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Old 05-04-2018, 01:35 PM
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Hello! My family and I are moving to the Springs in August. Our children will be starting Kindergarten and 1st grade. Iím not really familiar with charter schools. Can anyone speak to the differences between the Colorado Springs public schools and the charter schools? We are planning to move to the district 20 or 49 areas. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-04-2018, 01:42 PM
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Generally speaking, most public schools here offer a good education at your local neighborhood school. Charter schools you would need to apply and be accepted - most of the good ones have waiting lists - and provide your own transportation in most cases, etc. A handful of the charter schools are excellent but there are also some real fly-by-night ones out there, too. Some of them are based on a for-profit model and most have more lax standards for qualifications of teachers as well as lower pay structures, etc. They are more likely to require uniforms and to have a unique selling point such as promoting a particular style of instruction or unique curriculum. Charter schools are less likely to be able to accommodate special needs students, to accommodate free-and-reduced lunch rates if you qualify, or to offer the same range of extracurricular activities that regular public schools do. Charter schools are niche schools for the most part - designed to attract and serve a particular subset of the population such as conservative evangelicals without being totally overt about that - while most public schools are designed to serve every student of any background, essentially.
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:27 PM
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Also - please be aware school here starts in August, not September. Check the district where you're moving for a specific start date as they are not all the same. If you go to D49 the start date is actually usually in late July. You may want to consider this in finalizing your move date.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:40 AM
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Echoing Otowi- being a teacher in d49, we get a lot of students who come to school either in the middle of August or the beginning of September and they have missed two weeks-a month of school. D49 start date for teachers is always end of July, and the first day of school is typically the first week of August. Look on their website for more info. Most other districts begin middle of August.

There are charter schools in the area that have been under scrutiny in the past by the local newspaper for being almost overtly Christian in scope and practice. So be aware of that. The public schools in CO are mostly *okay*... we are one of the worst states for per-pupil funding (yes, we can try to make the argument that we do well with the little we have, but don't get me started) and for teacher pay. You get what you pay for, often times.
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Old 05-07-2018, 10:37 AM
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I think it is too late for charter schools here. I would add district 12 to your list too. I would also call each school prior to purchasing a house and ask any questions that may be deal breakers to you.

*Eta, charter schools aren't bound to Common Core curriculum, but still must take the state test. The difference outside of that is full/half day for kindergarten, lunch & recess times, uniforms, and some have a cultural brand that they try to push based on different philosophies. Some schools (public) also do special classes different, Spanish integration, desks/sharing different, and bully enforcement differently.

That being said, I called and looked at pretty much every school district and charter school and private school (secular and not) in the city when planning where to buy a house, and ended up at Academy of Advanced and Creative Learning or AACL - a district 11 charter. They specialize in gifted and twice exceptional learning. If you think your kids may meet that designation, I'd highly recommend it for next year.

My second choice was The Colorado Springs School - you can apply for indexed tuition.

I'd feel comfortable with all of D12, much of D49, the higher rated elementary schools in D20, and Vanguard outside of that. District 2 tries, but the policies they have were deal breakers.

*Eta, I have parent friends in each district, and all seem very happy with their schools regardless of where it is. I mean, all of them actually seem pretty in love with their schools including District 2 families, lots of raves about D49 in Falcon, Stetson Hills & Springs Ranch...I actually haven't heard any friend complain about any school their kiddos go to. So, wherever you end up will probably be okay.

*Eta again, except a few charter school issues with a few different schools (not ours though) mostly about over crowding and bullying.

*Eta again, and at the middle school level. It seems things get wacky there across the board for various reasons.

Last edited by abcdefg567; 05-07-2018 at 10:48 AM..
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:15 AM
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D49 is popular with the elementary. The middle schools begin to fall apart, and there are specific high schools in D49 that are better than others.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:01 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
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Originally Posted by otowi View Post
Generally speaking, most public schools here offer a good education at your local neighborhood school.
I would tend to agree with this statement. Even in districts that don't get as much positive press or do not rank as high with online data sites, there are some very good schools throughout the area. There also are some less than stellar ones as well, so looking at individual schools within a district is more important than the district as a whole, unless you are looking for something fairly specific and how the district will support those needs. My kids have participated in GT and AP classes most of their school lives and we have found that the work and level of performance at these levels is very consistent throughout the region, regardless of district.
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