Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado has been approved by the Colorado Charter School Institute to open a charter school in south Larimer County in the fall of 2020 with grades K-6, growing to K-12. Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado is replicating highly successful classical schools currently operating in Colorado.
Q: What is a charter public school?
A charter school is a non-profit, tuition-free, independently operated public school granted greater flexibility in curriculum, staffing, and operations.
- Receive state “per-pupil revenue” (PPR) and some local mill levy dollars but do not typically receive funding for capital expenses, which must be paid for from operational funding;
- Offer seats to children based on random lottery. Charter schools do not select children;
- Offer a variety of curricula, instructional styles, and sometimes differ in their philosophy toward education. Parents choosing a charter school as an option for their children doesn’t indicate a weakness in district run schools, but a preference for a different approach and focus for their child;
- Serve students with specials needs;
- Allow parents a choice in the education of their children! They are not right for everyone.
For more information on charter schools in Colorado, visit the Colorado League of Charter Schools.
Q: When will Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado open?
Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado will open in the fall of 2020.
Q: What grades will the school serve?
The school will offer grades K-12 but will open with grades K-6 in the first year, adding additional grades each year once we move to our permanent location. We expect to reach grade 12 by our fourth year of operation.
Q: Will Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado serve students with special needs?
Yes, the school will serve students with special needs. Direct instruction, the structure and coherence of the Core Knowledge curriculum along with the Riggs phonics program are very effective and the school is likely to be able to support a broader spectrum of special needs. The focus of the school and its Student Services is to provide support and tools to enable all students to be successful in school and life.
Ascent Classical Academy does not ask applicants if they have special needs until they are offered a seat in the school. At that time, the school will evaluate any Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or 504 plans to determine the school’s ability to serve an individual student and ensure they will thrive and be successful.
Q: Where will Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado be Located?
Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado’s opening location will be in Fort Collins at Clearwater Church, located at 2700 S Lemay Ave. This new K-12 charter public school is approved by the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI) to open this fall for the 2020-2021 school year, and will open with grades K-6.
The school intends to move closer to the Windsor area in the year 2021/2022 as it finalizes plans to build a campus.
Q: What is the annual school calendar and school hours?
Ascent Classical Academy’s first day of school is August 31, 2020, and the last day of school is May 28, 2021. School hours are 7:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Q: What is classical education?
The underlying philosophy of a good classical school differs from how most other schools are educate today.
Q: What are the core elements of the academic program?
Ascent Classical Academy takes a classical, liberal arts approach to educating young people, as described above. Other key elements of the academic program include:
- Core Knowledge sequence in grades K-8;
- Riggs, an explicit phonics approach to literacy. The school also requires a mastery of spelling and proper grammar as well as good handwriting and cursive;
- Singapore Math;
- Highly engaging, direct, teacher led instruction with increased use of Socratic techniques as students progress through the school;
- Primary source documents used to the maximum extent possible.
Q: Will Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado require teachers to be licensed?
All Ascent Classical Academy teachers will be highly qualified.
Ascent Classical Academy will hire the most highly qualified teachers for our classrooms and seek out content experts.
After involved parents, it’s known that highly effective teachers, using an excellent, proven curriculum in the classroom, have the greatest impact on student success. Ascent Classical Academy seeks staff with expertise in their content area and the best teachers for each position may or may not be licensed teachers.
One of the automatic waivers granted charter schools by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is a waiver from teacher licensure requirements (Colorado Revised Statutes 22-63-201), which most, if not all, charter schools in Colorado have. View a complete report of all waivers granted to charter schools throughout Colorado.
Rather than having licensed teachers, the state of Colorado allows charter schools to hire “highly-qualified” teachers. To earn this designation a teacher must have a college degree or other demonstrated expertise in a content area that person will be teaching. At the 6th grade level and below, a teacher may take a placement test. Details on the “highly-qualified” qualification is found on the CDE website.
This waiver allows Ascent Classical Academy to hire a teacher with a master’s degree in Chemistry to teach science, or a retired college English literature professor to teach high school English. Liberty Common School in Ft Collins, the school that set the all-time ACT record in Colorado, does not have a single “licensed” teacher.
Q: What sports and extra-curricular activities will the school have available?
As with most charter schools, the school will likely open with a few offerings and add more based on student demand and the school’s access to quality coaches and advisors to lead activities. The school anticipates opening with cross-country.
Children in Colorado are fortunate that they are able to participate in a sport or activity at another school if that sport is not offered at their school.
Q: How did Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado get started?
Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado is a joint effort of several local parents, other parents who have been involved in starting classical schools, and classical school leaders in Colorado. The team is excited and committed to replicating a strong classical charter school in the Windsor area.
Q: What is the relationship between Ascent Classical Academy of Northern Colorado and Ascent Classical Academies?
Ascent Classical Academies is the non-profit management partner of the school and offers services similar to what a district offers an individual district-run school, at a much lower cost. The relationship is performance-based and value-added to the school, meeting best practice guidelines established by the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI) and the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA). The cost is negotiated annually, similar to the charges the district imposes on all its charter schools. All the services are those charter schools are already responsible for and typically performed by several different vendors. Specific functions and services include:
- Implementation and administration of the Educational Program, inclusive of the acquisition of instructional materials, equipment and supplies;
- Employment of all personnel working at the School and management of all personnel functions, including staff professional development;
- If so directed by the school, securing a facility to be leased or otherwise provided to the Board, operation of the facility, and the installation in the facility of technology integral to the operation of the School. The facility shall comply with, or otherwise be approved with regard to, all state regulations governing the use of the facility as an elementary/middle school, as applicable. Any lease or financial terms related to such a facility will be separately negotiated and documented;
- All aspects of the business administration;
- All aspects of the accounting operation, including general ledger management and financial reporting;
- Food service;
- Marketing and development costs;
- Any other function necessary or expedient for the administration of the School.
The management agreement is approved annually and includes termination provisions either party may execute. The continued availability of a facility is not tied to the management agreement and teachers may chose to work directly for the school should the agreement end.