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Academy Charter School celebrates 20 years of educating students

CASTLE ROCK - In September 1993 a group of parents and teachers started Academy Charter School in a former grocery store in Castle Rock. The K–8 school opened its doors with 315 students of all educational abilities. Today Academy Charter School has an enrollment of 600 students in a 50,000 square foot building as well as an additional 150 students who attend the Home School Support Program. A total of 750 students are now educated by Academy Charter School.
 
Walking into Academy Charter School 20 years ago and today, you might see some students building a model Parthenon, while other students practice a play based on a Greek classic. The school combines innovative teaching with conservative curriculum ideas. The school's parents and teachers believe in educating the whole child through the Saxon Math program, the Core Knowledge Curriculum, developed by E. D. Hirsch, Spanish language, technology, and hands-on science activities.
 
Educators and parents do not think of Academy Charter as a back-to-basics school. As one teacher explained, "We believe in modern technology and active learning. But we want students to master content, not just to develop skills. I'd call it pragmatic education: we will do whatever it takes."
 
In 1993 Academy Charter School parents praised the Douglas County School District for its support.
 
As one parent explained in 1993, "The district could have reacted defensively to our questions and concerns. But the school board, Superintendent Rick O'Connell, and Assistant Superintendent, Pat Grippe, allowed our group of parents to create the kind of school we thought made sense." Grippe believed in public school choice, stating in 1993 that "when families select schools, they are more committed to them, and their students do better."
 
Today Douglas County School District continues to support the charter movement. From 1993, when there was only 1 charter school, until today, when DCSD now has 14 charter schools, including two that are expected to open next month. Without district, community, and parent support, it would not be the school it is today.
 
In 1993 Academy students improved scores on standardized tests that supported the school's approach. The first year's progress report, using the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, showed a nine percent overall increase in math, a four percent increase in language, and a three percent gain in average reading scores. Progress continued, and in the spring of 1996, after a careful study, the Douglas County Board extended Academy's charter for another two years. The state department of education also named Academy Charter a Colorado School of Excellence.
 
Today Academy Charter School continues to receive awards from the state for its continued academic excellence and success. They have received the Governor’s Distinguished Improvement Award, received an “A” ranking and were ranked in the top six percent of Colorado schools by Colorado School Grades. Their TCAP scores continue to exceed the state.
 
On September 30, Academy Charter School will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a special event.

 

August 28, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category: Communications

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DCSD is requesting parent input on the health and wellness of our students. Last year, DCSD received a large planning grant from Colorado Health Foundation in an effort to assess how the district supports students through the lens of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC). The mission of this grant is to review the current state of DCSD's student health and wellness program, and then formulate a three to five-year plan based on stakeholders’ needs, the latest research, and best practices. As part of this process, we would like your input.

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It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.