One "silent hero" of the Colorado charter school community that we don't hear very much about is Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy (CMCA). I visited the school today and was very impressed with many of the things happening at the school.
The people at CMCA are very humble about their accomplishments. I asked the Executive Director, Collin Mullaney, to what he attributed the incredible test scores routinely produced in the middle school and he quickly credited their middle school Language Arts teacher. CMCA has two Language Arts classes each day and for struggling students, they get a third class. CMCA students have scored 100% on the Writing CSAP--an extremely rare feat! And Collin is right--they have a great teacher!
Two of the three administrators at CMCA have been at the school since the beginning. They completely understand the school's philosophy and know how to implement it. The school is a model for many components of their educational program, including reading, writing, Core Knowledge and Direct Instruction. The program design has been very successful with the CMCA student population: 24% Free/Reduced Lunch eligible and 26% ethnic minority. CMCA qualifies for Title I funds.
This year CMCA added a high school. Their district (Cheyenne Mountain 12) wouldn't allow them to use the words "Cheyenne" or "Mountain" in their high school name, so although the K-12 is one charter, the high school is called the Vanguard School. The school recently purchased land a couple of blocks from their current site that will hold the entire K-12 campus as it is built out. The location is ideal with good access, open space and trees, and lots of space to grow.
CMCA has been awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon award in 2004 and the state John J. Irwin School of Excellence award from 1999 to 2006. I'm confident more achievements are in the future for this incredible school!