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a proposed tuition free public charter school
Projected Opening 2023 School Year
What is an American Legacy Education?
American Legacy Academy is a school choice initiative led by parents, grandparents, students, teachers, and business owners who reside in Windsor, Severance, West Greeley, and other communities within the Weld RE-4 School District. An American Legacy Education will emphasize the traditions of Western Civilization utilizing the study of history, literature, philosophy, and the fine arts. It features a rich and recurring examination of literary, moral, philosophical, political and historic knowledge to equip students for college and/or career. The curriculum is balanced and strong across the four core disciplines: math, science, literature and history with explicit instruction leading to reading fluency and language mastery.
American Legacy Academy will offer a back-to-basics education with an emphasis in math, economics, science, and language skills with a firm grounding in civic responsibility and character development.
Back to basics: A return to the classical way of educating children in the Western tradition of study. This harkens to a long history of education that has emphasized seeking truth, goodness, beauty, and the study of the liberal arts and great books.
Math: Using the Singapore Math Curriculum, students begin with memorization and drill on math facts in kindergarten. Students are also introduced to ten-based mathematics using conceptual methods like grouping and re-grouping pictorial representations of numbers. Then students move on to written horizontal and vertical numeric expressions. This encourages an active thinking process and an understanding of mathematical concepts on a conceptual level. The Singapore National Math Curriculum is the choice of many traditional schools across the county. The curriculum delivers to Singapore the highest test scores in the world for 4th and 8th grade standardized math examinations. The United States ranks below the major Asian countries, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Russia, and many others in the same examinations.
Economics: In the tradition of Milton Friedman and Friedrich August von Hayek, children will learn about free market Capitalism and its underpinnings, liberty, voluntary cooperation and voluntary exchange. Other economic systems and their political underpinnings, like socialism and communism are studied, compared, and contrasted to free-market economics. This study will promote a solid understanding of America’s imprint on human civilization and its future.
Science: The Academy will use Core Knowledge Foundation’s Science Curriculum in which children build concrete foundations of knowledge, starting in the early grades when they are most receptive, and continuing through high school. Children will learn key scientific contributions throughout history and the scientific method using examples, images, and experiences that convert mere concepts into concrete knowledge.
History: A planned progression of specific knowledge of history, including the rise and fall of civilizations, and studying relevant cultures including their languages, religions, governments, and economics. As a result, children will be able to objectively evaluate the United States’ place in the world.
Language skills: Students are taught to read using deliberate, coherent, and direct instruction of the five scientifically proven literacy domains: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. Generally, whole word memorization and ‘picture-cue’ approaches that rely on memorizing or guessing how a word sounds will not be a strategy of instruction at the Academy. Grammar and cursive are taught from the early grades to further develop the students’ language capacity. Children will read a variety of primary literature from a defined list of Great Books – both fiction and non-fiction – to develop mature literacy.
Financial literacy: Students will study the six uses of money for consumers (earning, spending, saving, investing, lending, and borrowing.) Examples of each concept (i.e., taking mortgage and investing in stocks) will be explained.
Civic responsibility: by studying American history and moral philosophy, children will learn the principles upon which the United States of America is based and how to use that knowledge to make the community a better place.
Character development: respect, responsibility, self-control, perseverance, cooperation, integrity, prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude, gratitude, and patriotism will be developed in children using programs that reward children for behavior demonstrating the foregoing values and through the reading of classical literature.
What is a Classical Education?
Classical education is a long-term, three-part process of learning which begins in the child’s elementary years and is completed at the end of high school. It is commonly referred to as the trivium and takes advantage of a child’s natural stages of learning.
Trivium means “three paths” or “three ways.”
American Legacy Academy will open two new tuition-free K-8 charter schools prioritizing students from Severance, Windsor and other communities within the Weld RE-4 School District. Sign up now to show your support!
Frequently asked questions
Below are answers to the Frequently Asked Questions that we receive.
What are Charter Schools?
Charter Schools are public schools that are governed by a separate Board made up of parents and supporters of these schools. The idea behind Charter Schools is an opportunity for ‘School Choice’, where the students and their parents can choose to be in schools that typically have different curriculums and policies that appeal to them.
What is an American Legacy Academy education?
An ALA education will emphasize the traditions of Western Civilization utilizing the study of history, science, math, literature, philosophy, and fine arts. This classical education model features a curriculum prepared by Hillsdale College. For example, the study of American History will be based on the 1776 Curriculum that integrates the study of history, civics, government, economics and culture, striving to objectively inform students of their American heritage. The Hillsdale curriculum is balanced and strong, with explicit instructional elements that lead to reading fluency and language mastery. It features a rich and recurring examination of core, classical knowledge to equip students for College or career. Complementary to the knowledge based curriculum, civic responsibility and character development are integrated into each subject and established through practices and policies of the school.
How are Charter Schools Funded?
Traditionally, school buildings are funded by asking voters to approve the creation of bonds that result in debt that is paid back over multiple years by the taxpayers. Charter schools are built privately by the school, and any debt incurred is paid by the Per Pupil Funding that is associated with each student that attends the Charter School. In simple terms, traditional public school buildings are paid by the taxpayer by increasing property taxes over many years. Per Pupil Funding is used exclusively to pay for administration, teachers, maintenance, and other costs associated with the education of students. With Charter Schools, per pupil funding also pays for the education of students, but additionally, it repays any debt incurred from constructing the school facilities. Buildings and facilities are not paid by increasing taxes.
How is technology used in an ALA Charter School?
Technology is a component of the curriculum, but ipads, tablets, or laptops are not used in most classes. ALA considers technology to be a learning tool and makes certain it is not a distraction. Computer and technology classes are a part of the curriculum so students will become proficient in the use of technological tools.
How are sports, music, arts, etc. handled in an ALA school?
Any extracurricular activity held at any school within the District is open to ALA Charter students, just by signing up. Sports teams such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, etc will be included at each ALA school. Each site is large enough for playing fields and may include a track, and each building will have a full size gymnasium.
How are students selected?
Each grade will have two tracks with up to 30 students per classroom. If a particular grade is full and there are more students wanting to be in that grade, a blind lottery is held to determine who will be in that class. Priority will be given to students who reside in the RE-4 District and other family members who are already in the ALA school.
May homeschool children attend ALA classes to supplement their homeschool curriculum?
ALA anticipates homeschool children will be able to attend a minimum of 2 courses and a maximum of 3 courses to augment their homeschool curriculum.
CHARTER SCHOOL MYTHS
Want to learn more about some of the common Charter School myths?
We put together a guide that dispels some common charter school myths.
MYTH: Charter schools are not public schools.
FACT: By law, charter schools are tuition-free public schools, thereby offering parents and students a choice among all public schools in the district.
MYTH: Charter schools are operated for a profit.
FACT: The law requires charters to be nonprofits.
MYTH: Charter schools cherry-pick students from the district.
FACT: By law, charter schools are generally required to take all students in the district who want to attend. If there are not enough seats, the school must hold a lottery to randomly select students. Students with severe disabilities that require intensive intervention go to the district’s center-based programs, as do all such students in the district.
MYTH: Charter schools cater to privileged students and exclude disadvantaged students.
FACT: See immediately above. Recent studies show marked improvement in achievement of poor, Black, and Hispanic students in urban charter schools compared to other public schools.
MYTH: Charter schools take money from public schools.
FACT: Charters are public schools and receive public funding on a per-pupil basis like other public schools but in a slightly lower amount. Charters’ buildings are not funded with public money.
MYTH: Charter schools are not held accountable.
FACT: By law, charters must meet the same academic standards as all other public schools. Unlike other public schools, if a charter fails to meet those standards the school must close.
MYTH: Support for charter schools is declining.
FACT: Charter school enrollment has been steadily increasing for years. Charters in NOCO have thousands of students on waiting lists.
MYTH: Charter schools don’t pay teachers enough.
FACT: Teachers are paid a salary commensurate with experience and performance. Some charter school teachers even earn more than peers in the district.
MYTH: Charter school teachers are less qualified.
FACT: Charter teachers must have knowledge of the subject and be able to effectively share that knowledge with students. They might not have teaching licenses, but that is not a measure of whether they are qualified to teach. Think of Michael Jordan, who would not be “qualified” to teach basketball without a license in non-charter public schools.
MYTH: Because charter schools limit the use of technology in classrooms, students will be technologically illiterate upon graduation.
FACT: Charter schools use technology as a learning tool, but make certain it is not a distraction. Computer and technology classes are a part of the curriculum so students will become proficient in the use of technological tools. The goal is to use technology effectively without diminishing the faculty leadership that is crucial to academic achievement. Liberty Common in Ft. Collins is an example a charter school that follows this philosophy. Liberty had the top composite SAT score in Colorado for the classes of 2019, 2020, and 2022.
Take the next step!
Complete A letter of interest today!
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