Founding Principles & Background

 

Founding Principles:

Littleton Academy was founded based on the need for a traditional education at the elementary and middle school levels within the Littleton Public School District. The following principles characterize a “traditional” school and form the basis for the establishment and continued operation of Littleton Academy.

Academic Standards:

  • Academic rigor and achievement are our top priorities.
  • High academic standards are maintained with goals for continuous improvement.
  • Students are challenged at all levels.
  • Mastery of curriculum and standardized tests, among other assessments, shall be used to measure achievement and to assist in maintaining high academic standards.

Curriculum:

  • Curriculum is based on an expanded Core Knowledge scope and sequence.
  • The curriculum is sequential from grade to grade.
  • Reading and mathematics are emphasized, especially in the lower grades.
  • Reading and spelling are based on phonics.
  • Social sciences are taught from a traditional perspective.
  • Free debate is encouraged without regard to political correctness.
  • Music, art technology, physical education, and foreign language are important parts of the school.
  • A traditional, factual presentation of American heritage is presented.

Instructional Methods:

  • Frequent and substantive homework is assigned and graded.
  • Instruction is textbook-driven, with books (either in print or electronic versions) going home in all practical subjects.
  • Time spent on non-academic subjects is minimized.
  • Ability grouping is used for math and reading.
  • Academic time on task is emphasized.
  • Correct spelling is emphasized at all grade levels; inventive spelling is not permitted.
  • Factual knowledge, memorization, and drills are important and used to achieve mastery.
  • Content and basic skills are emphasized.
  • Subjects are taught to mastery, not just exposure.
  • Corrective programs are implemented for students with gaps.

Assessments:

  • Traditional letter grades are used at all grade levels.
  • Frequent assessments are designed around the curriculum.
  • There is frequent communication with parents about student performance.
  • Students who do not meet minimum standards are retained in grade.
  • Standardized tests, including Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and CogAT (in grades 1 and 2) and state-mandated testing and CogAT in grades 3-8, shall be administered annually and individual student results shall be porvided to his/her parents.

Environment:

  • Teachers are presented and supported as authority figures.
  • The learning environment is structured and supervised.
  • Discipline is enforced in the classroom and throughout the school.
  • A dress code is enforced throughout the school.

Operations:

  • Meaningful parent participation is truly encouraged.
  • School days are longer and there are more of them.
  • The number of in-service days is reduced during the school year.
  • Staff is employed “at will.” Ineffective teachers are not retained.
  • Parents are customers and, as such, provide input to staff evaluations.
  • Fiscal responsibility and appropriate planning shall be utilized both in the school’s governance and administration.

Background

Establishment of Littleton Academy

On June 3, 1993 Governor Romer signed legislation known as the Charter School Act. It was designed to enable parents, teachers, and community members to “take responsible risks and create new, innovative, and more flexible ways of educating all children within the

public school system” which resulted in “expanded choices” for parents and pupils. It was under this school law that the Initiating Committee organized Littleton Academy. 

A detailed and specific application was submitted and approved by the Littleton Public School Board on May 9, 1996. A Charter School Contract was then negotiated between the Governing Board of the School and the Littleton Public District Board of Education. Over thesummer, an office building at 1200 W. Mineral Avenue was leased and converted from a vacant insurance claim office to classrooms. 

On September 3, 1996, Littleton Academy Charter School opened its doors. That was the beginning of Littleton’s first charter school.