A Message from the Director - Colorado Skies Academy

A Message from the Director

Hi, CSA Community!

The time we have all been waiting for is here…and it is real. We are moving into our new building, and we will have learners with us next week, starting with our 6th grade cohort! We are in our BUILDING!

For the past two days, I have been parking in the lot in front of our new building, and I must admit, it is surreal. 

“Where is your school?” I’m asked. 

“It’s the group of modulars next to Blue Skies Exploration of Flight,” I explain.

“That’s a school?” some folks say incredulously.

“Yes, you see, we are a start-up charter school and this is our first year. See, the construction next to the modulars is our new building, and we anticipate we will be there in the fall of 2020,” is my pat answer. 

This answer is no longer needed! We are officially in! We have our Certificate of Occupancy! There are still a few more details left to be taken care of, but we are IN! 

Over the past two days, September 10 and 11, many of you volunteered your time and service to help us get settled into our new digs. Your help has been priceless, and we would not be where we are today without your help!

“Many hands make the workload light” is a true statement in everything about our move.  We have been so blessed by the many volunteers who have come to help in any way they can, and our facilitators have been so grateful for all of the parent help they have received.  

Now the phase-in of learners begins and we will continue to follow our online learning schedule. The only difference is that some learners will follow the schedule “in-building” and some learners will be online. Either way, everyone gets grade-level, devoted time to be in the building and get questions answered and learn how things will work in-person during this unique time in our school’s history. 

Below is the grade-level phase-in schedule, which has been published before. Please continue to read beyond the schedule for some answers to key CSA family questions regarding COVID protocols.

The schedule is as follows:

Monday, September 14: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • All grade levels online
  • Staff in Building: 8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 15: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • 6th Grade in Building: follow online schedule
  • 7th and 8th Grade online at home

Wednesday, September 16: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • 7th Grade in Building: follow online schedule
  • 6th and 8th Grade online at home

Thursday, September 17: 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

  • 8th Grade in Building: follow online schedule
  • 6th and 7th Grade online at home

Friday, September 18th: 

  • No School – Staff Professional Development Day (Please see our school calendar.)

COVID Protocols
Some key questions many families have:

If there is an “outbreak” (defined by CDC of two or more learners), will I be notified?

  • In the event one learner/staff member tests positive for COVID, the entire CSA community will be notified. In order to maintain confidentiality according to FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), we will share with the entire CSA community that there was a positive COVID test in the CSA community.  This is all we can report legally. Specifics would be provided to those involved. 
  • In the event there was an “outbreak” defined as two positive tests and additional parameters met, there would be an all-school notification. However, the scope of communication in greater detail would vary based on a “need to know” in respect to FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. For example, if there was a defined “outbreak” of two or more learners/staff and it was isolated to a particular squadron, we would notify all of the families and learners of that squadron.  If there were a defined “outbreak” for a grade-level cohort, we would notify the families and learners of that grade level. There is a flow chart showing the decision-making matrix/process that a school follows in the event there is a reported case of COVID among staff/learners. It varies case by case.

Is the administrative team the only group making the decision?

  • If you review the matrix carefully, there are a lot of variations of “what if,” and it becomes confusing rather rapidly. CSA administration will work closely with School Nurse Debbie Bradley, the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), the Tri-County Health Department, and CCSD (Cherry Creek School District) to ensure we are prudent, while practical, in meeting the mandates of these agencies. Colorado SKIES Academy is a public charter school and is required to follow the prevailing law of the land, as is any other public institution.

How can I find out more about what CSA is doing regarding COVID and allowing in-person learning? How can I find out about what cleaning protocols are in place?

  • Please see the Q&A that will be posted soon that addresses more intricate details about CSA’s preparation for bringing learners into the new building in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

In closing, we are forever grateful to those founding families who wore their CSA T-Shirts in support of starting this school when the approval was in front of the State Board of Education. We are forever grateful to the aviation and aerospace community, who, in the early 2000s, had the vision to have a school on the Centennial Airport site shared by Blue Skies Exploration of Flight (Wings Over the Rockies) and Colorado SKIES Academy. We are forever grateful to the design team of iLEAD, Hollis and Miller, and Wember, Inc. who designed the building into being. We are forever grateful to JHL Constructors, who took the design and made it a physical reality. All along the way, the dream of CSA was supported by Centennial Airport and its Airport Commission and the greater aerospace/aviation community. CSA will be hosting a “limited-number ribbon cutting” for all these supporters on Thursday, September 17, at 4:00 p.m. Regrettably, due to Colorado COVID mandates, our most honored guests, our CSA families and learners, will have to view the event online at a later date. We are working to livestream the event but have been unsuccessful to date. Stay tuned!

CSA has been warmly embraced by the Cherry Creek School District and receives tremendous support. They treat CSA like one of their own, and have said, “You are now part of us. Let us know how we can help. Nothing is too small or too big for us to come alongside you and provide what you need. Your kids are our kids.” What more could you want from an authorizing school district?

It is truly inspiring to serve CSA as a school director at this time in the school’s history. So much was done by so many before I ever came on the scene. And what each person did made CSA what it is today and made moving into our permanent building a reality.  

This is a long message, but we have come a long way. This is just a glimpse into our CSA history. Moving forward, the exciting part of our journey is how far our learners will challenge us to go! Where will they push us? What will they demand in regard to their learning? What will we learn alongside them?  This, my CSA community, is the beauty of project-based learning. Put learning in the hands of the learners, and all things are possible. The only limit is the limit of our own imagination, or their imagination. Just as the CSA motto says, “The sky is not the limit when your imagination is unlimited.”

Gratefully and respectfully yours,

Suzanne Acheson
School Director

Suzanne Acheson

Suzanne Acheson

School Director at Colorado SKIES Academy
Suzanne Acheson

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