Jeffco Open School is awesome and I would encourage any parent who wants their child to LOVE school to check it out. It's a complete educational community with children from pre-K to High School. It's centered around a large communal plaza/cafeteria that is always bustling with enthusiastic kids, parents and teachers. The walls are covered in amazing student projects, the teachers and administrators are encouraging and connected to students, and academics are pushed through personal passion and interest. All types of kids and parents feel nurtured and and welcome in this environment!
Jeffco Open School seeks to change lives and encourage students to love learning. Moving beyond standardization and quantitative methods of assessment, a personal approach is utilized in order to give students positive adult and community interactions that help them realize how to utilize resources and appreciate learning for the sake of learning itself. The Open School teaches students how to fall in love with their schooling, how to create the world that ought to be-- how to seek meaning in our lives so that we can lead productive and fulfilled lives. This school, as a result of experiential learning, gavgives kids in K-12th grades depth, worldliness, understanding, conscientiousness, mentoring abilities, and a greater awareness of society and the world. Jeffco Open is the only public school I know that teaches about Nelson Mandela in second grade, goes on international trips, allows students to teach classes themselves, and truely allows students to be enables to direct their own learning. The philosophy of the school is that experiential learning will best shape students and prepare them to excell in the future and out there in the real world. For the most part, the school succeeds in using small class sizes, lots of trips and activities, and a great deal of self directed learning to prepare students for college and life after college. If you are a parent with a gifted child who doesn't take well to authority and constant CSAP prep, but is extraordinary when asked to discourse on a subject that he or she is really interested in, you might consider this school as a haven for their individuality, which would otherwise be summarily pounded out of them unless it fits into an extracurricular activity or a class at traditional schools. But beware- your second grader may come home wanting to start planting trees all over the place to win a Nobel Peace Prize, your seventh grader might well show up with a trip permission slip asking you to send him or her to Spain to study cooking, and your high school senior is likely to be less interested in prom than in buying an old car and turning it into an Art Car resembling a large shoe - all for credit.
I went to the Open School in 1987-2000 (K-12). Before college, I had never received a grade, GPA, exam, etc. I succeeded tremendously at my university and was even the Valedictorian of my graduating class. This honor (among many others) was not a result of good test-taking (although I did learn how to do that), it was because I love to learn! The Open School teaches students how to fall in love with their schooling, how to create the world that ought to be-- how to seek meaning in our lives so that we can lead productive and fulfilled lives. This school, as a result of experiential learning, gave me depth, worldliness, understanding, conscientiousness, and a greater awareness of society and the world. I am forever indebted to this school, for giving me joy and passion in my life, and helping me to have an incredible life!
Based on my experiences, JCOS has a positive, warm learning environment perfect for a child who performs well without rigid structure. The students were clearly taught practical problem-solving skills through hands-on experiences.
JCOS is an experiental learning school in Lakewood Colorado. The focus at this school is educating the whole child, Personally, Socially and Intellectually. Kids are passionate about their education and, for the most part, HATE being out of school.
My daughter graduated in 2000 and my son is now in middle school. Both have attended the Open School since preschool (more than 20 years combined experience). Both have learned that they are in control of their education and have broadened their experiences through travel and independent studies. While academics are integrated in the curriculum, the emphasis is on helping students to grow into connected, productive, and well-adjusted adults. The elementary program allows kids to be kids, but the high school program requires students to demonstrate academic, personal and social skills in order to graduate. My daughter has been exceptionally successful in college (double major, plus minor and 3.5+ average as a junior), my son is just a joy to be with at 13! I too have met my closest friends among the parents. The teachers here take their jobs very seriously, and love the students. It's a team effort.
Jeffco Open is by far the best school I have seen; far superior to the ones I attended growing up. My son loves it so much he is sad when the school is closed for vacation! The curriculum is excellent, w/emphasis on student involvement, focusing on the whole child. The best!
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