Welcome to the Aspen Community School! We take a unique approach to learning and are happy to share our educational philosophy with you.
When students graduate from ACS they stand in front of the school community and talk about who they are and what they believe. We are proud of the common thread in our graduates’ remarks: a strong desire to learn and to engage in self-discovery, and a belief that the world can be a better place with hard work and a positive attitude. We begin this work in Kindergarten and design these values to last a lifetime.
Our mission is simple: to foster lifelong learning. We achieve this goal by focusing on three, mutually inclusive domains: academic excellence, building strong relationships and engaging students in relevant curriculum, all of which are achieved in a small school setting.
Academic Excellence — In order for students to be successful learners they need to master academic skills. Our primary foci are literacy, mathematics, wellness and The Arts. ACS students receive 60-90 minutes of literacy and mathematics instruction five days a week. Staff carefully monitor student progress and provide targeted instruction to ensure that all students excel. Visual and Performing Arts are an important part of our academic program. The arts support creative thinking, problem solving, innovation and collaboration. Students take arts classes up to four times each week and participate in all-school, cross-curricular arts projects, such as the Spring Musical. In addition to regular arts instruction, the arts are frequently integrated into all academic classes. Social Studies and Science are woven into the curriculum in both thematic units and specific classes. Spanish is currently taught four times a week as an elective for 7th and 8th graders. ACS classes are in-depth and our curriculum is focused. Our goal is to engage students and even though test scores are not part of our mission, the fact that our students earn some of the highest reading, writing and math scores in the State is no accident.
Relationship building is how we form a strong, authentic connection between teachers and students. Community is woven into the fabric of everything we do at ACS. Our expectation is that everyone in our community acts with mutual respect and cooperation. Each week the entire school comes together at All-School Meeting. The purpose is to share student work, solve group challenges and build strong relationships.
Relevance — All learning is inter-related. We strive to engage students in learning that is meaningful to them and their community. Students are frequently asked to make connections between subjects and participate in group projects. Our annual Spring Musical and Experiential Education trips are examples of this type of curricula.
Small Class Size — Our school is small by design. Combining small groups of students with highly trained, passionate teachers, we strive to make a difference academically and socially in the lives of every ACS student.
Jim Gilchrist, Principal