Student Handbook - FAQs
- What is Multi-age Instruction?
- What is a Charter School?
- How can parents and community get involved in the school?
- What about when things don't go well?
- What about enrollment?
- Who are the staff?
- How is the school funded?
- Where is the school located?
- What is the curriculum?
- How about class size?
- How will the school grow?
- What are the school's frameworks of standards and benchmarks?
- How does the school use technology?
All of our classrooms are set up to offer a multi-age teaching environment for teaching academics. Multi-age teaching, which allows for children of different age levels to be in the same classroom, is different from a "combined classroom." A multi-age classroom with 5,6,7,and 8 year olds, for example, allows all ages to work together on similar learning projects, but to advance academically at their own level. This is very different from a classroom in which a first grade lesson is taught to first graders and a second grade lesson is taught to second graders.
The advantages of multi-age teaching are many. A multi-age classroom is a true community of learners where everyone is respected for where he or she is on the learning continuum. All children have the unique opportunity to be leaders and to teach other students, thus reinforcing their own learning at the same time that they may be learning from other students. Teachers in multi-age classrooms are more aware of each student's needs; lessons must be designed to teach a variety of levels, so curriculum and techniques are used that are developmentally appropriate for students. Each child is allowed to progress at his or her own pace. Children in multi-age classrooms have the opportunity to stay with the same teacher for two or three years, thus eliminating a month or so of adjustment that is normally needed to establish the teacher-student-family relationship.
Charter schools are free public schools of choice. Charter schools are pioneers and innovators and are open to all students as a free public school of choice. Charter schools allow creative parents, community members, teachers and educational leaders to design schools that better serve particular populations. Because we are a charter school we have local autonomy in administrating our school. Our five member board is made up of Guffey citizens who are deeply invested in the Guffey Community School.
One of our greatest assets at Guffey School is the involvement of our parents and the local community. Our parents and community members work hard to support our educational programs, and our school works hard to maintain a close link to the community. Classroom volunteers are encouraged and welcome in all of our classrooms. Community businesses in the Guffey area have organized themselves into a support group for the school, creating an advertising poster that donates all of its advertising fees to the school's preschool program. Anonymous community donors contribute generously to the school as well, indicating that the existence of our school is essential to the well being of the entire community. It is significant to mention that when the students put on a school performance in Guffey, the entire community comes to honor the children and their accomplishments... parents and non-parents alike. We are a true community school, devoted to the educational needs of the children and of all citizens of Guffey. Another more formal way to get involved is the join the school's Accountability Committee which meets monthly. Contact chairperson Lynda MacDonald for more details.
Children are often the first line of communications that something is not going well at school. If they have a complaint about a teacher or other students, they are likely to voice this concern to their parents. It is important that parents pay attention to what their children are telling them; it is also important for them to check out what the child has reported. The first thing to do is to contact the child's teacher to get another perspective on the event. Miscommunication and misunderstanding are often the case, so talking to the teacher is the most important thing that parents can do to resolve a problem before it becomes an even bigger issue. One of our school's goals is to have the teachers and parents work together as a team in the interests of the child. If the issue cannot be resolved, then the school's principal will become involved. If a family would like to voice the concerns in a more formal manner, the school has the following policy for such matters:
Public Concerns and Complaints Policy
The school's Administrator welcomes constructive criticism motivated by a sincere desire to improve the quality of the educational program or to equip the school to do its task more effectively. It is believed that complaints and grievances are best handled and resolved as close to their origin as possible. Therefore, the proper channeling of complaints involving instruction, discipline or learning materials will be as follows:
- Guffey Community Charter School's Board of Education
Any complaint about school personnel shall always be referred back through proper administrative channels. This means that prior to being presented to the Board for consideration, a meeting must take place with the school principal. When a complaint is made directly to an individual Board member, the procedure outlined below shall be followed:
- The Board member shall refer the person making the complaint to the principal.
- If the person will not personally present the complaint to the principal, the Board will ask that the complaint be written and signed.
If at any time the person making a complaint feels that a satisfactory reply has not been received from a principal, they can request that the Board hear the complaint. The Guffey Community Charter School Board's decision is final and the RE-2 District is not responsible for the decisions made by the Guffey Community Charter School Board.
Our enrollment over the past three years has averaged 35 students grades K-8th. Our school also has a preschool program and can enroll up to 11 students. Our small size is a great benefit to our students as we are small enough for personal attention, yet large enough to stimulate thinking and sharing. This atmosphere seems to encourage greater parent/community member involvement because they have a stronger sense of being an integral part of the school environment.
We have exceptional teachers and a fine support staff. All of our staff are residents of Guffey or nearby small towns and are thoroughly dedicated to the children and the school. Our classroom teachers are all Colorado Certified Teachers with extensive classroom experience and a love of children that is boundless! The strength of each individual teacher is multiplied by the fact that the whole staff works in harmony to meet the educational needs of students.
Charter schools in Colorado are funded in the Public School Finance Act, along with all other public schools. We receive per pupil revenue (PPR) on the same basis as other public school students in the district. As a public school we are funded like all state schools with the majority of the funding coming from Park County property taxes. Grant funding has also played a key role in our school having a host of additional enrichment programs. As a member of the non-profit organization, Rural Schools Network, we enjoy wonderful opportunities to share in grant funding with other small rural schools in the region. There is also the Guffey School Foundation, a fast and easy way for community members and friends to make private donations. This fund will be a key to the school's long-term sustainability.
Guffey Community Charter School is located on Main Street, County Rd. 102, in the heart of the town of Guffey, Colorado, approximately one and a half hours from Colorado Springs and forty-five minutes from Caņon City. The mountains that are now heavily treed were created by volcanic activity approximately thirty-five million years ago. Our elevation is 8,000 to 9,000 feet, depending upon where you are standing! Our summers are pleasant with short afternoon rain showers and our winters average 60 to 65 inches of snowfall. Blue skies and sunshine prevail 300 days per year.
Our school is open Monday-Thursday, like many schools in Colorado. Our school is structurally simple but organically complex. The good work done in our school is not the work of a genius. It is the hard work of caring and competent, but ordinary, people who achieve extraordinary ends because they work in an environment that not only expects the best from everyone, but brings out the best in everyone.
Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Service Learning, and Fine Arts are all subjects that are taught at our school. Our curriculum is strongly focused on developing literacy and math skills during the morning and the afternoons are devoted toward applying those skills toward multi-disciplinary projects that are often studentdesigned. The projects require students to be able to set project goals, create a budget, carry out their activities, assess their learning progress, and evaluate the final outcome of each project. Much of our learning is rooted in a sense of place, encouraging students to honor and serve their local community as they learn. Students are often out of the classroom, on research trips or involved in projects that require them to use academic skills in hands-on settings. In our striving for excellence, we believe that talent can be developed, success begets success, quality requires feedback, the best decisions result in win-win decisions, less is more, and commitment to excellence requires time.
Guffey Community Charter School is still quite small. We have three classrooms for the instruction of students in grades K-8. The preschool operates two afternoons per week and a playgroup for infants and toddlers meets once a week. Our size allows us to provide one-on-one tutoring, as needed, in a warm and nurturing environment.
As the surrounding population continues to grow, we will certainly be challenged to grow with it. We intend, however, to always honor the qualities of natural beauty, small size, community commitment, and the educational excellence that we now enjoy.
Our curriculum follows a P-8 grade framework of five strands of math instruction and four strands of literacy instruction . Our framework for math and literacy exceeds the requirements of Colorado State Standards. All strands of science and social studies instruction are aligned with Colorado State Standards. Our students are assessed with the CSAP (Colorado State Assessment Program) according to the same procedures as every other public school in Colorado. We also use Northwest Evaluation Association's MAP testing which is a computer-adaptive testing program that measures a student achievement levels.
Our school is well equipped with an average of one computer for every two students. We also have scanners, video-editing equipment, digital cameras, color copier and an LCD projector to assist in student projects. We have two computer labs, both of which are situated adjacent to our classrooms so that students have immediate access to the computers throughout the day as they work on research projects, written assignments and presentations. Some of our technology purchases have been made possible through grants and private donations.