Charter School Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Charter School?young students at the Vanguard School listening attentively in class

A charter school is a public school which is founded by a group of parents or teachers. This is why it is a “school of choice.” The founders of a charter school sign a contract with the school board of their district and receive funds to operate in the same way as other schools of that district receive funds. The philosophy and operation of the charter school are independent of the school district, reflecting the beliefs of the founders.  The educational program is non-religious and non-sectarian.

Who Attends Charter Schools?

Charter schools are public schools. The Vanguard School is open to students who wish to enroll regardless of the district in which they reside. The Vanguard School does not discriminate against any student on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or need for special education services.

Are Charter Schools in a District?

Yes, charter schools are part of a district. The Vanguard School is chartered under Cheyenne Mountain District 12 (D-12). Therefore, District 12 residents have priority for available slots in grades K-12. Our school serves students from fifteen different school districts with approximately twenty-five percent of our student population residing in District 12.

Do Charter Schools Charge Tuition?

Kindergarten and Grades 1-12 students do not pay tuition. As a public charter school, this funding is provided by the State of Colorado.

Who Governs Charter Schools?

The Vanguard School is a charter school governed by parents whose children attend the school. There are annual elections for the Board of Directors. The governance of the school increases the involvement of parents in their children’s education. Vanguard openly encourages parental involvement in virtually every aspect of the school.

Why Where Charter Schools Established?

The Vanguard School founders believe that public education must focus on academics and that each student must be challenged to produce the best work that he or she is capable of.  The curriculum emphasizes the basic disciplines of reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, science, and fine arts.  The founders reject Outcomes-Based Education (OBE), and all attempts to invade the privacy of students, engage in social engineering, indoctrinate, or undermine their moral foundation.  The parents of The Vanguard School can be certain that the values they teach their children at home will not be compromised by the curriculum of the school. Vanguard will provide a safe passage through public education for their children.

Are Charter Schools Good?

The Unique Features of The Vanguard School

Charter School Curriculum:

young students reading and studying at the Vanguard School

The E.D. Hirsch Core Knowledge® Series provides the scope and sequence in the basic disciplines. The Core Knowledge approach to American history is inclusive, teaching that while Americans have many different national and racial origins, we have a common culture and common values which bind us as a nation.  It affirms the characteristics of American government and society that are admirable while not ignoring the darker aspects of American history. The Core Knowledge Curriculum is complemented by Direct Instruction Reading, Math, and Spelling.


A discipline code contract is signed at the beginning of each school year by the student, parent, and teacher.  This code spells out standards of conduct that will assure safety, civility, and an optimum learning environment. The Vanguard School employs the “CHAMPs” model for classroom management.

Character Development:

The values taught at The Vanguard School will help each student develop a strong moral character. Moral behavior will be emphasized within the curriculum and outside it. Examples from literature and history will serve as models of virtue in action, while they will be constantly reinforced by the emphasis on the child’s own conduct and interaction with others.

Class Sizes:

The Vanguard School uses achievement-level grouping for reading, math, and spelling in grades K-6, keeping these classes smaller than the traditional classroom settings to ensure students are receiving the individual attention they need to succeed.

Assistant Teachers:

There is an assistant teacher in each K-6 classroom to help the teacher in all aspects of education delivery. This, along with class size restrictions, maximizes the attention available for the individual learning needs of each student.

Annual Student Testing:

Upon enrolling at The Vanguard School, each student takes a standardized test to establish an achievement baseline. Each spring thereafter, the student takes another standardized test to monitor his or her academic progress.

Teacher Accessibility:

At the end of the first quarter of every school year, teachers meet with each student’s parents. Conferences help inform the teacher of any special needs the student may have or areas that need extra work. Teachers also welcome parent communication whether it be conferences or via email.

The CHAMPS Acronym Stands For:

Conversation: Can students talk to each other during this activity?
Help: How do students get the teacher’s attention and their questions answered?
Activity: What is the task/objective? What is the end product?
Movement: Can students move about during this activity?
Participation: How do students show they are fully participating? What does work behavior look/sound like?
Success: When students meet CHAMPS expectations, they will be successful!


Are Charter Schools Year-Round? | Length of the School Year:

The typical school year is two weeks longer than the calendar published by Cheyenne Mountain School District 12. The Vanguard School’s central mission is to maximize the academic achievement of each student. This extra class time helps to further this goal.

After-School Activities:

The students are offered a variety of after-school activities throughout the school year to complement their academic studies as resources and interests dictate. These activities are offered by parents, teachers, and members of the community willing to share special skills and expertise.

School Grades Offered:

The Vanguard School offers education for students in grades K-12. The Vanguard School’s high school has been one of the top-performing schools in Colorado since its existence.

College Preparation:

We want all of our students to attend college, and we prepare them accordingly.  Starting in ninth grade, our students learn about colleges and the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. We also help our students complete scholarship applications.

the outdoor school sign for vanguardOur Class of 2016 was offered over $6.7 million dollars in scholarships. See our College Counseling page to learn more.

School Location:

The Vanguard School is conveniently and centrally located.  The Wahsatch campus (grades K-3) is behind the Southern Cross Shopping Center off S. Nevada Avenue near downtown Colorado Springs at 1832 S. Wahsatch Avenue.  The Corona campus (grades 4-12) is located at 1605 S. Corona Avenue.  Our phone number is 719.471.1999.