Frequently Asked Questions - Colorado SKIES Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a charter school?
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools overseen by the local school district or county, but are free to govern themselves and create their own educational program. Charter schools operate independently of the local school board, often with a curriculum and educational philosophy different from other schools in the system. They are non-religious and are mandated to teach all. Charter schools provide parents and pupils expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities available through the public school system, and encourage the use of different and state-of-the-art teaching methods.

What is Project-Based Learning (PBL)?
Project-Based Learning (PBL) allows children to learn curriculum through fun, meaningful, hands-on and collaborative experiences. Projects inspire the children to learn and apply the content standards in a real-world, relevant way. Through research, self-discovery, and teacher facilitation, learners inquire and seek out the information they need to accomplish the goals of the project. In addition to understanding, applying, and retaining the content, PBL helps develop vocational and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.

Why are “students” called “learners” and “teachers” called “facilitators” at CSA?
At Colorado SKIES Academy, we call our teachers Facilitators because their role is to facilitate learning each day. We choose to call our students “Learners” because that is exactly what they are there to do, learn.

What do you mean when you say there is no “homework?”
We believe that homework should be meaningful and child-driven. Our facilitators typically do not send out homework packets or “drill” worksheets. Unfinished classwork, research, or other preparation for projects are typically done at home. CSA values your family’s time at home, which is why most learning is done at school. Many children are inspired to do follow-up research and exploration on their own because they are deeply involved in the projects they are doing.

Who can attend?
This public charter school is open to all residents of Colorado. You do NOT need to be in the Cherry Creek School District.

What is the tuition?
This is a tuition-free public charter school. There is no cost to attend.

What will the class sizes be?
25 learners to 1 facilitator

Do you teach the Common Core Standards / Colorado State Department of Education Standards?
Yes. However, our learners acquire a deep understanding of these standards through Project-Based Learning. As a publicly funded school, our learners participate in all state-mandated testing.

What is the path for CSA learners after middle school?
CSA will provide all the options available for your young person to continue in their pathways of STEAM, especially related to aerospace and aviation. These include traditional high school programs, hybrid opportunities (partially online and partial on campus), online coursework, and specialized pathways. In addition, we will strive to help our learners make connections with aviation and aerospace communities through job shadowing, clubs, and national competitions.

Will the school still open if there aren’t 225 students by August?
We are still opening, even if we are not at 225. With that being said, our contract with CCSD states that we will be able to adjust our budget to reflect the actual number of students and not request additional funding from CCSD (Cherry Creek School District).

Do learners wear uniforms?
We do not have uniforms so that the learners can maintain a sense of individuality and self-expression. Of course, we do make sure that they are dressed appropriately.

Is Colorado SKIES Academy a family participation school? How many hours am I expected to work, and how will I know where or how I can volunteer?
Volunteering and participation are always optional. We do strongly encourage participation in order to foster the home/school connection and work tirelessly to create a culture where families feel welcome to come onto campus often. If possible, families are asked to participate 40 hours per year, which works out to 1 hour per week, or 4 hours per month. These hours can be earned through a variety of opportunities intentionally designed to accommodate a range of schedules and ability to participate, including classroom volunteering, operational/facilities assistance, relevant professional expertise, and administrative tasks.

We created a short survey to help us understand how we can best use people’s experiences, talents and interests to help the school! Please click here and take just three minutes to fill it out.

What does your classroom culture and discipline policy look like?
Because of our unique approach to deeper learning and focus on social-emotional skills, we take a different approach to discipline than most schools. We believe it is part of our job to facilitate growth in the areas of learning self-direction and discipline. We think it’s so important that social-emotional skills are even included in the Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs), Learner-Led Conferences LLCs) and Reports of Progress (ROP).

Each of our learners is different, as are the challenges that arise. Therefore, the consequences for choices that might negatively affect those around them become authentic and naturally related to the behavior, and come with discussion and context. We are not fans of “punishments and rewards.” This method is based on research to find the best approach and right fit philosophy to go with our mission.

Colorado SKIES Academy
Colorado SKIES Academy is a free public charter school authorized by the Cherry Creek School District, open to students throughout the Arapahoe County and Douglas County areas. This STEAM middle school serving grades 6-8 is located at Centennial Airport next to Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight.
Colorado SKIES Academy

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