Classical School (Charter) K-12 Classical Education
Our Story – What is Vanguard?
Vanguard Classical School (VCS) is a tuition-free, public, charter school with two campuses in Denver and Aurora serving 1,200 students in grades K-12. VCS is a pioneer in the 4 day model of instruction in the Aurora/Denver Metro Area.
What is Classical Education?
A “classical education” began about 2500 years ago in ancient Greece and continued to develop through ancient Rome and the Renaissance. It involves a three-part process of training the mind and using traditional standards of teaching, curriculum, and discipline. A classical education holds that humans are thinking creatures and are naturally curious. It values knowledge for its own sake and prepares students to be “good” or virtuous citizens.
The early years of classical education (K-4) are spent acquiring basic skills and facts; establishing a firm foundation from which to pursue further study. In the middle grades (5-8), students learn to think through the facts; the evidence and apply logic. In the upper grades (9-12), students learn to reach conclusions, through thoughtful criticism and analysis, and support those conclusions in persuasive writing and speech. This classical pattern is called the Trivium.
Vanguard Statement of Philosophy
- Every child deserves the opportunity to learn. We believe that all students are capable and deserving of a free, high quality, broad education. We have adopted a curriculum that, when delivered effectively and appropriately, will enable students of all abilities to succeed in their continued education and lives regardless of race, sex, heritage or socio-economic status.
- A broad, rigorous, content-based curriculum prepares children to be productive citizens, lifetime learners, and future leaders. The skills of learning, problem solving, and critical thinking are best taught through the content of a body of organized knowledge, modeling, and practice. These skills are required to communicate and function in a diverse society.
- An inclusive environment values students of all abilities. Important academic, social, and ethical skills are developed when students with various abilities, needs, and backgrounds learn together. Supports for students will be delivered both inside and outside of the classroom and in smaller ability groups through the cooperation and planning of the staff using a multi-disciplinary approach.
- Character development will be integrated throughout the curriculum. It is our responsibility to educate both the mind and the heart in order to produce virtuous, educated citizens. A practical, non-sectarian, literature-based program is integrated into our curriculum to cultivate character growth through consensus virtues.
- Active family involvement is critical. Students and teachers cannot achieve high levels of academic success without family support. As a school of choice, we believe that families who elect to enroll their children in our school have chosen to play a strong, supportive role in the education of their children. Those families will find the necessary time, energy, and resources to assist the school in educating their children. The school anticipates that families will be directly engaged in assisting with tutoring, reading groups, volunteer activities, coaching, independent work, school governance, and other areas where they may have specific skills or expertise.
- The Vanguard education team is held accountable for each student’s achievement. General education and special education teachers, together with the leadership team, educational assistants, paraprofessionals, and volunteers, will all work as a team to plan and ensure each student’s success.
- English literacy is fundamental to success in all other subjects. Language Arts (reading, spelling, speaking, and writing) will be the main focus of instruction especially in the early grades. An explicit phonics program will be taught beginning in Kindergarten.
- Student success is achieved through hard work, perseverance, determination, and commitment. High expectations produce high results. Students will be expected to demonstrate determination, diligence, self-discipline, and perseverance to achieve maximum benefit from the defined curriculum.
- Students shall take a defined curriculum and must earn promotion. There will be no social promotion. Defined standards must be achieved to move to the next grade level. Self-esteem is developed through effort, accomplishment, and achievement.
- A Code of Conduct, consistently and equally followed, will ensure a structured, safe learning environment. There is a uniformly enforced Code of Conduct developed for the school including a uniform dress code, student expectations, disciplinary policies, and grievance procedures.
Enrollment for Classical School Education K-12
Vanguard Classical School is a school of choice open to all families. Families must request student enrollment into the school by completing an application prior to or during the annual open enrollment period. Vanguard’s admissions process will be in accordance with the requirements of C.R.S. 22-30.5-104(3).
Enrollment application is open to anyone who chooses to attend the school. Vanguard Classical School will not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, ancestry, need for special education services, or any other grounds prohibited by law. Vanguard Classical School serves students with disabilities and English learners and provides services to students as required by state and federal law.
Parent(s)/guardian(s) are encouraged to make an informed choice by 1) coming to an informational meeting or tour, 2) reviewing carefully the Parent/Student Handbook and Curriculum found on the website, and/or 3) meeting with school staff.
The Vanguard Classical School Board adopts the following policy as a reasonable and necessary means of implementing state law providing that all students who live within the corporate limits of the District and students who live in other school districts within the state may enroll in any school or program in the District.
Vanguard Classical School will educate students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. The School District, while at all times maintaining its right to make the final decision regarding placement of and services to students with disabilities at Vanguard, agrees to support Vanguard’s instructional model as appropriate and consistent with IDEA.
In implementing this enrollment policy, Vanguard Classical School will:
- Retain our established curricular structure, arrangement, and function of rooms, and school program.
- Uphold the established eligibility criteria for participation in a particular program, including age requirements, course prerequisites and required levels of performance.
- Consider enrolling any student in any program or school after the first semester if they move from out of district and space is available.
Classical School Entrance Requirements
Students must meet minimum age requirements to enter kindergarten and first grade at Vanguard Classical School.
- Enrollment for Kindergarten – Five years old on or before October 1 of the year of enrollment.
- Enrollment for First Grade – Six years old on or before October 1 of the year of enrollment.
Documentation Required for a Classical Education
A birth certificate or passport is required from all children not previously enrolled in Vanguard Classical School. Enrollment requires a copy of the enrollee’s past report cards, discipline, and attendance records.
A student must have successfully completed the previous grade, not including summer school, to advance to the next grade level at Vanguard. If upon receipt of the official records, the initial information is found to be in error; the student will be moved back to the appropriate grade.
- Any dishonest representation of grades or transcripts may also result in the student forfeiting placement.
- Upon request of records, accompanied by an enrollment/withdrawal signed by the parent/guardian of record by another school for a current Vanguard Classical School student, Vanguard will vacate the enrolled student’s seat and it will be filled through the process outlined above.
- If a record request is received without a signed enrollment/withdrawal form, the parent/guardian of record will be contacted in order to determine the origin/intent for the request.
Classical School Lottery
Applications for Enrollment are available on the school website. A lottery will be used to select students if the number of enrollment applications is greater than the number of available opening for the following school year. The lottery will be held on or before March 1, with notice of time and date posted on the school’s website. Applications/Letters of Intent must be submitted to Vanguard Classical School by 4:00 pm two days prior to the lottery unless otherwise posted. Students will be notified of acceptance within 10 business days following the lottery.
Vanguard Classical School may deny the application of any student for any of the following reasons:
- There is a lack of space or teaching staff within a particular program or school.
- The students do not meet the established eligibility criteria for participating in a particular program, including age requirements, course prerequisites and required levels of performance.
- The student has been expelled or is in the process of being expelled or may otherwise be denied permission to enroll pursuant to the provisions of the Colorado School Attendance Law.
- A student was enrolled as a sibling of a current student then the currently enrolled students leave Vanguard for any reason.
- Misrepresentation of information will be grounds to invalidate the enrollment request.
Students of Vanguard Classical School in grades K-12 are given new enrollment preference as follows:
- Children of current faculty and staff who are employed at Vanguard at least 30 hours per week for the duration of the school year.
- Siblings of currently enrolled students at each Vanguard site in grades K-11 and will be attending Vanguard during the following year.
- Rising 8th graders students that are currently enrolled at a Vanguard West who wish to transfer to Vanguard East 9th grade.
- Students on the waiting list from a previous lottery.
- Students with a completed application/letter of intent from the current lottery in the order they were drawn.
- After October Count Day, students applying may be enrolled for the current school year if space is available or they will be placed in the lottery pool for the following school year.
Students currently attending Vanguard Classical School will not need to reapply.
Students attending Vanguard Classical School will be expected to provide their own transportation.
Admissions during the Current School Year
- Space permitting, K-12 students will be admitted through the end of the first semester.
- The administrators and Board of Directors (BOD) may consider special circumstances of a family and admit a student at any time if it is in the best interest of the student and the school.