We are Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning!
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Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning opened for its first school year as a public charter school in August 2010. This K-8 program provides an academic home specially designed for gifted learners who work above grade level in at least one academic area.
Enrollment began with approximately 150 students in 2010. Enrollment grew to 280 by its fourth year and charter renewal with Colorado Springs Dist. 11.
Our Vision & Mission
We will create an academic home for advanced and creative learning, cultivate personal and standards-based excellence and leadership ability, and serve as a resource center for the gifted community of the Pikes Peak Region.
Our students and staff will investigate ideas and master advanced content, reflect upon their own progress, explore connections between disciplines, andlead others in positive ways to new heights in achievement and service to the gifted community of the Pikes Peak Region.
To accomplish our mission and establish our vision, we strive to meet and exceed Colorado’s content standards and gifted education guidelines, provide supportive and challenging personal learning goals, implement best practices using the Integrated Curriculum Model, encourage the whole child with AcademyACL LifeSkills™ curriculum and family partnerships, support a highly trained professional staff, and serve the Pikes Peak community as a resource center for unique learning needs.
AcademyACL’s philosophy statement recognizes the relationship that our children, teachers, families, curriculum, school and community each maintain in our success. The entire statement is available from the school office on request.
As a public charter school, AcademyACL operates much like a small business under a larger corporation. AcademyACL employees are not employees of District 11. The Academy Director (principal) is the sole employee of the AcademyACL Board of Directors, and all other employees report to the Academy Director.
Funding for the school comes from funding for all public schools: Per Pupil Revenue (PPR) from the state of Colorado. Colorado District 11 retains a small percentage (by law, less than five percent) of the PPR in order to cover administrative costs for maintaining the charter contract. AcademyACL’s Board and Administration set its own budgetary goals with those funds. AcademyACL also utilizes any grants for which public charter schools are eligible.
The History of Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning
After a small local private school for gifted students closed abruptly in the Fall of 2008, it left a gap for available programs for gifted students. A group of parents and teachers saw the need for a K-8 continuum of services to this group of learners and formed Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning (AcademyACL).
- October 5, 2008: Parents began to discuss the possibility of this new program. Soon a group of parents, educators and community members formed the steering committee to analyze the need for such a school in the community and recognized the importance of tuition-free education that was accessible to all students in need.
- October 1st, 2009: They submitted an application for a free public charter school to Colorado Springs District 11 as a central location for the entire region.
- December 16, 2009: That application was approved by the District 11 Board of Education.
- August 2010: The school opened its doors to students with approximately 155 students and sixteen full-time staff members.
- 2013-2014 School year: AcademyACL renewed its charter application with District 11 for another five years, with an enrollment of 280 students and 25 full-time staff.
- January 11, 2017: District 11 added an additional contract year to its five year charter agreement with AcademyACL, due to the accomplishment of this school receiving a rating of excellence on its Annual Performance Review. This was the first year applicable for this new board provision and recognition.
AcademyACL supplements the programs available through local districts by creating an Tier III Intervention school designed primarily for gifted learners that is tuition-free and available to K-8 students across the Pikes Peak Region.
Recognizing that these learners have very unique educational needs, this school encourages each student to set individual learning goals with a variety of instructional methods and flexible grouping practices that cultivate strengths and support weaknesses. This school also serves as a resource center that connects students, families, and staff from other schools to resources and information within the Pikes Peak Region.
A Rich Heritage of Learning
The school’s name was chosen with roots in Greek academia, where Plato held philosophical conferences in a grove near Athens named from hero Academus. At Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning, we appreciate the way that the Greeks set high standards of excellence as their goals.
We serve students who have “gifted” learning characteristics that are not better than other students’ characteristics, they are just different. These students show unusual learning patterns that require less repetition and more complexity than other students, and therefore they have to set much higher goals in order to show growth and experience hard work. They also have to work with specially-trained teachers in order to receive optimal support and sufficiently challenging material.
We also function as a place of training where students can experience the art of discovery. Students dig their hands into challenging projects, discover the excitement that excitement that new learning brings, and set personal goals for their own pursuit of excellence.
We also use the rich heritage of research in the field of gifted education, and we salute the work of researchers who have dedicated their lives to advocacy, education, support and mentoring of these gifted children who have challenging and perplexing needs. We are especially grateful to utilize the work of Dr. Joyce VanTassel-Baska with the Integrated Curriculum Model, Dr. George Betts with profiles of gifted learners and the Autonomous Learner Model, and Dr. Linda Silverman with visual-spatial learners and twice-exceptional learners.