Unique and wonderful! It is a small school environment and I know more parents here than at any school my kids have been involved at, or that I was ever enrrolled in. There is a whole culture about becoming a self-guided learner and being an active parcipant in all facets of your own education rather than sitting at a desk and having an instructor be in charge of what you are able to learn. The scores can be misleading, as the school is on a two-year cycle with the lower grades, but the critical thinking skills, positive experience and lack of discipline related issues more than make up for a school that doesn't teach to the test.
My children have had a wonderful experience at Civano. It starts every day with group sharing and singing a positive song together. I know most of the other parents and a good number of the kids. There are overnight events in the community and even a camp-out on the mountain that a lot of families go to over the fall break! For school events, it seems every kid and parent is present! For a fund-raiser, the kids created a restaurant and made a menu, took reservations and then worked from 5 pm to 10 pm on restaurant night. Kids hosted, waited tables, did dishes, prepared the food and even played live music. They learned while they earned! (PS, this was made possible by that commercial kitchen! So, yeah, the priorities are right!) Beyond the school culture, the teachers are great and it is a collaborative environment. As a parent I feel in tune with what my kids are being taught and love that they love learning. There are special electives like gardening and robotics! My kids learn at their own pace and are pushed to achieve more than they thought possible. With their tests scores in the 90+ range, I'm satisfied they're learning more than they would at other traditional schools!
The teacher and staff of Civano are amazing. they are always available and eager to help work with parents and students to bring out a child's best. Students are taught to be responsible for their own learning, meaning they learn time management at an early age and adopt a, "the buck stops here" attitude towards work. This program does not "teach the test" which results in less stellar standardized testing scores in earlier grades, but the pay off is reached with excellent scores later. The students have been taught to think their way through problems rather than memorize seemingly irrelevant facts. Parents and community are extremely involved and it shows!
Civano Middle School is a dream come true for us. We have two students there & they both love it. The teachers are flexible & go to unbelievable lengths to help each student. They truly use a "whole child" teaching method. Most assignments are done in the classroom, only a small amount of work is assigned as "homework". Our son went from hating school @ Desert Sky to LOVING school @ Civano!
As a parent and an educator, I am thrilled about Civano's 'whole child' approach to education. Children learn at their own pace, in small classes where students on various levels support each other and share their strengths. Their commitment to the environment is a plus, but it is their commitment to the education of the individual child that makes Civano an exceptional educational institute.
Civano Community School is basically privately run by a single individual whose commitment to 'green' and 'community' while a nice complement to goals of academic excellence, tends to over-shadow the fundamentals. Extremely small (four teachers for K-5), it's a nurturing environment for your K-1 child. As students move toward upper grades and require more diversity in their curriculum, teachers and classmates to meet both state standards and the intellectual/emotional needs of inquisitive and questioning 9-11 year olds, Civano begins to fall short. This is reflected to some degree in the school's aims scores, and the way student pop. dwindles as kids advance to upper levels. Priorities are clear: the $50,000 won for greenest school is earmarked for a commercial kitchen, rather than a science lab, a better library, etc. Not sure why this charter exists.
This school has made a wonderful difference in our lives and how our children approach learning. What was once a drag, a nightmare and just plain hard has become a wonderful adventure called learning. We love Civano and hope all children can be as happy as ours are in school.