to partner with Spacious Skies as a resource, connector and provider of information. We support any organization looking to increase the amount of exposure to art or infuse it into the learning process,” said Andy Vick, COPPeR Executive Director. “Studies have shown that it’s important to integrate the arts into a curriculum for students because they become better learners, more creative and innovative thinkers, and eventually become adults who are more successful in the workplace and in life.”
Another community partnership with the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO), a 501(c)(3) dedicated to advocating for and training neighborhoods to be safe, healthy, and thriving places to live, aims to collaborate with us bringing together the expertise of both entities to help students understand the importance of community.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Spacious Skies to develop, test and refine a curriculum that will help produce young people who understand why being in a neighborhood is a good thing and its importance to their quality of life,” said Executive Director Dave Munger. “Together we’ll create a community-based approach designed to assist each student to be an effective and engaged citizen.”
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 http://www.spaciousskies.org/.