While we believe that every student can achieve, not every student should have college as their goal. We know that it is a controversial statement, but while students are all created equally, not every student may “fit” the college mold and may have entrepreneurial designs, vocational goals, or a desire to serve in the military as their career. As we said, no two students are alike and each comes with their own abilities, talents, and learning styles so just as an education shouldn’t look the same, why should their life goals be any different? We provide educational options and opportunities for students to achieve their full potential based on who the student is – rather than whom we think they should be. As such, we believe that student learning ought to be:
Differentiated and student-focused
Much of the traditional education model is focused on what works for the system rather than what works for the student. Just as we differentiate our parenting for each child, so must we differentiate student learning. Students learn differently and forcing a student to learn “this way” causes frustration and boredom that is counterproductive to the learning process. We take the time to identify the needs of the student by a thorough diagnostic evaluation to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each student in order to build learning plan that best fits the student’s needs.
Personalized Learning Plan (PLP)
After the i-Ready, a comprehensive reading and math adaptive diagnostic test, is completed, we determine what the student is missing, what the student knows, and determine a plan of action. Simply placing a student in the “grade level” recognizes the age, but does little to address gaps in learning. As learning builds on previous learning, students that are missing important gaps are missing critical links in their learning process. We take the time to develop an individualized learning plan to address the gaps in learning and determine the curriculum needed to help the student acheive success. Taking students from “where they are” to “where they need to be” is possible through the integration of educational strategies to help facilitate learning. This ILP allows the students to learn at their own pace, which often is not possible in a normal classroom.
Learning should be relevant, collaborative, and applicable to life
Students tell us that they want to learn things that are “real to life” so we focus our learning models on applying things to life. While much of education is focused on “passing the test”, we believe there is much more to learn than just what is on a test. We want our students to read-to-learn, think critically, analyze, and synthesize information so they can be critical thinkers and utilize the things they learn by applying it to their real lives. This can only come through a collaborative learning environment that builds relationships between teachers, students, and parents.
Teachers and staff love students and love to see them learn
Call us crazy, but we think teachers ought to love students and love what they do! In addition, we believe that they should be paid for how well they do their job rather than for just showing up. We are building a pay system that focuses on the teachers’ value: one that rewards hard work and effective teaching based on merit, not just seniority. For most school districts across the country, teacher compensation is determined by the time spent in the position, certifications, and other measures that are input-based, and fail to reflect performance outcomes. Under the new plan, teachers who work hard and demonstrably improve student outcomes will be rewarded for their success in the classroom.
Relevant Student Focused Opportunities
While academics are an imperative for educational growth, we believe students need to understand and embrace things like respect, character development, service, and integrity. Our program is designed to allow for the teacher and staff to focus on more than just the “academics” and help grow the whole student.
Particularly in grades K-3, research shows that student interaction with the learning coach and teacher provide for a strong foundation. Our partnership with parents is intended to be collaborative in nature so that the student gets the focused attention needed to develop a solid foundation. As such, we intentionally design cohorts to operate on a scale designed to create effective learning opportunities for each student.
Academic Achievement We believe every student should plan to succeed and should be academically prepared to accomplish that goal – whether that is college or a vocation, we want students to master the materials they are learning. With that in mind, we set the bar high because we believe that every student is capable of achieving academically through hard work, focused commitment, and a desire to learn. Our commitment to student success comes from a culture that encourages mastery rather than progress; and is guided by clearly stated and measurable outcomes for academic performance.
Personalized Learning through a Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) Our focus is on learning for the student and therefore we will build a program that is reflective of the “student is at the center of every decision we make” focus. Each student will receive an ILP as a result of an intensive indicative assessment process that identifies their learning gaps or their advanced placement options so that we can focus on where a student is at in the learning process rather than where the teacher is at in the calendar year.
Student Focus While our focus is not primarily on raising test scores, we want to see that a student is achieving and growing from year-to-year and that the student is able to demonstrate the level of achievement by successful completion of various required assessments. Parents, students, and teachers are all committed to helping the student achieve success to gain confidence and pride in their efforts to learn and grow. Our faculty is passionate about growth and the school is committed to using the data we gather from assessments to further refine the education of each student.
High Expectations We believe that students will live up to the expectations set before them – low level of expectation, low level of achievement and conversely high expectation, higher level of achievement. We believe that holding students to a high standard of excellence in all that they do will develop character, commitment, and a level of confidence in themselves that they have earned their scores and were not just given the scores because they did the work. Our professional staff will have high expectations for our students and hold them to a mastery level that will sustain a higher level of learning.
Character Students must understand that “everything speaks”. From the work they turn in, to the way they treat others around them says something about who they are. We are committed to teaching our students integrity, respect, and service as a part of their growth as a whole person. Our professional staff will hold students to a high standard related to personal integrity in completing their own work, plagiarism, and honesty. Students are taught how to show respect for their teachers and professional staff, peers, and those in authority over them. Lastly, as part of the student’s learning experience, they will be required to serve others to help gain an appreciation for and respect for those in need around them.
Personal Choice Education at ColoradoEd is a personal choice but beyond that, it is a commitment by the student, parent, and educator to do the work necessary to gain the success for the student. We believe that all choices come with responsibilities and choosing ColoradoEd means the family, student, and the teacher are choosing to fulfill the responsibilities necessary to help the student achieve.
Adaptive Strategies We are dedicated to the proposition that all students are created equal and that every student should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. No two students are alike and each comes with their own abilities, talents, and learning styles so we adapt the learning to be responsive and flexible in order to address the learning style, needs, and grade placement of the students. We will provide a host of opportunities for students with different goals to help them achieve the most successful learning environment for the student.
Partnership We are committed to a partnership with families to help their children succeed at the highest level possible. Participation in the school is a choice and with that partnership comes commitment and responsibilities for the parents, families, students, faculty, and staff to focus the students on their schoolwork.
Continuous Improvement We are committed to building programs and practices that develop students, staff, and faculty. We will build our student-centric programs by evaluating, assessing, and analyzing our programs, practices, and data in order to continuously improve and stay true to the goal putting students first – whatever their aspirations may be for their lives.