Frequently Asked Questions

General

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/guardians and students 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 students (learners) 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, learners 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 call our students “learners” because that is exactly what they are here to do: learn.

What do you mean when you say there is no “homework”?

We believe that homework should be meaningful and learner-driven. Our facilitators typically do not send 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.

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 (PBL). Because our school is publicly funded, 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 child to continue on their pathways of STEAM, especially related to aerospace and aviation. These include traditional high school programs, hybrid opportunities (partially online and partially 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.

Do learners wear uniforms?

We choose not to 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?

We understand this is not an option for every family, but if possible, families are asked to participate 40 hours per year, which works out to one hour per week, or four hours per month. These hours can be earned through a variety of opportunities intentionally designed to accommodate a range of schedules and abilities to participate, including classroom volunteering, operational/facilities assistance, relevant professional expertise, and administrative tasks. Visit our Get Involved page for more information on how to get involved, and make sure to subscribe to our weekly Monday Message (sign up at the bottom of this page), where you’ll find volunteer opportunities.

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 believe it is part of our job to facilitate growth in self-direction and discipline. This is so important to us 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 a learner 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 philosophy to go with our mission.

How can I support Colorado SKIES Academy?

Many of you have asked what you can do to help make this year amazing:

  • Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Tell your friends to check out our website.
  • Email us if you would like to volunteer.
  • Once you have completed the registration, please join our CSA Family Connection Facebook group. This group is for parents of Colorado SKIES Academy learners to share ideas, ask questions, and connect with one another.