Our School Mission
The mission of Imagine Charter School at Firestone is to positively shape the hearts and minds of our students by providing them with a classical, core knowledge curriculum that is academically rigorous and content rich, a safe environment in which character is modeled and promoted, and a community in which to build trusting relationships with others.
Students at Imagine develop a foundation of wisdom prepared to be life-long learners, positive role models, and virtuous citizens.
Imagine Charter School at Firestone is an award-winning K-8 public charter school that opened in 2008 within the St. Vrain Valley School District. Imagine uses a Core Knowledge curriculum with a classical approach.
The classical model is based on the Trivium, which is divided into three stages, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, occurring in that order. These three stages are experienced by all students in grades K-12, but each stage is emphasized at different levels of a student’s education based on developmental readiness. In the “grammar stage” (approximately up through 4th grade), children are excited to learn new information, soaking it up like “sponges.” We take advantage of children’s love of knowledge by pairing our classical approach with the content-rich liberal arts curriculum of Core Knowledge. We believe that students need a broad framework of subjects in order to become well educated, no matter what profession they ultimately pursue. The subjects of history, science, art, and music, starting in kindergarten, support and encourage strong literacy, mathematics, and critical thinking skills. With that in mind, you might hear our kindergarteners singing the 50 states song, first graders singing about Mesopotamia, second graders singing about the parts of an insect or cloud types, and third graders chanting about neurons and dendrites.
As students move into 5th grade and beyond, they shift into the “logic stage” where they can use their developing abstract thinking skills to discuss and argue bigger ideas and philosophies. They have a broad knowledge base to pull from as they continue their study of ancient Greece and Rome, the World Wars, and Constitutional government, Oceanography, Earth Science, Physics, and Chemistry, Algebra, and Literature. Students at this age are ready to enhance their understanding of the content learned during the younger years as they have deeper class discussions, practicing both their verbal and written abilities to structure their arguments.
Within our classical framework, we incorporate character education, the Core Virtues, into our daily conversations. Using examples in literature and history, as well as direct instruction, the virtues of respect, responsibility, faithfulness, love of country, and courage, and so forth, are woven into the curriculum.
Throughout the grade levels, we use the study of Latin to enhance students’ understanding of the English language (grammar and vocabulary) as well as the building blocks for learning many other languages. At the younger ages this involves fun activities, conversation, and song as students learn the Latin names for topics such family members, body parts, and names of the months. Students learn to carry on simple conversations, as well as sing “Happy Birthday” in Latin! By the middle grades, students are experiencing more formal Latin coursework, complete with declensions and translations. Middle School students have the option to take the National Latin Exam this spring.
Following is a list of books and articles that provide background for the mission/vision of the school:
1. William Bennett, “The Educated Child” (CK resource for parents)
2. E.D Hirsch, “The Schools We Need” (Core Knowledge overview)
3. Tracy Simmons, “Climbing Parnassus” (Classical overview)
4. William Kilpatrick “Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong” (Character resource)
Beyond the Basics (.pdf)
Core Knowledge (.pdf)
ED Hirsch Philosophy (.pdf)
Re-Thinking Self-Esteem (.pdf)
About Imagine Charter School at Firestone