Summer is here for everyone, but no one feels it more than students now enjoying some much awaited freedom. While students are enjoying a break, teachers and staff are still working behind the scenes to prep for September. One of these schools includes Cologne Academy.

A charter school that started small like most, the academy has been growing pretty fast in the last few years. As a charter school, there are a few challenges to face, the biggest of which is standing out from the crowd. But they also face the same challenge every other school does: how to change with the times.

“The methodologies that were used in schools decades ago are not the same that are effective with today’s learners,” said Lynn Peterson, executive director at Cologne Academy. “The focus will continue to be at the instructional level-ensuring teachers have both the pedagogical training but also the detailed knowledge of the subject matter they teach.”

The solution is to stick out, emphasizing character building for the grades the Academy teaches, K-8, as well as focusing on student culture. In fact, for Peterson, that’s one of the most important aspects to the school as a whole.

“Cologne Academy is most proud of our student culture,” she said. “Students know that learning is their work and the very definition of work is that work, even learning, can be hard.”

Another aspect the Academy has been focused on is what Peterson described as “scaffolded” learning. In essence, learning that is not too easy nor too hard, but rather adjusts to the student. This is something all schools are trying to do, and the solution is usually to reduce class sizes and increase teachers, which Peterson explained as something the school has been working on the last few years.

As for why the school has grown so much, Peterson offered up a few ideas as to why the school sticks out.

“Our community is united in the common belief in the connection between home and school,” she said. “When both home and school work together with the same intention of building tomorrow’s leaders we have a better chance of a favorable outcome for all.”

As for plans for next year’s group, the Academy intends to continue working towards their community as well as keeping with the demands of the “ever-changing times” as Peterson put it. They will continue to strive for connecting home and school as well as creating an environment for learning at the student’s pace.

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