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Respect, Integrity, Creativity

Crestone Charter School

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Ski & Snowboarding Program

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Personalized Learning

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School Profile

In its eighteenth year of operation, Crestone Charter School has managed to serve the needs of rural students in the poorest county in the state of Colorado, while providing the depth and consistency of educational programming that has earned it the John Irwin Award for Academic Excellence for multiple years now, the Governor’s Award for Academic Improvement, and a BEST  (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant of $5.7 million from the state for the construction of a new facility, recently opened August 2012.

Student Population

Crestone Charter School is a rural public charter school serving 96 students in grades K-12 within the Moffat Consolidated School District. Eighty-nine percent of CCS students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch for the 2014-2015 school year. CCS operates five multi-age classrooms and our program is dedicated to hands-on, expeditionary learning.

Non-Graded Program

Crestone Charter School is a non-graded program. Student progress and growth is tracked through Individual Learning Plans and the use of formative assessments and normed test data including TCAP, NWEA, ACT Explore, ACT Plan and ACT.  Bi-Annual parent/student conferences are held to support students’ learning goals.

Post-Secondary Opportunities

Our graduates have earned acceptance into state universities including CU Boulder, CSU in Fort Collins and DU in Denver. Other graduates have earned acceptance into private programs such as Stanford University and Antioch College. Some of our graduates have entered international programs including the Shumei Institute in Osaka, Japan and the School of Music at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Coursework Offered

As a state accredited public high school we offer all required credit hours in Language Arts, Literature, Mathematics, Science, and World Language Studies. Our classes are a “pass/fail” option at the high school level, where students are required to complete all assignments, assessments, papers and tests to their highest possible level of achievement, or otherwise 80% proficiency of the rubric used for assessment of an individual activity.

In addition to the traditional academic coursework, Crestone Charter School offers a unique Mentorship Program that places students with professional artists, activists and teachers within our community for afternoon studies in an area of particular passion or interest for the student. We offer electives credits to our secondary students in areas such as Visual Art, Voice, Horsemanship, Welding, “Caveman Alchemy: A study of Human Inventiveness from the Discovery of Fire to Plastic”, Drama, Latin, Dance, Quantum Physics, Permaculture, and Culinary Arts.

Outdoor Education

Additionally, CCS values physical education and environmental awareness and offers a number of challenging, guided outdoor experiences to our students throughout each school year, including a Whole-school Camping Trip, Ski and Snowboard Mentorships at Monarch Mountain, Back Country Hikes that require “leave no trace” camping techniques, Rock Climbing, River Rafting, Archery, Swimming, and Mountain Biking expeditions. Students leave the program with mastery of basic outdoor survival skills, leave-no-trace camping principles, the ability to prepare shelter in outdoor situations, and an appreciation for and sense of stewardship towards the natural environment.

Experience-Based Education

A distinctive part of the Crestone Charter School high school program are annual, student directed and student funded national and international expeditions. Our high school students have planned and executed trips to Costa Rica to study in a Cloud Forest with regional Entomologists, India where they volunteered in an Orphanage for Tibetan Refugees, Japan where they worked on a farm dedicated to natural agriculture, and Post-Katrina New Orleans where students delivered a temporary library to students at Brock Elementary School who had lost their school and their homes. Traveling as a group, our students bridge academic instruction in civics, economics, social studies and biology with real-world experiences and relationships.

Non-Graded Program

Individual Learning Plans, Assessment, and Enhanced Transcripts

Instruction at CCS and the work children do is based on the Colorado State Standards and Ends Policies set out for us by the Governing Council. The accomplishment of these Ends requires success in a large number of projects and lessons over many years. Our students also learn a sense of inner drive and self-evaluation throughout their time at CCS. The practice of giving students grades would disarm the development of the process. The teacher’s role is to help students learn how to know when things are completed, how to judge the quality of their work, and to validate when student self assessment is accurate.

At CCS, we still do give feedback and use a number of evaluation methods to help students and parents to understand how they are doing in school. We participate in school-wide annual standardized tests, including:

  • CMAS (Colorado Mesaures of Academic Success)
  • PARCC (Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers)
  • NWEA (The Northwest Evaluation Association)
  • ACT college entrance exam
  • DIBELS Reading Assessments grades K-3

At the beginning of the school year, all students grades 3-8 take the NWEA as a beginning of year assessment tool.  At the end of September students, parents and teachers will meet to map an Individual Learning Plan for each student. The plan will include specific academic goals based on previously acquired test data, or if this is not available for a new student entering the program.

In-class tests, projects and student work will develop a body of evidence that supports student achievement towards their specific goals. If a student is not making progress towards goals in their learning plan, teachers will change the learning plan in consultation with the student. At the end of each semester, teachers will discuss with parents and students at their conference, the progress the student is making toward the accomplishment of his/her goals, and refine the Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) for the next semester. A written record of this conference is made and kept in the student’s records. These written records constitute a student’s enhanced transcript which is routinely accepted by other schools and by colleges.