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Compass FAQs

Charter Schools

What is a charter school and how is it different from a private or other public school?

Charter schools are public schools. There is no tuition required, however, like other public schools, there are fees that may be charged. Charter schools are authorized and overseen by the State or a local District school board, but they have their own Board of Directors. Like other charter schools in Fort Collins, we have a lottery for admission.

School Day

Are school buses available to transport students to and from Compass?

Families are responsible for getting their children to and from school each day. We are located at the Spring Creek stop on public transportation (MAX bus line) and on the Spring Creek Bike Trail so that students can get to school on their own from anywhere in the city for free.

Is there a dress code?

We expect students to dress in a casual, but “professional” manner during the school day.

Is there a lot of homework?

All students will be assigned weekly reading and writing across the curriculum. While there is usually time for this work in class, students will likely need to work on class assignments outside of school hours, but we will not assign homework for the sake of “doing more work”.

What are the benefits of multi-age grouping?

Adolescents are socially focused, learning best when they are happy, challenged, and socially engaged. By working in multi-age groups, younger students have more mature peer models, and older students are held accountable for being those positive role models. It is a natural, inspiring, and effective way for humans to work.

What are the hours of the school day?

All students and staff will be engaged in classes for approximately seven hours per day. Student’s start and end time will be established with family at the beginning of each semester. Families may choose a 7:45a start time with a 3:15p end time, or a 8:45a start time with a 4p end time.

Calendar

Will the academic calendar be the same as other schools in Fort Collins?

Yes, the academic calendar will be similar to others in Fort Collins. We generally follow the high school academic calendar of Poudre School District, however, check our website for each year's specific calendar.

School Size

How many students will the school have and what will the student to staff ratio be?

Compass will grow to about 200 students and will maintain a staff to student ratio of less than 1:20 students. Most class sizes are about 22 students.

Graduation and College Admission

How will Compass High School ensure that students will have the opportunity to go to a college or university of their choice?

Our curriculum is highly individualized so as to offer challenge and growth for every student. We build on strengths and interests, but also continually push students to try new things.

Compass students are encouraged to take at least one English or mathematics class as part of the concurrent enrollment program with Front Range Community College. These college classes take place at Compass and are taught by Compass staff that are certified by FRCC.  This college credit is universally transferable to other colleges in Colorado and is largely transferable to out of state colleges and universities as well. We believe that students need to experience a college course before they leave high school in order to be best prepared and feel confident in their skills to attend college.

Our graduation requirements do demand more of students than minimum credits earned and passing grades. For example, students will graduate with a web-based portfolio of work to demonstrate both their academic skills and their 21st Century skills mastery. They will also have a professional resume and a letter of reference from a professional with whom they completed an extensive job internship. All of these assets will help them get into a college or university of their choice, but more importantly, they are invaluable in demonstrating a student has the resiliency and persistence to successfully finish college with a degree. See Graduation Requirements section for more information.

Student Assessment

What standardized assessments will Compass students take?

Compass students will take all state required standardized assessments, including the SAT college entrance exam. In order to track academic growth, students will also be assessed three times a year in reading and mathematics using nationally standardized MAPS tests.

Do students get letter grades?

In our rapidly changing world, we believe that equipping students with the skills to be lifelong learners and positive change-makers is our number one job. Students will learn essential Colorado core content standards with the help of certified, highly-qualified teachers. However, they will learn these standards at different times, in a multitude of ways, throughout their years at Compass Community Collaborative School. Performance assessments in the form of quarterly Exhibitions of Learning, annual Student-Led Conferences, and annual, individual Presentations of Learning teach students to reflect on and communicate effectively about their learning. Students get documented feedback each quarter that is accessible by families, and at the end of each academic year, academic work will be assigned grades based on skill competency levels so that students will have transcripts for post-secondary life, but this is not the primary, on-going form of feedback given to students.

Student Safety

How will Compass ensure student safety with all of the community collaborations?

Compass, like all schools, takes the safety of students very seriously. We use Advisory as a time to talk to students about safety protocols and we practice emergency drills, including fire drills, several times per year.

All community mentors who work with students individually are required to get background checks. There is also training for our students and community partners about appropriate and professional expectations, including the need for all students to be in common spaces (where other people are around) when working with adults in or outside of our school building.

Middle school students must always travel with school staff, however, high school-age students may travel independently on public transportation to their satellite campuses and internships. Parents will sign a specific permission slip at the beginning of the semester if a student’s learning plan involves work outside of our school building. Parents will have contact information for the alternate learning locations.

Special Needs

How will students with identified special needs benefit from the Compass educational model?

Compass is individualized, competency-based and strengths-based . We believe diverse learner types will benefit from our curriculum model, our culture of care, and our flexible start and end times for our school day. We have one certified Special Education teacher on our staff. Please meet with us directly to consider your child’s needs and our available staffing so we can make the best placements possible.

Extracurricular Activities

Will Compass offer arts, music, and physical education? Will it have competitive sports teams?

We integrate arts, music, and PE, into our regular school week and students may start clubs with other students who share common interests. We do have clubs such as robotics, MathCounts, dance, hiking, virtual reality, student council, student culture, and Dungeons and Dragons and we are open to other ideas as student interest dictates! We do not offer extracurricular competitive sports programs available at the other schools, however, as a PSD approved charter, students may arrange to return to their neighborhood school to try out and play on sports teams.

Teachers

Are the teachers certified teachers in their subject areas?

Yes, Compass has highly qualified, Colorado certified teachers in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, and Special Education. Our teachers are experienced professionals with a proven track record of excellence in teaching and prosocial culture building with adolescents and peers. We also have specialized, non-certified teachers as staff and instructors at our school and in the community to widen the diversity of adults with whom students and staff may collaborate and learn.