Colorado Springs-area charter schools grow up and out
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Colorado Military Academy is working on renovating a building it's buying next to Peterson Air Force Base, as organizers prepare to open in the fall with 600 students in grades K-9. Provided rendering.

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Two niche charter schools with specializations not currently offered in Colorado - a "sober" high school and a military-style K-12 academy - are making progress toward opening in Colorado Springs this year.

Landmark Community School, for students ages 14-19 who are recovering from addictions to drugs or alcohol, will start classes Jan. 30, according to organizers.

Also, the state's first military academy for elementary and secondary students gained unanimous approval last week from Falcon School District 49's board to open Aug. 14.

Both will be public state-funded schools.

Landmark will be located in Immanuel Lutheran Church's old school building at 828 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

Students must have at least 30 days of sobriety and be committed to recovery, said Leslie Patterson, program director. Referral from an approved representative is part of the admission process.

Principles of recovery will be integrated into the academic environment, which will focus on project-based learning. The teaching method poses a complex question, problem or challenge to help students learn knowledge and skills.

Part of the school day will include social and emotional development, with students working with local professionals from treatment centers, Patterson said.

The program will be tailored to each student's needs, with an individual recovery plan established for academics and recovery, to include prescribed medication.

A group of addiction counselors, parents and community members formed Landmark Community School, after seeing a need for an environment that would support, not hinder, teens' recovery from addiction.

"We've had tremendous community support, and we recognize it's a grassroots solution to a big problem," Patterson said.

The school, an offshoot of Community Prep School, an alternative charter school in Colorado Springs School District 11, is enrolling students for the spring semester. Contact Patterson at or 632-5112.

It will open with 20 students, six teachers and three mental health counselors, Patterson said, and do rolling enrollment, meaning students can apply for admission any time after being released from a treatment program.

Military school first in state

Colorado Military Academy will provide a military leadership school model and focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, math and business curriculum (known in educational circles as STEAM+B). A project-based learning format also will be used.

A grand opening and registration event will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at 6829 Space Village Ave., next to Peterson Air Force Base.

Organizers are buying the former Leidos building at 360 Command View Drive and will renovate it.

The property is located in Colorado Springs School District 11 boundaries, but the district relinquished its authority to charter the school last year, citing financial limitations. Organizers then asked Falcon D-49 officials about coming under its wing.

The building also will house the School Leaders for America Teacher and Principal Licensure Programs, which train military veterans to become teachers and principals. The group is behind the new school.

Unlike other charter schools, teachers will be licensed through the state, said John Evans, Colorado Military Academy commandant, and they will be retired military veterans with master's degrees and experience working in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

Evans said the school plans to open in the fall with around 600 kindergarten through ninth grade students and expand by one grade per year until 12th grade. Students will be required to wear uniforms.

Advanced technology, parental involvement, discipline policies, a concentration on academic growth and character education with moral values and leadership training will be included.

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