Life Skills Center of Colorado Springs is a technology-based high school for drop outs. The school is an excellent model of how to impact student's lives through academics in a caring and supportive environment. Many of the Life Skills students have difficult home situations, are parents themselves and/or are homeless.
A visitor to Life Skills is first struck by the environment of the school. The respect amongst students and staff is tangible. Students know what's expected of them and they thrive knowing someone cares, yet is going to push them to reach their goals. This is even evident by the security guard who greets students by name as they enter the building. If students aren't in uniform, the guard directs them to a place where they can change their clothes. No one messes with this kind-hearted gentlemen who takes his job very seriously.
Chuck Holt, a retired Air Force pilot, is Life Skills' very capable leader. Chuck's military background is inculcated in every student. Students know their "OI" (operational instructions) includes earning credits toward their diploma and maintaining a disciplined environment. Chuck is quick to praise his highly qualified and dedicated staff. These teachers are exemplary. They know where each of their students is at academically and different ways to motivate each one. If the student isn't learning, it's the teacher who modifies instruction.
It's rare to find a high quality school serving high-risk students like Life Skills. In addition to doing a good job of educating their students, they've recently started a variety of programs to address the serious life situations these students deal with. As with other aspects of the school, these social programs are research-based.
Life Skills Center's authorizer is Colorado Springs 11, which is very supportive of the school and recognizes its value to the district. In numerous situations, the district has waived the 30-day drop out rule in order to allow students to attend Life Skills sooner than is normally allowed. This is a district that puts the needs of the student first! In turn, the charter school provides a top-notch education to students who would otherwise not even be in school.