Who We Are and Why
In 1992, a group of parents came together because they wanted more out of their children’s school. They wanted higher academic standards, a different curriculum, and a school that reinforced the character traits necessary to sustain our democratic society. Out of these desires came the basis for our current program, “The Five Pillars.” This group of parents took a proposal for the new program to the Poudre School Board of Education. The board approved the plan and “Washington Core Knowledge School” was born. Parent partners formed a Hiring Committee and recommended five teachers for selection to the BOE. These parents formed a Grants Committee, a Library Committee and a Curriculum Committee. They gathered books for the library and desks for the classrooms, all in preparation for the 125 students who would attend WCKS in the fall of 1993. Due to growing community interest in the school, the Board of Education approved the expansion of WCKS to 225 students for the 1994-95 school year and then again to 408 students for the 1995-96 school year. In the winter of 1995, the Board of Education removed the status of “pilot school” and our school was made a permanent part of Poudre School District. Construction began on the newly named “Traut Core Knowledge School” in 1997. Parent partners planned and directed the move to our current location.
Our school has been featured in two educational periodicals, included in a study on core knowledge at Johns Hopkins University and is consistently named a John Irwin School of Excellence by the Colorado Department of Education. We were even mentioned in E.D. Hirsch, Jr.’s book, The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them. He said “The dramatic and happily ending story of the Fort Collins school deserves to be memorialized to inspire others.”
What We Are: Our Five Pillars
Core Knowledge Curriculum - The idea that there is a common core of knowledge that all people in a society should possess in order to understand that society and each other was advocated in the 1987 book Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr., PhD. Core Knowledge has been described in terms of the Four S’’s: shared knowledge, solid knowledge, sequenced knowledge, and specific knowledge.
Character Education - We believe that the family bears the key responsibility for character instruction. The staff of our school will teach, reinforce and support the character qualities through the content of the Core Knowledge Sequence. Our character education pillar is made up of twelve Character Qualities. Rather than having a long list of rules for the students to unthinkingly obey, having these consistent general qualities allows the students to cooperatively participate in their own character development.
Student Responsibility - Students at TCKS are expected to take responsibility for their own education. We, as a staff and a parent body, will encourage and help our students develop a desire for excellence and the disciple to achieve that excellence through our character qualities. Traut has been consistently named a John Irwin School of Excellence, which is an award created by the State of Colorado to recognize those schools whose students perform in the top 8% academically.
Mature Literacy – The development of literacy is one of the main focuses or our school. Literacy instruction is based upon the premise that students need a strong foundation of systematic phonics instruction along with plentiful opportunities to read meaningful text in order to become mature competent readers. This is accomplished through immersion in excellent contemporary and classical literature.
Parent Partnership - Above all we recognize that parents are the child’s first and most important teacher. At Traut Core Knowledge School, parents are in full partnership with the staff in all aspects of the school, ensuring the most effective education possible for their children. The parents who founded this school were intimately involved in all aspects of starting the school, and have been and are integral to all aspects of our school’s day-to-day operation and long-term policy.
The Who, What, When and How of Parent Partnership
There are many ways for the parents of TCKS to fulfill their role Parent Partners:
-We work directly in the classroom.
-Each classroom has a classroom coordinator.
-We serve on committees.
-We serve on the Site Based Management Committee (SBMC).
We Are Unique and Special
Traut Core Knowledge School will thrive as long as committed parents, staff, and school administrators are prepared to stand up in passionate support for the core values of our school. The motto of TCKS is “Never give up.” We are dedicated to our school’s vision of “educational excellence in knowledge, skills and character with strong parent-teacher-student partnerships”. Through our shared governance, our commitment to our five pillars, and our value of a strong public school of choice, we can continue to develop our strong learning community and maintain our rich tradition of excellence.
More information can be found in our Parent Guide.