Flagstaff Academy (K-12) of Longmont is beginning its new school year with the launch of a unique initiative - a PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Incentive System. The school-wide program was created to dovetail with five essential qualities the school will be bringing to the forefront. Dubbed Dragon PRIDE, an acronym for perseverance, respect, integrity, dependability and empathy, these core values will be stitched into every aspect of the school from classroom curriculum to extra activities and will consciously focus on character education.
Flagstaff communications coordinator Lisa Trank-Greene said reframing the school’s core values through Dragon PRIDE was the result of direct input from parents and students who wanted to better represent and promote the school’s virtues.
Trank-Greene said the new program is fun and approachable and kids will have an easy time connecting with it. The PRIDE program will become very familiar by way of new graphics and posters throughout the school. Another advantage of espousing the PRIDE program is how well it supports the school’s restorative justice process at all grade levels.
Flagstaff middle school principal Katie Gustafson said, "Dragon PRIDE will be highlighted each month in school assemblies and lessons, which are age-appropriate. We will also feature service opportunities, aligned to the school's strategic plan, which will incorporate grade level and classroom projects, as well as service opportunities from our student leadership groups - Student Council and National Junior Honor Society."
Trank-Greene said she could see through social media outlets that the summer break wasn’t all vacationing for teachers. Lots of posts were of staff attending training programs so they could come back well prepared for the new school year.
In June, Gustafson, Executive Director Wayne Granger and other middle school staff members traveled to Washington, DC to attend the National Schools to Watch Conference and formally receive the honor of being a national School to Watch. The school was one of five Colorado middle schools to be awarded this honor in 2019 and is the only Colorado charter school with this designation.
“We continue to grow and strengthen our technology education,” Trank-Greene said. To that end, the school has hired teacher JR Kerbel to work with elementary students in the SMARTlab, and it has expanded opportunities to develop robotics skills. In addition to offering an after-school robotics club, Flagstaff has added a robotics class to its elective options.
“We’ve got such a fantastic robotics program that we’ve sent at least one to two teams each year to the world robotics championships out in Kentucky. We participate in the district’s robotics tournaments and we’re one of the hosts of the tournaments, which is always incredibly well attended and well received.”
This year marks the second consecutive year that Flagstaff’s special education program has been awarded the title of an “Exceptional Charter School in Special Education” by the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET). Flagstaff Academy is one of 21 schools across the nation to be given this award.
The NASET website states that this recognition “is the highest honor a charter school can achieve through our professional association. The recognition is bestowed on charter schools that meet rigorous professional criteria and have demonstrated truly exceptional dedication, commitment and achievement in the field of special education.”
“Our goal is always that we want to do better and keep serving our community as best as we can,” Trank-Greene said. “The challenges of education these days are multi-faceted. We’re trying to really up the social-emotional learning component for all of our students, as well as wellness, and having a healthy work and learning environment.”
Prior to the start of the school year, more than 300 lunch bags were assembled by teachers and staff during a team-building exercise. The lunches were donated to HOPE for Longmont, a nonprofit organization that works to help the homeless population.