The arts — including visual arts, performing arts, ceramics and music — are integrated into the daily classroom curriculum with projects, visiting artists and parent volunteers. Students engage in formal art classes with the art teacher 2-3 times a week. Music is used as part of everyday classroom experiences and all-school meetings.
The sound development of the physical, emotional, and social well being of the student is an essential component of our program. Each teacher participates in the social/emotional progress of the students. Teachers schedule class time in each learning center to discuss problems, interests, ideas concerning physical and emotional health, and conflict resolution.
We incorporate the study of the body through sport, skill development, physical fitness, nutritional awareness and the learning of lifelong health strategies. Students are also exposed to language arts, mathematics, science, problem-solving, critical thinking and cooperative learning through individual and team sport instruction. Our philosophy is based on teaching students’ self-discipline, self-motivation and team cooperation in a non-competitive manner.
We have a comprehensive, integrated health/wellness program for grades K-8. It includes the following components: social emotional life skills, school safety, conflict resolution skills, bullying prevention, diet and nutrition, sex education (grades 5-8), and drug & alcohol prevention (grades 6-8).
CCS was founded as an alternative to conventional public schooling, in which outdoor education, exploration and respect for the natural world were among the school’s pillars. This program provides an environment for developing leadership, teamwork, and other important life skills. Taking a student out of a familiar environment and into the out-of-doors builds self-confidence and resilience, communication skills and extends the classroom curriculum into an applied environment. Experiential education is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, and clarify values.
CCS teachers frequently design field trips that relate directly to the curriculum. Field trips and other experiential activities are essential to our program because they provide invaluable hands-on learning experiences.
We are a true “community” school: we work to develop a respect for and involvement in both the school community and the community at large. Each student is personally involved in the successful functioning of the community through learning conflict resolution skills as well as performing daily chores. Community work days, the 8th grade student internship program, and outreach programs all serve to involve the community at large in the culture of the school. Each learning center also takes part in a service project in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Choice blocks are offered at school and off campus by our teachers four times a year, providing an opportunity to focus on lifelong learning in a multi-age setting. It gives students and teachers opportunities to develop relationships outside the typical classroom setting, helping to enhance community ties. In a mentoring capacity, adults can share the interests and skills they have acquired through a commitment to lifelong learning. Choice provides an alternative venue for student success and enrichment, through the experiential development of skills, opportunities for service, and exposure to and practice of the arts. Examples of past Choice blocks include Leather Work, Design & Build, Songwriting and Recording, Ceramics, All Things Art, and Service Trips to Heritage Park Senior Center and Colorado Animal Rescue.
The Internship Program
The Internship Program offers 8th grade students the opportunity to work for a variety of local businesses and nonprofit groups. This community partnership promotes an awareness of the diversity of adult and community life and builds confidence and interest in partnership with the community outside of the school. We believe that education is too important to take place in the school building only.
The Big Event
The Big Event is a project that involves the entire school community and integrates all aspects of the curriculum. With student input, a theme is chosen every fall. Traditionally, students have written, produced and performed a major theater production with support and direction from teachers, parents and visiting artists. It has been a three-week process that incorporates drama, movement and music into the daily schedule. The Big Event is an integral part of each student’s total education.
8th Grade Trip
Each spring our eighth grade class embarks on a 1-2 week trip within the United States that incorporates outdoor education, cultural immersion and community service. The trip is an opportunity for students to apply the skills that they have learned throughout their tenure at the Carbondale Community School. Students, teachers and parents work together during the school year to fundraise for the trip.