Legacy Academy Students, Parents, & Staff:
Thank you all for a fantastic first week of school! I appreciate the warm welcome that I've received from all of you in my first weeks as principal and I look forward to an incredible school year.
I would like to thank the Elizabeth Education Foundation for putting on the STARS (Students Taking Accountability and Responsibility Seriously) banquet again this year. It was a tremendously successful event in recognition of many outstanding students. Each year teachers nominate students from Legacy Academy that have had a positive impact on their school and community. This year the EEF recognized Kelsey Page and Adlai White (5th Grade), Sarah Marks (6th Grade), Stetson Littlejohn (7th Grade) and Nathaniel Klein (8th Grade).
During the event it was brought up that the Elizabeth Education Foundation is looking for board members to serve next year. This is a really great organization and if you are looking for a role to play in the enhancement of the education opportunities for students in Elizabeth, this might be a great fit for you. If you are interested in working or supporting the EEF, please contact them at: email@example.com. They also hold regular meetings the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm in the Elizabeth C-1 District Administration Board Room (634 South Elbert Street).
Please be careful in the Tuesday weather and have a wonderful rest of your week.
Legacy Academy has been
experiencing some tremendous success and growth over the last couple
years. I wanted to take a moment to
cover how this has impacted the budget, while also covering the impact that
Senate Bill 13-213 could have on the bottom line of charters schools all over the
Charter Schools are
funded with per pupil state funding.
District schools are funded with the same per pupil state funding with
additional funding coming from local sources.
Local revenues (sales tax and mill levy) are not currently available to
Despite these obstacles,
Legacy Academy has been able to find some success with the budget. We have been increasing our program offerings
each year while balancing the budget. This
has not been by accident. Legacy Academy
families, School Board and staff have been running a tight ship. We are excited to see that for the last two
years, and for all foreseeable future years we have a positive cash flow to our
cash reserve fund. Last year we were
able to introduce iSchool to our students, give teachers a small bonus and pay
increase while still netting a positive $83,365. We are currently projecting that through the
end of this year, we will have another positive year of $60,620 after investing
money in new classroom furniture, building repairs and staff positions. Simply
put, Legacy Academy is becoming a better place to go to school and to work. We
are in a better financial shape today then we have been in a good number of
If we were able to balance our school budget in these
tough times, imagine what the future could hold for schools like ours if we
could close the gap on the financing inequality that exists between charters
and districts. Senate Bill 13-213 provides additional revenue to all state
schools, while changing the school funding formula. These changes could have a
very positive net impact on our ability to fund and create more opportunities
for all students. No matter how you look
at it, the future looks very bright for Legacy Academy, and I will do my best
to continue to make sure that our school continues to run efficiently while
providing more opportunities for students to become creative critical
thinkers. ~ Jason Cross
This image was taken at the Vatican for the inauguration of both Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. It highlights just how quickly technology is changing our world. In just eight short years, people have access to more information than they have ever had. In fact your cell phone gives you access to more information than what was available to President Ronald Reagan during his eight years in office. As technology moves forward at an exponential pace, education has moved at slow crawl.
Authors, Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, sum it up best in the book Abundance when they wrote: “Moreover, our current system is built around fact-based learning, but the Internet makes almost every fact desirable instantly available. This means we’re training our children in skills they rarely need, while ignoring those they absolutely do. Teaching kids how to nourish their creativity and curiosity, while still providing a sound foundation in critical thinking, literacy and math, is the best way to prepare them for a future of increasingly rapid technological change”. The image of eight years of technological progress demonstrates more than ever that we need to continue to move away from memorization and recall and into creative critical thinking.
This has been our goal for the last year at Legacy Academy. I am continually encouraged by students that amaze me, not by what they know, but by how they were able to understand and adapt to challenges that they have. A second grade student this week explained in great detail how they wanted to install a plug-gin for the popular game Minecraft on their computer at home. This plug-gin was additional software code that allows the game to have more features than it came with originally. When I asked this eight year old how they accomplished this task, in a very matter of fact way, I was told that all you need to do is “look it up”. When I asked Collin O’Malley, our IT director what is involved in installing one of these plugins, I was ensured that it was not as simple as this eight year old had made it out to be. I am so excited for the future because I know this next generation is going to do amazing things.
In 2012-13, there are over 80,000 students attending more than 190 charter
school campuses in Colorado. This represents nearly 11% of total K-12 public
school enrollment in the state. Charter schools operate using what the state
calls Per Pupil Funding, or PPR for short. The average PPR is around $6369 per
student. Out of that funding, charter schools must provide education services to
all of the students, as well as pay for teachers and facilities. Charter schools are
forced to spend these operating funds on facilities unlike most public schools in
Colorado. This means that charter schools spend less on operations than what
the state defines as the minimum requirement to meet education program
This brings up the question that I am often asked. How does Legacy Academy offer up the best technology and
teachers, in a beautiful facility, while working with a funding disadvantage? One of the ways charter schools are able
to have such success is through the efNiciencies that are created by the organizational model. They focus on
educational opportunities and are quick to adapt thanks to parent led individual school boards that drive the
schools direction and steer the principal. The principal then takes on the roles of superintendent, human resource
director, communication director, curriculum director, food service director, Ninance director and special education
coordinator. This gives the school board a tremendous ability to make policies and manage the overall wellbeing of
the school and its budget.
The most important key to our success however, is the many wonderful parents and the amazing PTO organization
that volunteers and helps bring in extra funding wherever possible. Last year, we were able to bring in nearly
$10,000 of funding from parent donations and fundraisers. This year we will be having our annual Spring Fling
event, Saturday, May 4th. This is a great opportunity to help support Legacy Academy through attending the event,
or making a charitable donation to the school. These donations go to offset the budget deNicit that we face as a
charter school. We use this money to put back into programs and fund new curriculum options, clubs and activities.
In part, through your donations to the Spring Fling this year, I am working to bring back full time foreign language to
Legacy Academy. This would allow students in grades K-8 to gain exposure in an area that is important to all college
applicants. Please consider helping Legacy Academy continue to bring more programs to the students by attending
the Spring Fling, or by making a contribution on May 4th. Despite budget cuts and state set backs, the future is bright
for your children.
Sincerely, Jason Cross
Gaming culture is upon this generation in a big way. It is projected that 90% of all younger students will play video games every day. It is often said that this is very bad for our youth, and even more important our minds. New research is coming out all the time that says otherwise. This is not to say that all gaming is good gaming. More to the point that gaming can have positive effects on the mind. As education moves forward I believe there will be more advancements in bringing quality educational games into the classroom. These games have the ability to engage and give students the ability to focus for long periods of time. Imagine if they could also provide key information needed to be successful.
Friday morning Legacy Academy had received several phone calls that were in an unrecognizable language. The staff did exactly what they were trained to do, keep kids safe. We called a temporary lock down drill and notified the authorities so they could investigate the origin and determine if there was a threat to Legacy. I am very proud of how the school handled the situation and responded without delay.
We have left the investigation in the hands of the proper authorities as to where the sources of these strange phone calls originated. At this time, we have been told there is no threat to Legacy Academy and that it was very likely one of the increasing number of phone fraud schemes in the world today. These scams usually look to impersonate an organization for monetary gain. Within minutes our phone provider had stopped the calls, added a layer of security to prevent them from happening in the future and had given all information to the proper authorities.
I would like to thank everybody for handling the situation with such courage. Although we hope we will never have to call a lock down again, we are committed to keeping your children safe at school.