Welcome to January 2022 and the end of 2021! As the holidays end and the new year rolls in, many of us want to reflect on the past 12 months and at the same time keep moving forward. I will do a little bit of both as we celebrate CSA’s accomplishments and look ahead to see what 2022 brings us.
During this first half of the school year at CSA, we have built on our foundational project-based learning curriculum. In addition, we have added daily specials, electives, R3 (Reading, Research & Reachout), and Aviation Discovery Days.
Each grade level actively engages in daily specials aligned with the Colorado Academic Standards in Physical Education, Technology, and Art. Our learners thoroughly enjoy creating code to make a robot race down the hallway, designing award patches for their DreamUp To Space project, printing objects on the 3D printers, playing hockey, refreshing with yoga, exploring virtual reality, and designing with the Glowforge 3D Laser printer.
During our second quarter, CSA learners were able to select electives. Learners provided their facilitators with a list of potential areas of interest and the facilitators created elective courses embedding the Colorado Academic State Standards through a project-based lens. Some of our second-quarter electives included: Photography, Music, Drama, Passion Projects, Spanish, Japanese, and Ground School for 8th grade.
Colorado SKIES Academy continues to celebrate learner projects through Presentations of Learning (POLs). Our most recent POLs and projects included an 8th grade Shark Tank adventure, a 6th-grade weather balloon launch, and a 7th and 8th-grade DreamUp to Space project. DreamUp to Space is NASA-sponsored and engages learners across the nation with the most cutting-edge space research and developments and inspires them through scientific discoveries in orbital and suborbital space. The Activated Charcoal Team, a CSA finalist, is working to gain approval for and manifest on the SpaceX and Orbital rocket to launch with the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022.
Since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year, Colorado SKIES Academy learners have been digging deeper into their literacy skills through reading, research, and reachout with a new course called R3. R3 designates 45 minutes daily for self-selected reading and exploring research of topics that have piqued their curiosity during reading. Many of our learners have been challenged and encouraged to investigate passion projects as a result of R3.
In September, Colorado Skies Academy received a report from the Colorado Department of Education sharing the Spring 2021 CMAS (Colorado Measures of Academic Success) results. Colorado SKIES Academy scores have room for improvement, yet can celebrate achievement outperforming the state average in Grade 7 English Language Arts and Grade 8 Science.
CSA has designated every Friday as Aviation Discovery Day. Our Discovery Days have provided our learners with close and personal interviews with pilots, scientists, and aviation experts during the first half of the year. Highlights included a Delta pilot sharing the importance of Math, a hot air balloon demonstration, an astrophysicist, and a Vietnam Veteran pilot.
This year, new programs have been added to support growth, leadership, and social and emotional development: the ambassador program and the bullying curriculum, and the Month of Caring. During December, CSA learners have been busy serving others. We are so proud of our learners as they have contributed to and supported charities and nonprofit organizations. CSA also offers new extracurricular activities such as Movie Nights and Track Club. This half of the year, Colorado SKIES Academy learners have also been able to take leadership roles in planning and administering activities and day-to-day operations. In addition, we celebrate our learner-led activities: fall costume celebration & Winter Wonderland Dance, learner-led daily announcements, and communications.
CSA also celebrates creating better opportunities to support all learners. Colorado SKIES Academy has implemented an MTSS (Multiple Tiers Systems of Support) team to provide intentional enrichment and interventions for all learners. This committee meets every Wednesday morning to review learner growth, data, and specific learner needs. The committee has implemented data tracking, grade level interventions and supports, and free after-school tutoring and support for all learners Monday – Thursday from 3:45 – 4:45 pm.
We are so thankful for our Parents and Families who have committed to partnering with CSA through the PAC (Parent Action Committee), SAC (Student Accountability Committee), and Watch Dogs. The PAC, SAC, and Watch Dogs are moving forward, meeting regularly and planning to support CSA. In addition, our Parent and Family committees have come together to build a strong CSA community with a few family activities, including the Family Block Party, Wingman for a Day, Veterans Day Celebration, and the Winter Performance for the CSA Board of Directors. We celebrate all of our parents and families for their ongoing support, willingness to contribute and excellent feedback.
CSA learners have enjoyed being in a brand new building, and all the specialized design features are available for optimum learning. We have added additional classroom storage spaces, more whiteboard tables for learning, backpack hooks, and a mobile library. Air purification systems have been installed in some of our frequently used rooms to ensure better air quality. In addition, this school year, we were able to partner with Cherry Creek Food & Nutrition to serve free breakfast and lunch for all learners.
This year has also had its share of challenges as we have navigated being back in person after a COVID Outbreak in October and readjusting our brains to being around people. In addition, we have safely resolved a few learner incidents. We are very fortunate to have exceptional resources as well as an outstanding team that can quickly evaluate and provide appropriate responses. We have often invited our School Resource Officer (SRO) from Arapahoe County to help us and provide us with appropriate resources. We also appreciate our SRO and the support we have received from the Arapahoe County Police Department. Safety and security remain a top priority for Colorado SKIES Academy.
Colorado SKIES Academy has a well-established safety and security plan and will partner with our SRO from time to time. As a result, you will occasionally see Arapahoe County School Resource Officers and possibly EMS visiting CSA. In the event of a severe incident that directly involves the safety of your learner, you will receive immediate notification in the form of a text message, phone call, and email.
As part of our ongoing safety and security plan, CSA encourages families to continue monitoring or checking their learner’s technology usage at home. We receive many reports from parents and families of inappropriate activity on social media sites like Discord and TikTok, including cyberbullying. For example, Discord can be accessed via phone, computer, and any gaming devices such as Xbox or PlayStation, leading to many inappropriate usage opportunities if not monitored. We thank you for your continued support as well as ongoing communication.
We are very excited to share with you the additional learning opportunities at Colorado SKIES Academy, along with designated priorities for 2022. Some of our top priorities include prioritizing each learner’s academic growth, increasing learner enrollment for 2022-2023, strengthening parent and family communications, providing support for learners through anti-bullying curriculum, activities, and clubs, prioritizing academic and providing ongoing support and professional learning for facilitators and staff as they develop project-based learning opportunities.
Beginning in January, after-school clubs will offer additional sessions, including basketball, Minecraft, chess club, digital arts, and VR (virtual reality) club. Sign-up here as clubs will be starting the first week after the break!
As we all know, bullying is a recurring problem throughout schools. At CSA, we do not condone bullying of any kind and are enacting a plan to model kindness and respect throughout the school to prevent bullying. We also have plans to implement a curriculum explicitly focused on understanding what bullying looks like and how to stop this throughout the school. Our Social Worker, Jenna Kapp, will share this curriculum with facilitators during advisory times. The curriculum will focus on defining bullying, exposing the myths related to bullying, and implementing steps for students and staff to prevent bullying from happening in the school.
All CSA learners will participate in MAP testing from January 12-14, and again in the spring. The NWEA MAP Test (Measures of Academic Progress) is an adaptive achievement and growth test. It creates a personalized assessment experience by adapting to each student’s learning level — precisely measuring progress and growth for each learner. CSA facilitators and learners use the MAP test results to set goals and look for additional learning opportunities. Each CSA learner’s MAP results will be synced to the online learning system Mobymax. CSA learners will log in to Mobymax for skill enhancement and enrichment. Once the data is synced learners will be able to use their CSA login credentials to access Mobymax.
Recruiting enrollment will be a top priority for CSA as we move into 2022. We encourage everyone to join us as we invite other families to consider Colorado SKIES Academy. Feel free to invite your friends and neighbors to sign up for a tour or consider enrolling their child for the 2022-2023 school year. Click here to schedule a tour.
CSA will be creating a committee as part of the School Accountability Committee that will focus on increasing enrollment for the 2022-23 school year.
Colorado SKIES Academy is invested in strengthening family partnerships and communication. The Colorado SKIES Academy School Accountability Committee (SAC) has been working on surveys for all Parents and Families, Learners and Facilitators, and staff. Collecting this data will provide the feedback necessary to create plans to improve and make sure we communicate with families in the best way.
Would you please help the CSA School Accountability Committee by taking a few minutes to complete this Survey? All surveys will need to be completed by January 17.
Parent Link: https://forms.gle/LkvFVNwnxfEpAZid6
The SAC invites all CSA learners to participate in a learner-specific survey. Learners should complete this survey: https://forms.gle/h3Ck9hh9YmKp96aG9
Colorado SKIES Academy is also committed to helping learners grow and develop their skills and talents. One of the most effective ways to encourage our learners is to invest in Learner Led Conferences. The LLCs are scheduled to be in person at Colorado SKIES Academy. Therefore, we have added the following dates to our 2021-2022 school calendar for LLCs (Learner-Led Conferences).
We hope you will join us as CSA learners will present their progress in the Learner-Led Conference (LLC) Presentations, unpacking their digital portfolio. This experience creates a powerful incentive for learners to develop their skills through the communication of high expectations, public display of meaningful work, and opportunities to showcase talents in modalities that best suit learners’ distinct learning styles.
Colorado SKIES Academy is also committed to ongoing safety and security for all learners. To provide better and more effective internet safety, in 2022, CSA will be installing a new internet filter to monitor and block gaming and inappropriate sites during school internet usage.
To best prepare our facilitators and staff, CSA has committed to providing professional learning days specifically focused on project-based learning and diversity, equity & inclusion.
Thank you for your contribution and support for CSA in 2021. We value your partnership as we strive to improve and move Colorado SKIES Academy forward in 2022. Please feel free to reach out for more information or if you have any questions.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and joyful new year.
As always, please let me know if I can assist you in any way.
CSA School Director
Cell Phone 219-255-8130
Our next SAC meeting is Tuesday, January 18, at 4 PM in the Village. SAC meetings allow parents, staff members, learners, and community members to play active roles in decision-making. We will discuss survey items, and host an open forum…
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Colorado SKIES Academy now offers free after-school tutoring and support in Language Arts and Math. If you are interested in scheduling regular support, please contact email@example.com to signup. Tutoring will be available Tuesday through Thursday from 3:45 – 4:45 pm. …
Colorado SKIES Academy will not discriminate in its enrollment on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, need for special education services or need for English language support services. Colorado SKIES Academy will comply with all applicable, approved policies and regulations and the requirements of federal and state law concerning the education of children with disabilities. No student will be denied admission because of academic performance. Please see “Successful Student Characteristics” on our website for further details.