Parents of AcademyACL
PAACL is the parent organization for AcademyACL and every parent automatically becomes a PAACL member. PAACL operates independently of AcademyACL and communicates frequently with the AcademyACL Director.
PAACL focuses on family and social events, student enrichment, and teacher appreciation. They support AcademyACL's Chili and Games night every February, host book and clothing swaps, and provide coffee and snacks for a "Cheers and Tears Breakfast on the first day of each school year so that parents can get to know one another. They bring forward candidates to the AcademyACL Board when there is a parent member opening on the Board as well.
PAACL meets the first Wednesday of every month. Committee member meetings are usually held the third Thursday of the month. All meetings are open to the public.
Contact paaclpresident@AcademyACL.org for time and location of meetings and for copies of meeting agendas. AcademyACL encourages all families to participate in PAACL to help develop solid family-school partnerships.
ALMA is our online learning management system that serves as a way to communicate with families and students about progress toward mastery of standards.
We use Alma in two ways: the gradebook program that tracks students’ progress on supporting standards for the year; with frequent progress reports released throughout the year, and a trimester “learning report” that illustrates students progress at the end of each trimester on the larger power standards for the year and includes a narrative from each teacher on your student's progress. This system allows us to capture students working at different grade levels of instruction than they might be enrolled, such as a “third grade” student working on level five math.
Standards-Based Grading ensures a fair and consistent evaluation of student performance, focusing on progress over time on specific skill and knowledge-based standards.
With standards-based grading, scores on assignments are not the focus and scores are not averaged together for a final score. The focus is on individual skills and/or pieces of knowledge (supporting standards) that, when put together, illustrate progress toward a larger, more encompassing power standard.
In standards-based grading, percentages are not used. Students’ scores are instead tracked on each standard, progressing from the first time they encounter the material to the last time before the trimester grade report is created. Scores on power standards should increase over time. Students are expected to reach at least 3.0 level of mastery by the end of the year. A percentage, commonly used in a traditional letter grade system, would hide that growth.
AcademyACL’s report card is a “Learning Report” that identifies each student’s demonstrated work ethic at that level, separately from his/her level of mastery of the standards. The work ethic level for each subject denotes whether the student has missing or incomplete assignments, is turning in quality work, is following directions for the assigned expectations, etc. Teachers include a narrative in each child's learning report for each class to highlight areas of strength and exceptional progress or interest and areas of growth for the coming trimester.
AcademyACL's grading scale for each subject follows this scale:
1.0 (Beginning): the student can only attempt the concept with help
2.0 (Developing): the student can define the words but not necessarily apply the concept without major or frequent errors
3.0 (Mastery): the student can fully apply that particular standard
4.0 (Advanced): the student can fully extend the application of the concept into new areas beyond what the class was presented
5.0 (Exceptionally Advanced): the student can substantially extend the concept and create new material with the concept that is significantly above the level of 3.0 mastery for this class.
What Makes AcademyACL Different
Our classroom placement policy offers each child the greatest chance of success and support within their multi-page learning cohort. Our teaching staff considers multiple factors, such as intellectual, social, emotional, behavioral and developmental needs, leadership skills, preferred learning styles, and student friendships when determining classroom placement.
We offer initial family conferences before school begins to get to know new families and share goals and plans for the school year. We also hold three additional sets of family conferences throughout the year to discuss student goals and progress. Families are always welcome to schedule time to meet with teachers outside of conference days.
During the first three weeks of school, we intentionally plan learning opportunities around a common theme that changes from year to year. This time provides time for community building within divisions, establishing social contracts, and beginning of year testing to determine learning groups for core classes. Our September "ODD Night" (Orientation, Divisions, & Desserts) serves are our back to school night and showcases orientation projects, teacher-led informational sessions, and community.
At AcademyACL, we use an elementary scheduling model school-wide:
7:50 Students begin to arrive
8:30-10:00 Art of Language
10:00-10:30 Fitness and Fun
10:30-12:00 World of Math
12:00-12:30 Lunch in classrooms
12:30-3:00 90-minute Historical or Scientific Inquiry, and 50-minute Encore classes
3:00-3:10 Reflection and Launch
All divisions have an outdoor break in the afternoon for 10-15 minutes.
The Colorado Department of Education notes that a charter school has more flexibility than traditional public schools in regards to curriculum, fiscal management, overall school operations, and may offer an education program that is more innovative.
At AcademyACL. every teacher, including Encore teachers, specializes in the needs of advanced, gifted learners. We use a K-8 model with a block schedule which allows students to attend the level class they need for reading, writing, and math. Our curriculum comes from gifted focused, researched-based resources which are used to develop units of instruction around a Big Idea using the Integrated Curriculum Model (Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska) which focuses on Big Ideas and themes within and between disciplines, with Advanced Content and Differentiated Instruction & Projects designed for students.
We use resources from the College of William and Mary, Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop, Reveal Math, Foss Science, and Physics-In-A-Box from Physcira and a partnership with Dr. Anatoliy Glushchenko in the UCCS Physics Department. Our teachers use these resources to develop Integrated Curriculum Model structured units of instruction and learning opportunities that correlate to the Colorado State Standards with gifted learners in mind.
Our enrichment programs offer a wide range of opportunities for students to explore their passions. We have hosted choir, Taiko drumming, art and construction collaborations with Concrete Couch, theater productions, chess, fiber arts, and many others! We offer summer enrichment learning after the school year ends, with classes including Ozobots, Fiber Arts, Creative Writing, and Spanish Immersion. Offerings each summer vary.
We value the partnership between parents and the school community in fostering student success. Parents have opportunities to volunteer in classrooms, lead games or small group activities, support events, and share their expertise with both students and staff as special speakers or hosting activities during STEAM Day or other school-wide event days.