Colorado Military Academy gets its own plane

Colorado Military Academy, a K-10 charter school near Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, has its own plane, a Cessna 172, for flight orientation and flight instruction for seventh through 10th grade students.

Seventh through 10th graders at Colorado Military Academy next month will start learning about aeronautics, including how to fly an aircraft, using the school’s own plane.

It’s a first for a school in Colorado, said Col. Nicole Roberts, the school’s military commandant.

“No other school has a plane solely for the school,” she said.

Colorado Military Academy, the state’s only elementary and secondary military prep school with about 500 students, also is the state’s first to have Civil Air Patrol as part of the curriculum.

The Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary of the Air Force focusing on teaching teens science, technology, engineering and math principles through flying, robotics, air riflery, Honor Guard and cybersecurity programs.

Until now, the three-year-old school, authorized by the Colorado Charter School Institute, has been using airplanes in a pool available to all Civil Air Patrol programs in the Colorado wing.

“We were able to get the plane because our kids are right here for the day, and we can do classes while they’re at school,” Roberts said. Other Civil Air Patrol programs hold lessons after school or on weekends.

A grant from the Air Force Academy’s “Prop and Wings Program” is helping pay for the Cessna 172, Roberts said, which is parked at the Colorado Springs Airport.

Lessons will begin in October.

Students as young as 11 years old begin by learning airplane basics, such as how an airplane gets in the air and stays there, and advance to equipment function and operations.

Civil Air Patrol students receive five orientation flights and are eligible to receive flight training once they meet Federal Aviation Administration requirements. Students can earn a private pilot’s license at age 16.

A new leadership model also formed for this school year. A team of four leaders, covering areas of academics, finances, military instruction and discipline, is in charge, which Roberts said streamlines operations and provides more balance.

“There’s a misconception that our school is a reform school for kids struggling with behavior,” said Linda Stahnke, dean of instruction. “That’s not who we are. Our Civil Air Patrol is a cornerstone that provides career education. We’re about building a strong identity, character and leadership and performing academically.”

A new charter school, Coperni 3, opened last month in the former Macy’s space at The Citadel shopping mall.

Authorized by the Colorado Charter School Institute, the school serves grades K-6 this school year. It will add seventh grade for the fall semester of 2020 and eighth grade in the fall of 2021.

Principal Amanda Ortiz-Torres says she wants to build a community-centered school that gives students an individualized approach to learning.

The concept is highlighted by the school’s “exhibit by three” program, which sets a goal to have all students reading at grade level by third grade.

Students who fall behind or move ahead will receive specialized, individual care, Ortiz-Torres said.

The school is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provides a variety of before- and after-school activities for students.

“The extra-curriculars that we are offering for before- and after-school care are completely free,” Ortiz-Torres said. The activities range from karate to art classes.

The school is part of a charter network started by former Harrison School District 2 superintendent Mike Miles.

His Third Future network last year acquired a Colorado Springs charter school that was struggling, Monarch Classical School of the Arts in the Hillside neighborhood, renamed it Coperni 2 and brought in its teaching model to students.

Coperni 2 offers grades K-7 this school year and is open 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m with free before- and after-school activities.

Colorado Early Colleges in Colorado Springs will open a health and wellness student courtyard this month, a “safe, contemplative outdoor space for students to learn, move, and recharge,” according to school officials.

The state-authorized charter high school enables ninth through 12th grade students to pursue college degrees and industry certifications while in high school, and focus groups indicated students would benefit from more on-campus support.

Staff has observed an increased number of students struggling with social and emotional issues, including mental health and substance use issues, said Jennifer Daugherty, head of school.

Students and staff created the new space, which features an oval green lawn and outdoor classroom with hammocks, a basketball court and Gaga ball pit, quiet spaces with boulder seating and a sensory garden.

GOAL Academy High School has become the second school in Colorado and the first and only Alternative Education Campus to be elected as a Microsoft Showcase School for “excellence in demonstrated student outcomes resulting from their commitment to educational transformation.”

The statewide charter school, headquartered in Pueblo and authorized under School District 49, has 4,400 students enrolled this school year.

The recognition is for “applying purpose-driven innovation in a variety of ways to build connection, motivate students and to create community in and out of school,” Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s vice president for worldwide education, said in a news release.

“These schools are truly transforming learning and providing more personalized education to students, empowering them to achieve more.”

Staff and students at Showcase Schools are able to communicate directly with one another, participate in an exclusive online global community and host and attend online and in-person educational events.

GOAL students will have the ability to obtain industry certifications in information technology and gain hands-on experience through internships.

Liberty Tree Academy, a charter school in School District 49, has hired Stephen Wright as the new principal.

Wright has worked in education for 25 years and from 2010 to 2017 was principal at The Classical Academy College Pathways.

Liberty Tree, teaching “authentic, traditional American education,” is supported by Hillsdale College and relocated this month from a temporary facility to a new building at 8579 Eastonville Road with grades K-9.

Roosevelt Charter Academy, a K-5 school in Colorado Springs School District 11, has established a chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society to recognize outstanding students.

The school is selecting new members for the 2019-2020 school year.

More than just an honor roll, the program engages members in service activities and leadership development.

Roosevelt joins elementary schools around the nation in establishing a program to promote excellence in academic achievement and involvement in leadership and service for the nation’s youngest students.

“This will allow our students yet another opportunity to expand their horizons as they work toward becoming successful and productive young men and women,” said Steve Tompkins, Roosevelt principal.

The Classical Academy in Academy School District 20, Colorado’s largest brick-and-mortar charter school, has security enhancements, air quality testing and a host of facility improvements this school year.

With a $300,000 School Security Grant, the projects include upgrading the IT network architecture, replacing steel doors at the East Campus and installing additional cameras and intrusion-resistant window film, said spokeswoman Tisha Harris.

Air-quality testing at all three campuses also was completed over the summer, she said, indicating “no measurable mold contamination, with building interior mold levels testing lower than the outside air.”

As has been done for the past decade, all campuses will be tested twice a year, Harris said.

A new office space for College Pathways and Cottage School Program was constructed at the East Campus. The office has more space and visibility for front office staff and is easier for visitors to distinguish between the East Elementary office and the other programs.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.

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